Balancing Ambition With Contentment in This Contemporary Age – Part 1

Balancing Ambition With Contentment in This Contemporary Age – Part 1


Yesterday I asked a question on how one can balance ambition with contentment in this contemporary age, and I will like to share my thoughts on it.

To get started, we need to understand what ambition and contentment are. Basically, ambition is a strong desire to achieve a goal or to do something, while contentment is being satisfied with what you have achieved or what you have.

The two terms seem to be at the opposite sides. They seem to conflict each other. While ambition pushes you to do more, contentment pulls you to relax with what you have.

It’s basically a PUSH vs PULL tussle at it’s face value.

But it goes beyond that, when examined in details. Let’s first dive into the details of the concept of ambition.

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Here are a few points I would like to make about ambition:


Ambition is natural to man. It dates back to the creation of man. From Biblical perspective, Adam was charged by God to be fruitful and multiply, and to tend to the earth. That gave him his first job, and his ambition was to excel in that job.

Ever since then, man has aspired to get better, and ambition is the driving force! The world since then has grown and developed from one stage to the other, from the stone age, to iron Age, to machine age, to jet age, to the current age of information.

Through civilization hinged on the ambition of men, mankind has evolved from the days of wearing animal skin to this sophisticated age of digital technology and data-driven artificial intelligence. At every point through civilization, there are people who were the chief drivers of the civilization and they all have something bin common, which is ambition! The quest and desire to create something new, to modify and existing thing and make it better, etc.


Every sane and healthy human has an ambition. So long as you have a set goal to achieve, you have an ambition. It is only a mentally-unstabled person that will live without a goal or an aim.

When I was younger,one of the biggest insults anyone can give you is to call you an NFA, meaning “No Future Ambition”! 😊Everyone wants a better life, wants to be educated, acquire degrees, gain wealth, become great or better. All these are ambitions.

Humans by default have choices and desires, and when these desires become so convincing and strong in us, it becomes an ambition which we work towards.

THREE (3):

Ambition is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. Whatever it becomes largely has to do with you as a person, and not the ambition itself. Ambition takes the shape and form of the person carrying it.

So, ambition can be good, and it can be bad depending on you as the person who has that ambition. The character of a person defines his or her ambitions. His life’s purposes if know also helps to shape ambition.

Factors affecting Ambition:

Based on point number 3 above, there are two factors that affects ambition and can make it to be either good or bad:

1. Motive/Reason (Why)

2. Methodology/Process (How)

The motive or reason why you have a particular ambition goes a long way to determine if that ambition is a good one or bad one.

Why do you want to achieve that goal? Why do you do what you do?

What’s your reason for wanting to be rich? Why do you want to have power?

What’s the motive behind your desire? Whenever you ask yourself WHY you want a particular thing or the reason for doing something, it helps provides the lenses through which you view your ambition. When you answer the WHY of your ambition properly, it will help you to know if it is a good ambition or a bad one.

A good ambition has the good of mankind at its center.

A good ambition aims to add value to you as a person and also to the society you live in.

A good ambition brings about growth, development and progress.

A good ambition leads to the betterment of our lives and the society.

Any ambition you have that is centered around yourself without regards to the society is a selfish ambition!

Any ambition you have that does not care about others is a selfish ambition.

Any ambition that is aimed at oppressing others or venegeful is an unholy ambition. The big question is: Why do you do what you do, or why do you want that thing you are desiring?

Is it for the good of mankind? Does it glorify God? Is it just for yourself, to boost your ego?


… to be continued …

(C) Sunday Elesi, June 2024.


An experienced software engineer who loves to read and share his thoughts.

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