People often classify ambition as one of the most crucial characteristics of successful people. The size of your accomplishment depends on the size of your ambition. However, great amount of tragedies we heard in history or fictions, like the story of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play, show the consequence of having too much ambition. So, how should we define ambition? Ambition is a desire to achieve something with the willingness to strive for it, a driving force for both success and failure. It’s hard to find an exact word in the dictionary to replace ambition.
Ambition, a Middle English word, derives from Classical Latin ambitiō, “go around”. In ancient Rome, officer candidates would go around the city to canvass voters. Their goal is to gain wealth, power, and fame. Ambition is often confused with hope. Hope is an anticipation of something happen automatically. It may or may not realize depends on luck and people seldom work to alter the result. But ambition is a goal which is reachable and realistic as long as you have the determination to strive and confront adversity.
Aspiration is another word often mixed with ambition. Unlike aspiration, a desire for something particular, ambition is a personality which is inborn and hard to alter. Ambitious people keep on striving and never satisfy. That’s why ambition is considered some sort similar to greed. Greed is a desire for one’s selfish interest, instead of greater good. Contrary to the destructive effect of greed, ambition contribute to the flourishing of others in most of the time.
Ambition drives us from a primitive and backward society to the advanced civilizations we have today. The well-known figures we heard in history all have an ambitious heart. Like Thomas Edison, the greatest inventor and businessman in the 19th century, who filled his life with a long to-do lists. His passion and ambition on science gained him 1,093 patents in lifetime.
Without his great ambition, human still live in a world with no electric light, telegraph, and telephone. Ambition also play an important role in today’s society. Countries invest much capital into the development of technology, military, and economy to become superpower nations. Our ambition continue to improve people’s living quality and promote social progress.
Ambition is an important trait that everyone should value. However, just as it had brought great advance and achievement in history, ambition also leads to numerous immoral acts. Adolf Hitler is probably the most notorious dictator in history. He and his Nazi regime led to the deaths of more than 11 million people. What made Hitler a cold blood murder is his extraordinarily large ambition. He aligned with other Axis powers to destroy Jews civilizations and conquer other countries in the world.
The cost of human lives mean nothing to him when comparing to the grand plan. Ambition made him brave, alert and intelligent, but also cruel, avaricious, and evil. Moral dilemmas are common in daily life too. People choose between their ambitions and personal integrity. A healthy ambition guides you the way without breaking morality baseline. But when your desire conquer the moral principle, ambition becomes devastating and dread.
A suitable ambition can stimulate us to make greater efforts for our dreams, but we can’t ignore the dark side as well. We should remember our limits all the time, and make sure we are not hurting others on our way to success.