Ambition is generally seen as a positive trait to have. In some ways it is a very positive thing. It allows us to set goals and pursuit them. However it is a trait than needs to be taken in moderation. For while there have been some great achievements in society because of some overly ambitious, so too have almost all the negative things that have come along. If it a powerful trait that if used wrong can be a very bad thing to behold.
Behind every corporation that is poisoning the water supply or destroy an ecosystem is a cohort of people with more ambition than those around them. Their relentless drive to get to the top of the corporate ladder has meant that they will throw anyone under the bus to try and get there. Every deliberate act of evil has come from those with a lot of ambition to back it up. It is one thing to have negative and evil ideas, it is another to actively pursue them. One can be disgruntled at the world and not act on it, in a lot of situations that is a much better state to be as to have the ambition to act on the world means you have also self judged your position to be correct.
There are billions of people out there now that are trying to strive to achieve impossible goals, unaware of the limits of the world in front of them. Some of these limits are the other people around them. They will be ruthless and unstoppable in trying to get to these goals – and along the way they will create far more pain and misery than if they had done nothing at all. It is considered an insult nowadays if you are content with life, you are considered an “unambitious loser” and yet those that are content are not causing anywhere near the level of harm to the world as those that feel the need for more. Those that are being insulted may have the right idea on how to live life.
They are not constantly trying to chase a moving goal post of hedonism. They are not digging up the world and poisoning the air with their desire for ever more techno trash. They are merely content with themselves and those around them. It doesn’t mean that people should do nothing, but that they should be content more with the basics of the world around them rather than chasing an imaginary goal.
It isn't just for the damage caused to others but also to themselves. Who does less damage - the person who decides they want to make a nice painting at some point in the next few years for their own gratification. Or those that are absolutely determined that they need to be one of the great painting masters and need to have their works in a gallery for validation from others as soon as possible? And they will not let anyone or anything get in the way of it. The first one is content with the achievable, the later is hell bent on a self allocated glorious goal that is unlikely to ever be achieved and would probably poison their mind long before they ever get there, if they get there. If they do not get to their goal, they will only be left with the mental poison.
There are people that will dedicate their lives to a personal cause and at an extreme level such as painting, but I have found they are few and far between. The big key difference in their ambition is the lack of an abstract goal. They are usually hyper fixed on the problem of just trying to be better at their work rather than trying to get its recognized outside of their own personal space. You see people who know how to draw with exceptional skills, they did not go out trying to earn the biggest praise or monetary reward – they did it for the love of the art and their own personal growth. They are ambitious in personal goal but content in how to interact with the world.
For every one person out there that is succeeding at their abstract and destructive goals, there are hundreds of people who have taken the quieter and more introspective path as they have figured out a more peaceful and content pace of growth within themselves rather than ambitiously trying to destroy the world and others in it for their own selfish gain.
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