Of Man, His Ambition and Happiness

Ambition Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky and Clouds.

Our ambition of course may also be in just envying another person’s achievements or wanting to be like him for what he is as a success. For a lot of us, our ambition may just be to make a living or get by in life with all the comforts and appurtenances that office or power confers. Just live happily, for, Life is Good. However, the tenor or colour of our ambition should be defined by the peace and progress it brings to the world, the happiness it gives others and the fulfilment it gives us in the joy we extend to others. This is because ambition is noble when it is for the edification of humanity, when it is to the glorification of the power above and when it is for the refinement or perfection our character.

Our journey in life starts not from the cradle, not even from the womb of our mothers. It is an inherited journey from the mud from which our father Adam was moulded by The Ultimate Potter. Some thinkers found a convenient way to describe our maker as the Grand Architect of the Universe, GAOTU. This architect has also been described as the author and finisher of our life in the Christian Scripture. He is Allah; for this is what the Qur’an directs humanity to call Him, or Ar-Rahman, the Merciful, among so many other beautiful names that qualify the majesty of the Almighty, His omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience.

Since we owe our existence to this Living Being, Al Hayyu, in whose being is our being and what becomes of us in the morrow, to whom we shall render account, and who shall ultimately declare our success or failure and award medals or invoke punishment on the merit of our performance, then our pursuit or goal, our ambition should find expression in what gladdens this Holiest of Holy, Al Qudus. Is this usually the case? Do we recognise this Unseen Director of affairs to shape our ambition in the direction He intends?

At a certain time in my higher secondary school days at Baptist High School, Iwo, Osun State, in the early/mid 80s, I came across some seven cardinal sins in one of our literature set books, Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which I specially noted. These vices are Pride, Anger, Envy, Avarice, Lust, Sloth and Gluttony, all pointing to the drivers and the restraints in the force field of our life. They mostly define our ambition or reason for living, the purpose or essence of our being. These vices are well illustrated in Ayi Kweh Ama’s award winning “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born” written in the immediate post-independence Ghana. The theme of that book is also reflected in many of the writings of the first generation Nigerian writers like Chinua Achebe, Ola Rotimi, Kole Omotosho, Femi Osofisan and Wole Soyinka as expressed in a novel like “A Man of the People” or “No Longer at Ease” and as dramatised in Soyinka’s “Jero Plays” or Ola Rotimi’s “Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again”.