Ambition And Selfishness
About the paradox of personal ambition.
Homo sapiens is naturally selfish. This selfishness begins and ends with our survival instinct. And personal ambition is one of the ways we express our selfishness.
In professional life, the most beautiful ambition is not about what we are – the title on our business card – but about what we do – the results on our business scorecard. We all know that we can – with some political maneuvering – climb the ladder of success without ever accomplishing really great things.
However, the ambition to do has two significant advantages over the ambition to be:
- it leads to individual progress which, incidentally, is the ultimate challenge for all of us. Indeed, it is far more difficult to compete against our own potential because it pushes our limits further than competing with someone else;
- it does not foster internal competition. Whereas internal competition often destructs value, ambition to do results in everyone giving their best for a common goal.
Paradoxically, the most self-centered ambition is the least selfish in the results it produces.