Can ambition be harmful?

Health & Wellbeing

I might be making a huge generalisation here, but let me guess that the majority of us here on SavvySME are ambitious. I mean why else would you start a business, if you didn't want to achieve?

I've always been an ambitious person, but since getting involved with business and entrepreneurship it may have taken a turn from a healthy motivator to something that could have darker consequences. In this article written by David, the creator of Ruby on Rails, he speaks about ambition being a poison, and it really hit home. He articulated a feeling I've been experiencing and its good to know that I'm not crazy right?

A healthy dose of ambition can drive you to achieve better and greater things, can motivate you to do more then you could have imagined and sets you up for a path of continual improvement. These are all great things, until your ambition level skyrockets to a damaging level.

When your ambitions lead you to be disappointed at achievements that would normally send a person to the pub yelling "Drinks are on me", you know that something is wrong. When a small win sends you to reevaluate why you didn't win more, or when coming first at something no longer satisfies you, I feel that it's a downward spiral.

Personally I feel that there has been a lot of small wins that could be celebrated, however I reacted less then enthusiastically because my expectations have been way too high? Sure we have over 1,000 members now, but why don't we have more? These thought patterns are so destructive to my happiness, and if you experience this, you'll know how discouraging it can be if it is kept up for a long period of time.

I'm now on a personal journey to get myself out of this mode, by spending more time with friends, out at the movies, or having dinner and having fun. I think what led me to slowly being poisoned by my ambitious is my tendency to think about it 24/7, with no time to relax. It just consumes you, and really narrows your vision so you forget that sometimes the best moments in life is just hanging out in front of the TV with your friends, or sleeping with your cat (yes self-proclaimed crazy cat lady here).

Sometimes taking a break and relaxing is the only solution of getting yourself out of the all consuming and destructive expectations. I mean who would have thought being ambitious could actually drive you crazy?

Have you ever been in this situation yourself? How did you get yourself out of it? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below :D!

Wendy Huang

Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

I am passionate about helping businesses get online with their own blog or website in just a simple 4 minutes.

Comments (2)
Eric Phuah

Eric Phuah, Director at

I think having objective friends bringing you back down to earth is really good. If you ever get above yourself or about to lose control, a friends advice is important to you and them telling you 'hey, just stop for a minute, you're doing too much' will help out. They know you well and therefore will be able to observe if something is wrong with you easily.

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Thanks Eric :)!! I agree with that!! Sometimes you just need a break from it all and see whats happening in other parts of your life :)