Western society tells us we have to be ambitious. That is how we are raised. We have to strive for the best. We have to be better than the other. In school, in our job, in our wealth. It is ingrained in the system we live in and further perpetuated by the information that comes to us via the media outlets.
We have to be successful. Success is hereby defined as winning. In other words, the others have to lose. This is reflected in the capitalistic system as well. “Survival of the fittest” – be smarter, stronger, faster and more flexible than the others.
What harm does ambition do?
So, we are told, in order to live a good life, you have to be ambitious. But what does that really mean?
We live in a world with limited resources. Obvious examples are of course the planet’s natural resources, but also think of energy, clean air, clean water and nature. The global population is growing rapidly. That means that more and more people are competing to claim, directly or in a derived way, those same resources.
The ‘game’ is therefore getting more and more difficult, and that further raises the bar and spurs ambition. The ambition comes at the expense of those very same precious resources. Therefor, ambition is a very destructive force.
And what happens when we fail in our ambition? Quite often we don’t talk about this, because in line with our view on ambition, we will not accept defeat: we have to constantly improve ourselves and up our game. But there is a lot of suffering in our lives. We fail in our exams, we fail in our relationships, we fail in our businesses. Those failures give us sorrow.
It does not matter if you are rich or poor, everyone is experiencing pain. This pain is a constant in our lives. It comes in different shapes and forms for every individual, but it is always there, for everyone.
When you realize that, and think it through, you can view it differently. We, as humanity, are suffering massively. You, as an individual, are taking your share of humanity’s suffering. Then you see that you are part of humanity. You are not separated. There is no game. There is no need for ambition in that definition.
Only then we can understand that there is a limitless resource. That source is called love. Love for life, love for humanity, love for the world. Lack of love will end humanity and, I’m afraid, rather rapidly. Love will carry humanity into the future.
And this is where we can actually use ambition. Instead of seeing ambition as a struggle to obtain resources, we should embrace ambition for principles. We strive for living according to the best principles. Principles of love, principles of integrity, principles of consciousness. Only then can we build and improve our world, our lives and our consciousness. And these I regards as essentials before we connect to other worlds.
Gratitude goes out for the inspiration provided to write this article:
- The Power is Now- Krishnamurti
- Audio Manly P. Hall