What role does ambition play in your own life?What role does ambition play in your own life?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have always been ambitious. Sometimes the results are great. Sometimes they are not. Things tend to get out of control. Evaluating my life as I got older, I realized that ambition itself is not good or bad. It's the other motives that go with it that you have to worry about. If you have a worthy goal, ambition is great!
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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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When I was younger, I was very ambitious as far as my desire to get a college education, to move away from home, to live on my own, and to marry someone I deemed "good enough" for me.

Now that I have two children, my priorities have completely changed.  I have put my career and future education plans on hold, I am relying on my husband for financial security, and largely, I have taken a personal backseat in my own selfishness.  My number one priority today is to raise two (and possibly more) independent, self-confident, and well-loved children.  It has been an idenity crisis, of sorts, to give up on everything I once thought was important, but I think most parents will tell you, it is worth every bit of the difficulty.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Without a bit of ambition in our lives it would be hard to get the motivation to get a mission accomplished. In my case, I try to make ambition a source of motivation, but I try to keep it realistic. What I mean by this is that, although I want to see myself in a good position in life, far removed from drama, and living comfortably enough to enjoy my elder years, I am not going to make that such a heavy mission that it will put me on a losing end.

However, ambition has one positive thing and it is that it always makes you look forward, and never turn back. If one knows how to use ambition in a smart way, the benefits that can be reaped from it can be very productive for all involved.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For me, probably not as much as it should have.

If you evaluate my life objectively, you might well say that I have underachieved.  I was very smart as a kid -- enough so that I finished high school at 16 and college at 20.  But, perhaps because of a lack of ambition, I have not really become "something" in life.  I have been content to be a teacher.  I hope that I have made a difference in the lives of some students, but our society does not really think that teaching high school is a "good" job for someone with a lot of talent.  I have been content to be a part-time teacher after my kids were born because it was better for our family if I stayed home with the kids.  Again, not what society says a talented person should do.

Of course, I'm happy with where I am in life, but that too might be seen simply as a lack of ambition.  Because ambition does not play a big part in my life, I have remained contented in a place in life that (some might think) is below where I should be.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well, I guess it all depends on what you mean by ambition. I have included a link to a definition below that should help you work this out. My own personal problem with ambition is that it is often associated with other negative characteristics, which I think is most unfair, as I believe ambition isn't necessarily negative. Is it wrong for someone to want to achieve the best that they can in life? I don't think so. I think in fact ambition is certainly very healthy if it is not taken to excess. I guess the question is whether you allow ambition to overrule other important aspects of your life such as your own morals and values. For me, I would describe myself as ambitious because I want to achieve everything that I am capable of, but I won't allow my ambition to succeed in the things I put my mind to to compromise my personal values and beliefs. In short, I believe ambition by itself can actually be very healthy, because I think it can help us achieve everything that we are capable of.

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