To set high and worthy goals.

a.k.a. drive, aspiration

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • The vice of the same name is probably the virtue carried to extremes that cause it to overrule other virtues (e.g. if you’re so ambitious you’re willing to lie to get ahead), or applied toward unwise ends (e.g. mere social climbing). See e.g. Lady MacBeth. Seneca also warns that ambition can be addictive (“It is a kind of dropsy; the more a man drinks, the more he covets.”)
  • lack of ambition
  • low-mindedness
  • pettiness

Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere

Inspirational quotes

  • “Are you in earnest resolved never to barter your liberty for the lordly servitude of a court, but to live free, fearless, and independent? There seems to be one way to continue in that virtuous resolution; and perhaps but one. Never enter the place from whence so few have been able to return; never come within the circle of ambition; nor ever bring yourself into comparison with those masters of the earth who have already engrossed the attention of half mankind before you.” ―Adam Smith