Ambition is Overrated, Here’s Why

  • Ambition = Ego looking for something to prove.
  • Curiosity = Consciousness seeking to expand itself.

If you want short-term accomplishments: ambition > curiosity. 
If you want to be happy, healthy, actually fulfilled by your accomplishments: curiosity > ambition.

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Rockets need fuels. Actions need motivations. An effective fuel for human action is called “ambition”. It is an advanced neurological programming that motivates humans to be faster, stronger, better. It’s “advanced” because homo sapiens have it while dogs don’t.

Ambition has indeed driven a lot of human progress. But ultimately it’s predicated upon your identification with this made-up entity called ego, which constantly seeks to validate itself.

When ambition drives you to improve and progress, it’s never for the improvement’s own sake. It’s for the sake of validating the power/ worthiness/ intelligence of the ego.

No matter how much you accomplish or improve, it’s never going to be “enough” because the Ambition script is always running and forever seeking new inputs. That’s why the world is filled with ambitious, successful, yet deeply unhappy people.

Curiosity, on the other hand, seeks to explore, understand, and improve the world for the sake of exploring, understanding, and improving. It’s a strong motivator for action that doesn’t look to self validate.

When you’re running on the Curiosity script, experience is its own reward and every minute can be filled with amazing discoveries that makes this human journey worthwhile, no matter where you end up.

Ambition asks: “what’s in the for me?”, while Curiosity asks: “what’s in it?” The former is intrinsically self-limiting and leads to local optimization. The latter opens doors to realms you didn’t know existed and drives much bigger progress over time.

The world doesn’t need more ambitious people. It needs more curious people. If you’re going to have any ambition, “become more curious” would be a good one.


© 2021. Natasha Che. All rights reserved.