It is a very indiscreet and troublesome ambition which cares so much about fame; about what the world says of us; to be always looking in the faces of others for approval; to be always anxious about the effect of what we do or say; to be always shouting, to hear the echoes of our own voices.

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.

Every great success has always been achieved by fight. Every winner has scars... The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and willpower to develop themselves.

To lose money is nothing, but to lose hope, to lose nerve, to lose ambition - that makes men cripples.

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thicksighted.

[On children] Train them to virtue; habituate them to industry, activity, and spirit. Make them consider every vice as shameful and unmanly. Fire them with ambition to be useful. Make them disdain to be destitute of any useful knowledge. Fix their ambition upon great and solid objects, and their contempt upon little, frivolous, and useless ones.

To look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength, to consider that she is to shine forever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be still adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge, carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man.

We do not know a nation until we know its pleasures of life, just as we do not know a man until we know how he spends his leisure. It is when a man ceases to do the things he has to do, and does the things he likes to do, that the character is revealed. It is when the repressions of society and business are gone and when the goads of money and fame and ambition are lifted, and man's spirit wanders where it listeth, that we see the inner man, his real self.

The peril of every fine faculty is the delight of playing with it for pride. Talent is commonly developed at the expense of character, and the greater it grows, the more is the mischief. Talent is mistaken for genius, a dogma or system for truth, ambition for greatest, ingenuity for poetry, sensuality for art.

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.

The failure of the mind in old age is often less the results of natural decay, than of disuse. Ambition has ceased to operate; contentment bring indolence, and indolence decay of mental power, ennui, and sometimes death. Men have been known to die, literally speaking, of disease induced by intellectual vacancy.

Wisdom is corrupted by ambition, even when the quality of the ambition is intellectual. For ambition, even of this quality is but a form of self-love.

Think not ambition wise, because ‘t is brave.

If we want to know what happiness is we must seek it, not as if it were a part of gold at the end of the rainbow, but among human beings who are living richly and fully the good life. If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double Dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar gold button that has rolled under the cupboard in his bed room. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living 24 crowded hours of the day. If you live only for yourself you are always an immediate danger of being bored to death with the repetition of your own views and interests. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellowmen. If your ambition has the momentum of an express train at full speed, if you can no longer stop your mad rush for glory, power, or intellectual supremacy, try to divert your energies into socially useful channels before it is too late.
For those who seek the larger happiness and greater effectiveness open to human beings there can be but one philosophy of life, a philosophy of constructive altruism. The truly happy man is always a fighting optimist. Optimism includes not only altruism but also social responsibility, social courage and objectivity. The good life demands a working philosophy as an orientating map of conduct. This is the golden way of life. This is the satisfying life. This is the way to be happy though human.

We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition seems to be classless, as true in the executive suites as on the assembly lines. One works not because the work is necessary, valuable, useful to a desirable end, or because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit - a condition that a saner time would regard as infernal, a condemnation.

A driving ambition is of little use if you're on the wrong road

Discontent is something that follows ambition like a shadow.

There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.

Perhaps our national ambition to standardize ourselves has behind it the notion that democracy means standardization. But standardization is the surest way to destroy the initiative, to benumb the creative impulse above all else essential to the vitality and growth of democratic ideals.

When ambition enters, creativity disappears -- because an ambitious man cannot be creative, because an ambitious man cannot love any activity for its own sake. While he is painting he is looking ahead; he is thinking, 'When am I going to get a Nobel Prize?' When he is writing a novel, he is looking ahead. He is always in the future -- and a creative person is always in the present.