what is the price of your ambition?

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

have you ever wondered what the price of your ambition might be?

for some, the price paid is far too high, while for others it's a wise investment into one’s well-being.

ambition can be the thing that pushes you into doing great work and that becomes the very source of fulfillment itself, but if ambition is blind and it’s only intention is to feed the products of narcissism, power and greed, then it will become the source of much suffering in your life.

ambition burns like a fire and needs to be handled with care. a slow and controlled flame can bathe you in light and keep you comfortable and warm, but if left unchecked it can quickly rage out of control and burn everything around you to the ground.

the secret to managing its unpredictable power is found within its ambivalent and often overshadowed twin — intention. it is intention alone that is responsible for the heat of ambition's flame and for how evenly or wickedly it burns.

so what is the intention behind your ambition?

your end goal and how attached you are to it determine the price you’re willing to pay.

so what are you striving for? is it to nurture the full potential and possibility of your skills and talents so you can help others as you too have been blessed? is your intention to bring beauty into the world through inspired works of peace, truth, understanding, compassion, and gratitude? if so, then you have the necessary tools to manage ambition's heat. stay true to your honourable intent and if your efforts remain pure, then your pursuit will be met with great rewards and your flame will not only burn bright, but it will warm many others as well.

but if your intention is only to appease the insatiable thirst of your ego in search of wealth, status or fame, then you are playing with an incredible and dangerous fire.

ambition has a tendency to easily corrupt everything it touches. it quickly transforms into a negative and uncontrollable energy when our striving is placed above all else. untapped ambition is the seed of much suffering in the world and is the cause behind all gross abuses of money, position and power.

the attainment of worldly desires are never how we dream they would be and we find we’re no happier than what we were before — its rewards are superficial, meaningless and fleeting — we’re left standing alone in the ash remains of our fruitless ambition, while all the things we ignored along they way burned to the ground.

this is why the purity of our intentions is paramount to our success and happiness — otherwise our ambition sours.

it’s crucial for us to understand that our well-being isn’t found in the final realization of our goals, it's found in the striving for them — our happiness is in the journey, not in the destination.

we need to to not become too consumed by our ambition because we put so many things at risk, including our time (the only thing we truly have in life), our health, our relationships, and our peace of mind — not too mention our sense of morality, ethics and behaviour too.

what are you willing to sacrifice for the object of your desire? and more importantly, is it worth it?

when we crave worldly things to appease our ego, we set ourselves up to constantly needing more and more. the problem is that once we finally attain whatever it is that we desire, our following words are always, "so what’s next? what else can i get now?"

if it’s only things and stuff we crave, then we’ll never have enough.

but if your ambition isn’t for toys, first place ribbons or power, but it's to improve the world somehow, then you wield an awesome power — for this alone is the source of true greatness.

your intentions impact your final output — don’t let your work be blinded by senseless ambition.

many things in the world that once held great potential suffered from their creators being overly ambitious. they tried to do much and they complicated the final product in the process. perhaps they tried to appeal to too wide a group of people in their quest for more profit, and in the end they appealed to none. their greedy ambition betrayed their final work — their ambition tarnished their goal.

only when our intentions are pure will we find meaning, purpose and joy in what we pursue.

if your ambition is graced with honest integrity you will walk with contentment and joy in each step, and your mark on the world will be the stuff of timeless legend.