Of Man, His Ambition and Happiness

Ambition Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky and Clouds.

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.