Ambition is like
it obeys no law but its appetite.
Henry Wheeler Shaw
ambitions are lawful except those which
climb upward on the miseries or credulities of humankind.
be ambitious of true honor and of the real glory and perfection
of our nature is the very principle and incentive of virtue; but
to be ambitious of titles, place, ceremonial respects, and civil
is as vain and little as the things are which we court.
is the nature of ambition to make people liars and cheats, to hide the
truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in
mouths, to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their
interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good
Ambition makes the same mistake
concerning power that avarice
makes concerning wealth. She begins by accumulating power as a
to happiness, and she finishes by continuing to accumulate it as an
dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain,
ambitious people still climb and climb, with great labor,
and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.
people compare and estimate themselves by an idea
which is higher than themselves; and a mean person,
by one lower than him- or herself. The one produces aspiration;
the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar person
is so powerful a passion in the human breast,
that however high we reach we are never satisfied.
is corrupted by ambition, even when the quality
of the ambition is intellectual. For ambition even of
this quality, is but a form of self-love.
There is another more subtle way in which the
innocence of childhood is lost: when the child is infected with the
desire to become somebody. Contemplate the crowds of people who are
striving might and main to become, not what Nature intended them to
be-- musicians, cooks, mechanics, carpenters, gardeners, inventors--
but "somebody": to become successful, famous, powerful; to become
something that will bring not quiet and self-fulfillment, but
self-glorification and self-expansion.
What is ambition but
desire of greatness? And what is greatness but extent of power?
Beware of ambition!
It's one of the true double-edged swords. . . . depending
upon how we define it, it may be one of our great motivators that
helps us to
grow and learn and become who we're meant to be, or one of our great
that holds us down and turns us into something we never imagined, in
nightmares, that we ever would become as human beings.
It is by attempting to
reach the top at a single leap that so much misery is produced
in the world. -William Cobbett
very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
is the constant fault and inseparable evil
quality of ambition, that it never looks behind it.
Ambition is the last refuge
of failure. -Oscar Wilde
Ambition is a lust that is never quenched, but
more inflamed and madder by enjoyment.
grow small trying to be great.
Seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition
even if it be only the
apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and
discoveries. -Mary Shelley
was no more dangerous kind of madman than one who devoted
a good brain and a courageous heart to unhealthy ambitions.
The City in the Autumn Stars
ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one
of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do
more. -Oscar Wilde
If people hold
no ambitions in this world, they suffer unknowingly. If people hold ambitions, they suffer knowingly, but very slowly.
People who are intelligently
ambitious are always looking at the wider
picture. They look for opportunities to contribute. They
what needs to be done. -Nathaniel
changes in a women's nature are brought by love; in man, by ambition.
Intelligence without ambition
is a bird without wings. -Salvador Dalí
truth is that people's ambition and their desire to make money
are among the most frequent causes of deliberate acts of injustice.
desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.
Oh, it's delightful
to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them--that's the best of it.
Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one
glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.
-Lucy Maud Montgomery,
Anne of Green Gables
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