Aspiration vs Ambition :: Contentment vs Chaos

To my mind, aspiration and ambition lie on a continuum: the one is an intense desire, and the other a fierce passion. To aim to be the fastest, the strongest, the best, is not a bad thing. But it is more plausible to be faster, stronger, better, because, by its very definition, the superlative is without equal and hence excludes most.

Aspirations are easily achieved. For instance, you can aspire to do a good deed every day and have the satisfaction of seeing it done; contrast this with an ambition to do good to the world or leave the world a better place than when you were born into it: that is going to take a lot more time to be realised.

Ambition is a good, though not a necessary thing to have. But imbuing our every-days with fulfilled aspirations gives a sense of gratification, which contrasts sharply with an unfulfilled ambition at the end of a long struggle.

Learning to fill our days with small successes and the joy and satisfaction they bring, and teaching our young to do the same, can be a palliative to the  emotional anarchy of our troubled times.

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