THE classic play the “Man of La Mancha” made famous the iconic song “The Impossible Dream.” The version popularized by Matt Monro is my father’s favorite and go to karaoke song. This is why, without the aid of google I know that the first few lines of the song: “To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go...”
When I was young, the song made no sense to me at all. Why? Why will you dream an impossible dream or fight a foe who is unbeatable? Why even try?
Now that I am a 28-year-old yuppie trying my hardest to find my place in this world, I finally understand. It’s because of something called ambition.
These past few days I’ve been burying my nose in this book by Zig Ziglar entitled, “Something to Smile About,” and I read a very interesting entry about ambition. The thing about it is this:
1. You must have one
I don’t know how to put it so eloquently myself, so allow me to share this quote I chanced upon with a little modification:
“A person without an ambition is like a bird who refuses to fly.”
Ziglar also said that a person without ambition is like a person who knows he/she has the ability to do something but refuses to move. This, he adds is one of life’s great tragedy. To be alive means to keep on moving, to keep evolving to keep on improving. And as we reach for the stars, even the unreachable ones, we become better versions of ourselves in the process.
2. Ambition must be coupled with compassion, integrity and direction
In itself, ambition is not bad, but ambition poisoned by evil and greed is. History laid witness to the rise and demise of many a tyrant, who are brilliant and successful people, but allowed their ambitions to be fueled by the wrong motivations. In fact up to this day, there are still a lot of them in society. Some are in countries where democracy ceases, some in our offices and even in our own homes. The right fuel to it is compassion, or the ability to care for others and see past own selfish desires in order to put the greater good forward. Another is integrity, the ability to choose and do what is right even if no one is watching. And the last one is direction, or not losing focus on the goal you seek to achieve.
Now, isn’t it wonderful, how ambitions can be a powerful weapon in bringing about good in this world? It also keeps us moving, keeps us going despite and in spite of everything so that we may lead better lives.
As we all begin another year and carefully plot our goals and plans for the future, let us keep our ambitions in check, or have one to begin with. (Iresse Patricia O. Bulos)