Why can ambition be bad

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Ambition is good

Ambition is one of the globally admired personality traits. Ambitious men are usually considered more attractive to women since they can provide them with a secure future (at least this is how women think).

Ambition can also bring you lots of friends and fans because of the continuous achievements you will make in your life which can impress others.

But ambition isn't always a good thing.
Just like ambition can stem from having a great big goal or a noble life purpose it can also stem from self doubts and feelings of insecurity.

When ambition goes wrong

Sometimes people become ambitious just to prove to themselves that they can achieve a certain goal. Although this is not bad at all still it reflects some of the self doubts that this person is experiencing. (see Why do people strive for power)

When the source of ambition becomes the desire to please others or to prove to others that you are worthy then ambition becomes a problem. Again this is not bad at all but still It shows that you are obsessed by the way people think of you.

In both cases the aim is not reaching your goal or making progress in your life but it's just proving to others that you are OK. If that's the case then you seriously need to start building self confidence so that people's opinions won't affect you anymore.

When ambition makes your life miserable

In many cases ambition can make a person's life intolerable. In my previous article Why ambitious people suffer more than everyone else i said that when ambition goes far a person's life can become intolerable and he might get depressed.

It's totally OK to want more than others but if this desire is preventing you from enjoying the moment then your ambition is impacting you negatively. In many of my articles i ask the readers to never give up on their goals but this doesn't mean that they should ruin their lives just because they are ambitious.

The right thing to do in this case is to find the right balance between being ambitious and enjoying your life.

Real Ambition

The best type of ambition is when the source of ambition becomes the desire to reach a big goal or to fulfill your life purpose.

Aiming for a big goal for the sake of making a big change in the world is the best type of ambition that you can have because its not connected to self doubts or to concerns about your image in front of others.

Finally, ambition is always a good trait even if it's sources were self doubts and insecurities. It's important to understand the real drive behind your ambition so that you know whether you are on the right track or whether you are just trying to prove something to others (see Why are some people high achievers).

However in all cases if you are an ambitious person , no matter what your reasons are, you are still much better than a person who has no ambition.

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