“The fastest road towards living an inauthentic, sad, and frustrating life is to be overambitious”.

(Aniobi John)

The need for us to cultivate and tame our ambition is of paramount importance, this is because society today is filled with violence which comes from the must-get tendency. There is violence due to over-ambitiousness in different sectors of life. There are Religious, political, social, and self ambitiousness. The violence in these various areas is occasioned by the pejorative and misunderstanding of this powerful word Ambition.

Therefore, this article will explain the need to cultivate and tame our ambitions for us to have most importantly; relative peace of mind, provide a violent free society that will foster peace and harmony in our immediate society and in the world.

Over-ambition, according to Wiktionary simply means “the quality of being overambitious” it is having an ardent desire for success or achievement. The desire, in this case, is so strong that it has the tendency to cause violence. We violently pursue our goals and ambition to the detriment of other people’s well-being.



In our present society, we witness those who live complicated and inauthentic lifestyles because of over ambitiousness. They pursue their goals without conscience ready for all sorts of evil just to satisfy their selfishness, greedy minds, and grandiose facade. Over ambitiousness has become the plight of society because people fall victim to such inordinate desires either directly or indirectly.  Over-ambition becomes evil and negation to one of the driving forces of man which is ambition.

Let me explain succinctly what overambition is and how we are driven by it even when we are not aware of the resultant effect of what we are madly pursuing by narrating a French fairy Tale: “Le pain d’Or.”

There is this French fairy Tale which captivated my interest entitled: “Le Pain d’Or” “The Golden Bread” The story was about a girl who was overambitious. She was living with her widowed mother and would refuse to attend to house chores simply because she felt she was too pretty and did not want to dirty her artificial nails or sustain any injuries that would create a dent on her beauty. She believed that she could win the heart of a prince or marry an extremely rich and influential man with her beauty so she would start eating golden bread.

She got married to a rich man and the day she left for her husband’s house, she did not say goodbye to her mother. On reaching her husband’s magnificent golden mansion, she was served “le pain d’or” but she could not eat it because it was too hard and golden. She requested ordinary bread, but she was told that ordinary bread was not eaten in the golden mansion. She cried, wept, and begged to be taken back home; that she could no longer live in the golden mansion eating golden bread. When she arrived at her mother’s home, her overambitious nature suddenly disappeared and she bathed herself in humility and worked with her mother.

This fairy tale makes obvious how people can be over-ambitious even in what they are not sure of the outcome. The persona was just pinned down by the idea of beauty, marrying a rich husband so she could eat golden bread, and living in a golden mansion to have everything around her in gold.


Therefore, we must be careful of what we want to die for and what we wish to pursue as a career. We can have ambitions for many things but we must not be over-ambitious because it brings pain and frustration.

We should understand that ambition and over-ambition are divided by a thin line and if not taken care of, we deviate from the pursuit of the positive (ambition) to the negative (over-ambition). Ambition is a powerful yearning to accomplishing success, power, fame, riches or achieving a specific goal.

When the ambition is fueled by our desire to succeed, we become virtually unstoppable and there will be an unquenchable drive to attaining greatness, which causes passionate positive action that would lead to achieving whatever we are aiming for.  Ralph Walde wrote, “Without ambition one starts nothing, without work one finishes nothing, the prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”  And Marcus Aurelius wrote: “A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.”  Whatever we think is our ambition, we should be conscious of the fact that our lives and reputation are at stake, and that we should pursue our goals and ambition positively and healthily.

The ambition that is not tamed leads to over-ambition, which can lead to violence and conflict. John F. Knott states that “Violence begets violence.” The above statement means that violent behaviour attracts confusion and conflict as a result. Our society is filled with violence and other associated activities due to over-ambitiousness, and these have stationed and set our society in a catastrophic and devastating state.

The world is suffering today because people are over-ambitious, and thus persist in achieving their selfish goals no matter what it will cost them. Due to the fact that everybody wants to achieve greatness, a good number of people purposely go into unhealthy competitions even when they are not working hard to achieve the greatness they desire. And because of the fact that they are not putting in their best, they decide to attain greatness in an ungodly manner creating chaos and afflictions in the society.

The problem with over-ambitiousness is that it breeds ruthlessness. People think that anything they can imagine, think, or believe in must be universally accepted, and should be pursued as a goal. They go to any length to achieve their selfish desires even if it means committing all sorts of atrocities and as long as something (negative/positive) can be done to accomplish that. They pursue such goals and try to force others to accept their opinions or ideologies in over-ambitious ways that would lead to crisis. We should learn how to tame our ambitions in other to gain a harmonious and violence-free society.

Religion which is meant to provide humanity with tranquility has instead offered humanity hatred and war due to the non-taming of our religious ambition.

Religious over-ambitiousness is one of the greatest scandals surrounding the imagination of many. The notion of promoting any religion to the detriment of others is unthinkable and unimaginable. To have religious crises is scandalous. Every religion in the world claimed to preach peace and reconciliation, but do the ministers of these religious bodies really promote peace and harmony? Are they religious fanatics and over-ambitious? Why have we lost the anthropological essence of religion? We should be aware that religion is a huge and complex human phenomenon, and arrive at the very essence of it. Religion is complicated because people are scholarly and dogmatic bias which sometimes is based on the socio-cultural, fanatical, and over-ambitious background of that individual. The summary of all we practice in religion should be Love. Love of God and love for humanity.

We should try as much as possible to avoid being over-ambitious, knowing that it is the fastest road towards living an inauthentic, sad, and frustrated life. Finally, we should consider the welfare of others and should be conscious of our own spiritual and mental health. We should know that once we put in our best, with a good conscience and sincerity of our hearts without pretense, we leave the rest to God, for He rewards good work.

May God who instructed man to increase and multiply and fill the earth, help us as we pursue our daily task and not to perform it more than God wishes. We should rather work for the betterment of people around us, for the good of the world and the good of our souls. Amen!

Part 2 coming very soon.

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  1. Overambitiousnes which is caused mainly by selfishness has created many problems in our world today. We need to be aware of that and examine ourselves to see if we are guilty of overambitiousnes and make amends

  2. This is coming at the right time. The world is at the verge of collapse, if it has not collapsed already, and the right sensitization (especially to us the youth) will alleviate violent causing ambition. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is beautiful and encouraging to the public.

    At a time like this when nothing is working in this wicked country.
    Padre recently the feeling that I am not a Nigerian was renewed by what I have witnessed recently.

    Thank God for God!
    If not Him I would have perished. Thanks

  4. Apt and succinctly captured. People often think being overambitious is a good thing. They don’t put in the work but they expect speedy and huge result. Thank you for this piece Fr.

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