Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Obviously, mainstream thinking will tell you that you need to have ambition. You need to have the drive to fuel that ambition so that you will ACHIEVE. Almost most motivators speak of the “power of ambition”. In today’s largely capitalistic and selfish orientated system, ambition is held in high esteem.

I know that quite a number of “achievers” are fueled by ambition in their lives. Of course many more ambitious people have failed to realize their ambitions, but this story is often not told. Concepts and theories which are dubious but sounds “good” are often supported by looking at the smaller “successes” rather than the greater number of failures.

Ambition is doing something in order to achieve something or to get somewhere. If you get somewhere due to your ambition, you consider your self successful. On the other if your ambition does not lead you achieve the desired goal or does not get you anywhere, you are considered a failure. Ambition is specific goal driven. An ambitious person is one who will do anything it takes to achieve that ambition. Ambition per se may not be a bad thing.

Ambition sets a goal. Ambition gives you a sense of time frame and it makes you aware of the raw materials you need to move towards the realization of that ambition. It also alerts you of what to avoid if you want to achieve that ambition.

What about desire? Desire is to do something because the doing of it gives you pure joy. An act driven by desire gives you joy but it may not get you anywhere. Therefore the very act of doing the act is a success and the consequence of joy is automatic. While you do it, you experience joy. Desire has no goal except to do the very thing desired.

In the above sense therefore, a politician who is driven by desire to do “good” does good simply because it gives him joy. Whether the act of doing good gets him somewhere politically or financially or personally is immaterial. That is not the goal. His joy is derived simply from the act of doing good. When a politician is driven by the desire to serve, he finds joy in the very act of service. In other words, any opportunity to be of service will be a joy. Whether his service is recognized is irrelevant to him. What is relevant is that his service is beneficial to the target group. His success lies in the opportunity to do service.

On the other, an ambitious politician is one who is driven by his ambition to get somewhere - politically, financially, personally. Every act of his, including the good that he does, is a product of his ambition. In order words, doing a good act is not the objective of his act. He does good because he wants the doing of the good to GET HIM WHERE HE WANTS TO GO. If the doing of the good does not politically benefit him, he will not repeat the act. He will feel that he has failed. The fact that he has done good is immaterial to him.

In this line of thinking, if the doing of good is irrelevant to his ambition, he will not do any good. Alternatively, if the perception of doing good is more effective than the actual act of doing good, he will opt for the perception. This is because; his sole purpose is the realization of his political ambition.

If the above reasoning is correct, an ambitious politician is then a person who is NOT motivated by the desire to do good and be of service to the Nation. He will be strongly motivated to chart his political progress based purely on what is necessary and expedient to achieve his political goal. He will learn to the master the essential tools of political “craftsmanship” – ability to influence, manipulate mass sentiments, make fiery and entertaining speeches, create an image of “caringness, cleverness, etc”.

The ultimate goal is the realization of his political ambitions. All else are TOOLs and stepping stones for this sole objective.

Can you then imagine the colossal damage that can be unleashed by a person who has political ambitions from day one? The stronger the political ambition, the more dangerous he is to society and the people. An ambitious politician must necessarily be a narcissist. He sees himself as the center of the world and any reasonable dissent as a personal attack on his ambitions.

Do not be confused. I am not saying that one should not be in “higher positions”. All I am saying is that one should not aspire ambitiously to be in higher positions for the sake of the higher position. On the other hand, one may desire to do a greater good and in that process be lumbered with a greater level of responsibility. What is the difference?

An ambitious person will sacrifice the doing of any good if that may risk him losing the higher position.

A person who has the desire to do good will sacrifice the higher position if that may risk him losing the opportunity to do good.

What do you think?


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