What to Do With Your Ambition
How to recognize when ambition has taken control of your life and what to do about it

by Zack Mills / © 2018, ORTV.


Whether you’re a recent hire at a company fighting your way to the top or the wide-eyed graduate chock-full of ambitious expectations for what comes next, it’s imperative that you can put ambition in its proper place in your life. Of course, this is easier said than done. While many young people are taught to serve their aspirations at all costs, there are just as many communities steering their impressionable youth away from ambition. In either case, ambition seems to miss the mark.

  When ambition is treated like an idol, it believes in a planet of scarcity and strangely leaves people empty. But, on the other hand, when ambition is portrayed as something to be avoided—like a radioactive, harmful substance—it is a sure sign of authoritarian abuse. Unfortunately, both extremes mishandle the inherently healthy, beneficial qualities that accompany our yearning for more.

  Found in its proper place, ambition allows people to contribute their good gifts to the world— cocreating in a universe of abundance.

  But how do you know when ambition is in its proper place? To avoid missing out on the perks of ambition, here are six signs to help recognize when ambition has its hands on the steering wheel and has taken over.


Six signs ambition has taken control


  1. 1. A haunting exhaustion

  Ambition is not in its proper place when you have a deep, abiding sense that your life isn’t sustainable. Psychologists commonly refer to this as burn-out. A common temptation is to fill up all the space in your calendar and without knowing why. This kind of haunting exhaustion usually catches up to us once we’re already at the sixth event, but we only have the capacity for three.   


  1. 2. Jealousy

  Ambition has taken control when you find yourself jealous in your perception of the success of others. Instead of being inspired, you’re threatened by your peers’ successes. Here, the curiosity is lost for how people do what they do. Out of place, ambition doesn’t ask a lot of questions.




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