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Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain


It is common to hear that ambition is related to the “excessive desire of a person to achieve their goals, regardless of the price they have to pay for it or who it may affect.”   Ambition, therefore, is seen as a negative trait.

However, like a magnet, ambition has two poles, the positive and the negative, so we can also find its positive traits.

What is Ambition

Ambition can be defined as a striving for some kind of achievement or distinction and involves, first, the desire for achievement and, second, the willingness to work towards it even in the face of adversity or failure.

Ambition is often related to the fervent desire to achieve wealth, fame, and power.  Still, it can involve any passion, such as living near the sea or having a successful business, among many other cases.

Positive Aspects

Among the positive aspects of ambition, it can be perceived as an intense desire to stand out from ordinary people or typical work teams, where their actions are constantly observed and frequently measured.

In this case, ambition becomes the impulse pushing an individual to grow in their profession, obtain recognition, and earn higher incomes.

Negative Aspects

Unfortunately, the drive of ambition as a positive trait often manifests itself in people lacking values and principles.  Here, we would find an individual who does not mind taking whatever actions necessary to achieve their personal goals, including illegal, unethical, and immoral acts.

The ambitious person without values will not care about the welfare of those around them but only about their interests.

Managing Ambition

All ambition requires management.  Here are several ideas on managing ambition.

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – The best way to stop this comparison cycle is to put the comparison in perspective. We need to acknowledge what others are doing, see if there are any key takeaways that will help us learn and grow, and then file the information away.  Don’t let yourself be in constant awe of what others are doing.
  2. Don’t Forget About the “Outside Wins” – Not everything should be about your career. If all your ambition is focused on your career, you’ll suffer from a lack of diversification.
  3. Holding Status Meetings with Yourself – Holding status meetings with yourself lets you review and re-prioritize your goals, make changes to your roadmap, and analyze your performance up to that point. This meeting also gives you a bigger appreciation for your accomplishments.

The Bible

To be ambitious, in the worldly sense, is essentially a desire to have more than your neighbor.  Its motto is “he with the most toys wins”; ambition strives to be number one.  However, in the Bible, ambition takes on a whole new dimension.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 says,

and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

And Ephesians 5:8-10 says,

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

And Galatians 1:10 says,

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Those whose ambition is to be popular with the world cannot be true, faithful servants of Jesus Christ.  If our ambition is to seek the things of the world, in truth, we are self-seeking and denying Christ and His sacrifice.

It is easily possible to be ambitious, according to the Bible, and be worldly successful by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and following God’s will.  He is, after all, in charge of your success anyway.

By definition, business leaders and entrepreneurs are all ambitious people.  But that ambition must first be ambition as directed by the Holy Gospel.  And second, tempered and managed not to allow it to rule your decisions and life.