The beast of ambition

Bridget Fekety, Junior Contributor

Ambition is like a tiger: 

Strong, mighty, and will figuratively bite your leg off if you aren’t careful. 

While having a “tiger” is a good partner in crime, it’s also a wild beast that has a seemingly unsatisfiable hunger, one that will be costly if not constantly tended to;Likewise, ambition often entails an unsatisfying hunger. Many ask, “But wouldn’t ambition make a person more motivated? Isn’t that good?”

Yes and no. From personal experience, ambition is a great motivating tool, yet it comes with a cost: Large bouts of pressure on oneself, occasional ruthlessness, and, in a personal opinion–possibly the worst feeling of them all–not being satisfied with one’s accomplishments. This tends to make everyday simple tasks, like goal setting, significantly more difficult for those with this internal tiger clawing at their heart and brain. 

Several students from Canfield High school were given various questions regarding the topic of ambition. When asked whether the participants viewed themselves as “ambitious individuals,” or not, 50% considered themselves completely ambitious while the other half said that they were ambitious, but only circumstantially. This is crucial to note for reasons of establishing qualified participants for this survey and revealing just how many people possess the trait of ambition. 

Furthermore, the second question asked in the questionnaire was in regards to how ambition contributes to each participant’s daily lives. According to the data, ambition completely plagues the days of these individuals. When provided with the options “(Ambition plays a role in my everyday life) Through grades”, “(Ambition plays a role in my everyday life) Through extracurricular activities ”, or “(Ambition plays a role in my everyday life) Through other everyday activities and situations in life,” every single participant chose the fourth “all of the above” option. Through this it can be accurately concluded that ambition (at least of those surveyed) is almost always present in one or multiple forms throughout living their life. 

After that, the survey specified ambition’s role even further by asking participants if they set goals for themselves and, if so, how ambition impacts their goal setting. In a response, all participants reported that they set goals and 100% say that they set big “reach for the stars” goals because of their ambition. 

Enlightening stuff, but, realistically, how easy is it really to accomplish large dreams solely based on ambition? What are the more “vicious” aspects of this character trait? Is ambition really a culmination of both positives and negatives, or is it all just a hoax? Well, according to the ambitious, success-hungry students themselves, as a whole, ambition is “Good and bad when it comes to goal setting. It’s good to have overarching goals and ambition is a great device for motivation, but at the same time goals that are too large have difficulty getting accomplished and my ambition often puts stress on me because of that.” Speaking of difficulty accomplishing goals, it was then asked how often the individuals conform to their goals and 0% reported sticking to their aspirations, many explaining, “I haven’t completed any of my goals yet, they’re too big,” or “Often times my goals change.” In the end, it can be concluded that people’s lack of loyalty to their goals isn’t necessarily because they aren’t dedicated or motivated enough to complete them, but because they had simply “aimed too high” and expected results much too quick, OR simply became interested in another aspiration. 

While this questionnaire by no means speaks for the mass amount of ambitious individuals in the world, the goal was to provide some tangible insight on how that characteristic defines their lives. On the survey in regards to the question, “Is ambition good or bad when contributing to goal setting?”, it was very surprising to see that no one chose the option, “I am never satisfied anyways.” Can’t relate. As mentioned, every individual experiences ambition differently and oftentimes the beast is clawing whether it be trying to get an A on a test or trying to qualify to nationals for Speech and Debate.

Personally, it’s oftentimes difficult not to battle with this ferocious tiger of ambition, resulting in stress or not feeling “satisfied” or “good enough”, but at the same time the beast opens doors to new opportunities by pushing hard work and allowing the mind and heart to dream big in tandem. Ambition applies not only to many everyday lives, but determining people’s goals and defining various individuals. And with that, the question is now posed:

Do you have the beast of ambition living within you?