In a 2012 opinion article published in a number of Nigerian dailies, AMBITION was one theme that resonated in my reflection titled Anatomy of Death. I argued that ambition is a mirage when death is not minded, among many other metaphors that I used to illustrate human ambition. Although it was an expression of agony and lamentations on the futility of life, in a sense however, there is nothing wrong in being ambitious. After all, ambition is the driver of existence, The Purpose, The Vision, but that purpose or vision must be meaningful and positively impactful. This I consider a nice colour of ambition. So, ambition is not bad in itself, not at all. After all, a life devoid of ambition is one without purpose.

A man or woman without ambition aims for nothing, ventures for nothing and so gains nothing. He lives to be exploited by other players in the field of life and consumed by other forces that shape the world. He lives to die without a reason to live. He lives by the spurs of the day, by the whims and caprices of the moment and by intuition, emotion or brainwaves, not by a particular plan, order or focus, not rationally, not objectively. He cannot tell what should be inscribed on his tombstone should he breathe his last now, because he has no purpose, mission or ambition in the first instance, nor can he proclaim Alhamdulillah, Halleluyyah, Allahu Akbar, Ogoooo in a song of victory, should he achieve anything because he has no expectation of it. It came by chance.

He cannot number the milestones of his journey of life should he live long because he has no compass of life. A life without ambition is one of waste and disorder. Ambition is what paints our purposes and pursuits. The hue of our hopes and aspiration is the ambition we silently nurture and we practically pursue. It is the tonic of existence, the adrenalin of life, firing our rocket of attainment, fulfilment or actualisation.

Our ambition may be hinged on sustaining a legacy, especially if we are children of the Abiolas, the Arisekolas, the Dangotes, the Adenugas, the Otedolas, the Tinubus, the Jimoh Ibrahims, the Dantatas, the Subomi Baloguns and the Da Rochas of Nigeria. It may be just to make a difference, carve a niche for ourselves in our professions or trades, in the academia, in sports and entertainment, or in the public service. Our ambition is the height we want to attain, in being the best possible in what we do or where we are, winning laurels and honours, filling our chests with all sorts of medals and trophies, stacking our lapels with symbols of knighthoods and eminence, standing tall before a mammoth crowd of admirers, before bright, hot cameras of the TV and the paparazzi of the press, enjoying the ovation and the encomiums splashed on us as we wait to be decorated with the Nobel prizes, the Olympic gold and the Grammy awards.

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15 Responses

  1. fateemah

    well said sir. Ambition should serve as a drive to man. It’s should be that thing that’s a surge to your positive existence.
    Salaudeen Fatimoh Olorunseyi

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  2. Olamide Christianah Adeboye

    This is a great piece sir.
    When I was still a kid I used to say to myself “When I grow up I don’t want to be rich. I would just get married, have kids and live a ‘comfortable’life with my family in a small bungalow. “… That used to be my ambition. I didn’t except more from life. My environment limited my expectations from life. It limited my vision,because most people around me lived a life of mediocrity. Everyone’s concern was to wake up, eat, make money and sleep(no true happiness). However, growing up, I changed my environment and got exposed my mentality changed. I started seeing life differently. I began to aim for more. I began to dream big. I saw people’s needs, I discovered what gives me true happiness. I made a decision to make impact before I take my last swig of breath, to leave my footprints in the sands of time.

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  3. Musa Abimbola

    This is absolutely true, a life without an ambition is like a well without water. It’s better for it to be called a hole than a well. Man needs to be ambitious and also remember to set his mind on his ambition. This is a must read to everyone out there.

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  4. Salaudeen Roheemah

    Well said sir.
    Our ambition is the desire to achieve something or to succeed accompanied with determination and an internal drive.
    Then, the gravity of our happiness is not determined by the amount of money stocked in our account but by the fulfilment of our mission and desire.

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  5. Mubarak Adam

    Nice article sir
    Ambition is a very important aspect of our being successful, without ambition one is likely to remain in an exact position, ambition needs to be fuelled with consistency and intelligence.

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  6. Musbau

    Wow!!!This article is one of,if not the best I’ve ever read.Ambition! Ambition!! Ambition!!!What is the purpose of life without ambition?Just like Sean hapton said:”A dream without ambition is like a car without gas……it’s going nowhere.”
    I love this.

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  7. Adedamola Yahaya

    Ambition is a factor that defines most of a humans life. From the moment we can understand the word and its concept till the day we leave this world. Everyone wants to leave a mark but alot of people don’t realise that you have to have something that drives you.This is very capitivating and detailed.

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  8. Adeyemo Kabir Opeyemi

    Well penned sir. Life of no ambition will be lived in futility and damaging to the wards coming behind us. What is the essence of life lived unguardedly.

    But sir, if the children of Dangotes, Otedolas and the likes develop their own skill and not flamboyantly flaunting their parent’s wealth, their own goal can be achieved. DJ CUPPY, daughter of Otedola is a good example.

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  9. Ozenua Tobi

    Indeed, ambition can truly be called the essence of purpose …Some ambitions seeming greater than the other but all the same ambition sets a man to pursue goals. But how funny ambitions get limited by circumstances while some get driven. .. You just have to say.. Sometimes Ambition is proportional to situation and circumstances but anyways we all have to go beyond limits to reach our goals.

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  10. Arinde Segun

    this part really caught my attention.

    ” any man or woman without ambition aims for nothing, ventures for nothing and so gains nothing. He lives to be exploited by other players in the field of life and consumed by other forces that shape the world. ”

    because in the long run, your ambition coupled with self determination will be your driving force to achieve greatness.

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  11. Adekanmi Oluwatobiloba

    A beautiful piece I must confess. I enjoyed every single part of it. The instances given to enlighten us on the significance of a man’s ambition as well the conceptions surrounding it.
    I believe every man is born with a void – an empty space, a hunger and thirst to satisfy, I believe the pursuit for greatness (man’s ambition) is the link that connects him to this fulfilment.
    As it was said in the excerpt : “…ambition is noble when it is for the edification of humanity…” Ambitions differ but irrespective of which one it may be, it’s pertinent we channel it into humanity because that’s well the real fulfilment lies.

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