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Nick Campbell

Ms. Starry

Period 1

1 April 2017


Ambition, that need to be great, who wants to be the best? Everyone, right? See but the

thing is, not everyone can be the best. Focusing your life on solely making a buck shows a

certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself, because its only when you hitch your

wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential. [Brainy Quote].

Barack Obama stated this on July 12, 2006 at the Campus Progress Annual Conference and he is

saying that you wont achieve higher goals unless you have higher ambitions but is ambition a

good or bad thing. I believe that ambition is a strong driving force of society that keeps people

striving to reach higher goals which in turn makes America and the world a better place. New

inventions are made by ambitious people. Countries are made stronger and more powerful by

ambitious people and diseases and infections are cured by ambitious people. Ambition is the key

reason why the world becomes more and more advanced every day and yes, of course there are

bad sides of ambition. There are bad sides of everything, but too much of anything is bad

because overall ambition is a great thing for society.

One example of good ambition is in the book A Separate Peace by John Knowles. In the

story, the main character Gene is jealous of the other main character, Phineas. Gene envys him

and wants to be more like Phineas. So, he pushes him off a tree branch so Finny gets hurt and so

Gene wouldnt be jealous anymore, but instead Gene ends up having to fight the guilt and the
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jealousy got worse. Towards the end of the book his ambition to be a better person got him to

realize who he is and how he truly feels about himself as seen on page 12. I dont know I had

to I thought I belonged here [ Knowles 12]. Genes ambition makes him do bad things, but in

the end got him to realize who he is as a person and to accept himself.

Ambition is also seen in the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare; the famous poet uses

ambition as a key point in the play. It drives Macbeth to kill the king and his children so he can

become king. But once Macbeth becomes king, his enemy Macduff uses his own driving

ambition to kill the tyrant Macbeth and save the country, then yield thee, coward, and live to be

the show and gaze o th time. Well have thee, as our rarer monsters are painted on a pole and

underwrit, Here may you see the tyrant. [ 5.4.24-30]. Macduff is facing his fear of fighting

Macbeth and uses his ambition to drive him to take down the tyrant and gives his country back to

its rightful owner.

Just like Macbeth everyone has that drive, that need to be better than the next guy.

Macbeth wanted more, he didnt want to just be a Prince, he wanted to be king. Just like in the

real-world people dont just want to be good, they want to be great. If all of the impulse in

humanitys behavioral portfolio, ambition- that need to grab an ever-bigger piece of the resource

pie before someone else gets it ought to be one of the most democratically distributed that

need to get ahead ought to be hard wired into all of us equally [ Kluger 1] Ambition is in all of

us. Everyone wants to do more, to be more, to have more. But the more you have the less

someone else has, which is the bad part about ambition. But when you think about it, Steve Jobs

would have never created Apple computer without the drive to make the internet faster. Penicillin

was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, which was way before his time cured and saved

many lives and without his drive to find a way to save lives it wouldve never been discovered.
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In 2013, CNN did an article on how ambition affects a persons happiness and if

achieving your goals make you happier than people who dont. Less driven slackers may not be

as happy and may not live as long as ambitious people [Hume 1]. A study showed that

ambitious people were only slightly happier, but lived longer than slackers because ambitious

people are never satisfied and are always striving to reach their goals. If ambition makes you

happier and live longer then why wouldnt it be a good thing? People would always choose to

work with someone whose ambitious because they achieve more in life. Yes, in some cases, it

can be a bad thing but too much of anything is bad. Our body is made of 80 percent water and if

we have too much water we would drown. Just like ambition if we have too much of it we


Ambition is everywhere, its in animals and humans. Its the driving force behind human

development. Agricultural Revolution and Industrial Revolution wouldnt have happened

without ambitious people. Ambition is the key reason the world is where it is today and its a

great thing for people and society.

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Work Cited

Barack Obama Quotes. BrainyQuote, Xplore, Accessed 26 Mar. 2017.

Hume, Tim. Why Ambition Could Make You Rich, but Not Happy. CNN, Cable News

Network, 9 Mar. 2012,

top/index.html. Accessed 26 Mar. 2017.

Kluger, Jeffrey. Ambition: Why Some People Are Most Likely to Succeed. Time, Time Inc., 6

Nov. 2005,,9171,1126746, 00.html. Accessed

26 Mar. 2017.

Knowles, John. Separate Peace. Place of Publication Not Identified, Simon & Schuster Ltd,


Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. The Language of Literature. McDougall Littell, 2002, 327-416

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