The dictionary defines ambition as the desire to obtain power, wealth or fame. The term comes from the Latin ambitĭo and can be used in a positive or negative sense.
Ambition is considered healthy when it promotes action and project development. The person who is ambitious tries to achieve something that he currently does not have. The ambitious subject, therefore, wants to improve, grow or progress. Ambition works in these cases as an engine that invites you to abandon conformity and mediocrity.
There must be a limit, however, so that this ambition does not become harmful or dangerous. When the desire is so strong that the person is willing to violate ethical or legal norms to achieve it, ambition becomes risky since it can harm the person or third parties.
Many are the cases throughout history that come to show how ambition carried to its maximum brings with it all kinds of disasters and calamities. Thus, for example, we could highlight Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France who had such an ambition to become the owner and lord of Europe that he carried out all kinds of offensives in order to colonize other nations.
The result of his actions was that there came a time when he had more enemies than allies, thus creating a situation in which his country was heavily attacked and in which he found himself in need of abdicating. But there is even more, in the end he ended his days exiled on the island of Santa Elena, where he died.
In the same way, we cannot ignore the figure of the Greek shepherd Eróstrato either. His ambition led him to want to become one of the key personalities of the moment, a recognized and famous man throughout the world. The way he did it was by carrying out the fire, in 356 BC, of the well-known Temple of Artemis, which was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
That desire for notoriety and to do something that supposed that the whole planet knew him, meant that said pastor was tortured until he confessed his action. As a result of this, there is today the term erostratism, which is used to refer to those people who have the habit of committing vandalism to achieve fame.
For example: “I always had the ambition to play soccer professionally and luckily I was able to fulfill my dream when I was hired by the team from my town for an inter-provincial tour”, “To fill stadiums with my rock band is my greatest ambition”, “that night there was a lot of money on roulette and could have retired happy; however, the ambition was stronger and continued until marché betting with nothing in their pockets”.
The healthiest state for a person is usually considered to be one where ambition acts as a trigger for actions, but within the limits of consistency and respect.