Ambition Quotes

According to the Royal Spanish Academy of Language, the word “ambition” can be defined as that “fervent desire” that an individual feels towards a material object, a person or a situation. It is almost always taken as a negative personality trait, for ambition can also lead the individual to blind themselves or obsess about achieving what he cravs.

On this occasion we bring some of the phrases of the most famous writers, thinkers, politicians and artists, about this feeling so human, and at the same time so dismissed by both literature and some religions, which see in it the apple of discord between the individual and his environment, since most of the time an excessive ambition can cause the person to put into practice that “the end justifies the means”, taking before him family ties, friendship, as well as many of his values.

Here are some of the most relevant phrases about ambition, uttered by some of the brightest minds in history:


Ambition is more unhappy than you don’t have to satisfy what you have. (Fénelon)

According to this French writer and theologian, who lived during the second half of the 17th century, ambition is a feeling that fills with a continuous dissatisfaction to those who live it, making this person focus more on what he lacks to achieve, than in what has been earned. In this sense, Fenelón seems to place the emphasis on the continuous discontent with which the ambition engulfs that individual who suffers it.

Jonathan Swift

Ambition often leads people to execute the most vile needs. Therefore, to climb, the same posture is adopted as for crawling.  (Jonathan Swift)

For his part, this Irish writer and politician, who also lived during the 17th and much of the 18th century, highlights how ambition can lead someone to overlook values such as ethics, fraternity, solidarity, respect and honesty, among others, with such as carrying out their purposes.

In this sense, for Swift this type of actions, committed in order to scale social or economic positions, place the person at the level of the ground, so for this thinker even though the individual ascends, he is actually crawling, or at least dragging by the soil his name, his honor and his morals.

William Shakespeare

Whoever rises too close to the sun with gold wings melts them. (William Shakespeare)

In what is apparently a clear allusion to the Greek myth of Icarus, this celebrated British writer, who lived during the years 1564-1616, points out the danger that is very ambiguous, for his own obsession and dissatisfaction can lead him to lose everything in a Moment.

If we remember, Icarus is a mythological character who learned to fly with a pair of wings that his father Daedallo built him from feathers and wax. However, Icarus did not heed his father’s warning not to fly near the sun, on the contrary he rose and climbed, until the heat of the sun began to melt his wax, destroyed his wings, and the young man fell into the sea where he drowned. In this sense, Shakespeare warns of the danger to which ambition takes us.

Rabindranath Tagore

Set bird’s wings with gold and it will never again soar in the sky. (Rabindranath Tagore)

Also in a tone of warning, this Indian philosopher and writer, who lived in the last decades of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, points to the immense burden that can come to an ambition. Comparing the human to a bird and ambition with gold, Tágore places the emphasis on the loss of freedom that can lead to obsessing and focusing only on obtaining what haunts us, whether we consive it or not.

George Bernard Shaw

Man can climb to the highest peaks, but he can’t live there long. (George Bernard Shaw)

In what appears to be a message that points more towards the human condition, avid for constant change, this Irish writer, who lived between 1856 and 1950, points out that ambition leads man to reach the greatest riches and live the greatest moments , but that the transient character of life and the need for movement of the human, sooner or later, will lead him to descend from the highest peaks, for he cannot stay forever there, so it can be inferred that everything we do to achieve what we o Bsesiona, after all, will be completely useless, for everything happens, even the great and valuable, since life is a constant coming from situations and moments.

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Ambition Quotes
Source: Education  
August 31, 2019

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