By Esha Rao
“Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundamental of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and the reason for our existence”- Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro.
During one of our English Language lectures, a discussion on ambition, greed and the dire need of empathy erupted. Our teacher very rightly pointed out that people have become excessively selfish, harbouring less or no empathy at all for the down trodden and those less-fortunate. He spoke about how the balance between ambition and sensitivity had vanished, how ignorance had taken over those within our society. While talking about how ambition often brings about pride, selfishness, insensitivity and ruthlessness, I asked myself if it were wrong of me to want to succeed and earn huge sums of money. It made me wonder if doing so was wrong on my part, for I would become one of those so-called ignorant self-centred disappointments (socially, in terms of how I looked at the world) of society.
Ambition is the driving force in one’s life, without which no aid or faculty could help one make great achievements possible. It is essential for human life as it erases its dreaded monotony. It makes life more interesting, more challenging and much more satisfying. Those with ambition have a certain zeal, vigour and urgency within them. Ambitious people know that there are no short cuts and that the only thing that will help them achieve their dreams is persistence and hard work. They understand the value of time, which according to any economist is by far the most expensive commodity. Society frowns upon ambition as they mistake it for greed and an addiction for power. However, they do not realise that it is merely one’s desire to escape mediocrity. Moreover, human civilizations would not have thrived if it had not been for our natural ambition to survive.
I do concede that ambition often gets the better of people. It makes them, colloquially speaking, ‘mad’. However, trying to do away with it entirely will leave us complacent and hinder development. Every government aims to achieve economic, social and political growth. Without the passionate fervour that ambition drives, these objectives may never be achieved. An ambitious attitude leads to triumph and satisfaction. Moreover, the will and courage to be one of the best gets one a lot farther than any talent possibly could. Most of the people I look up to have never only relied upon their so-called ‘talent’. They have always been ambitious and sacrificing- determined to achieve great things in life.
However, being ambitious alone doesn’t suffice. It is important for one to set goals before they begin working towards success. Success is found in a life lived not dreamed, one that is propelled by action and not just a desire to act, a life filled with fears faced, limits pushed and relationships cultivated. In simple terms a successful life is filled with experience and action, not wishes.
Being ambitious is a full time job. It is not something temporary or fleeting. It entails from us our attention, energy, intellect and hard work. Ambition entails action, an unsettling feeling in the pit of one’s stomach, a thirst for knowledge and the will to persevere. Within the journey lie the lessons, the personal development, the suffering, the fun, the growth and the reason we will see this battle as a blessing.
Esha Rao is a first year student pursuing Economics Honours at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Being an avid reader she loves books by Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini and Corban Addison. Esha has also represented her schools at various command level basketball matches and finds immense pleasure in playing the sport. She enjoys debating, turn quotes, symposiums, extempore, group discussions etc. Social service has been one of her utmost priorities. Being a part of Enactus LSR has helped widen her reach. She is also fortunate enough to work with the women of the National Association of the Blind.
Edited by Madhavi Roy, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist