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79 Quotes on Ambition



  • To reach the height of our ambition is like trying to reach the rainbow, as we advance, it recedes. – W. T. Burke


  • A man without ambition is like a beautiful worm, it can creep, but it cannot fly.- Henry Beecher


  • Blood only serves to wash ambition’s hands. – Lor Byron


  • My ambition is handicapped by my laziness. – Charles Bukowski


  • Take away ambition and vanity, and where will be your heroes and patriots? – Seneca


  • Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? – Robert Browning


  • The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of Fortune. – William Penn


  • I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other. – Unknown


  • Ambition is a good servant but a bad master. – Unknown


  • Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them. – Napoleon Bonaparte


  • Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.- Elvis Presley


  • Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


  • Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals. – Sir John Denham


  • Ambition is a lust that is never quenched, but grows more inflamed and madder by enjoyment. – Thomas Otway


  • Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. – Mark Twain


  • Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to jump at the sun. We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground. – Zora Neale


  • We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential. – Barack Obama


  • Ambition is to the mind what the cap is to the falcon; it blinds us first, and then compels us to tower, by reason of our blindness. But alas, when we are at the summit of a vain ambition, we are also at the depth of real misery. We are placed where time cannot improve, but must impair us; where chance and change cannot befriend, but may
    betray us; in short, by attaining all we wish, and gaining all we want, we have only reached a pinnacle where we have nothing to hope, but everything to fear. – Charles Caleb Colton


  • All ambition owes its attractiveness to effort and desire rather than  success. We find the object to which we attached so much value is in itself of little value whatever; it is our effort to obtain it which envalues it. – Anthony Lisle


  • So ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased, when things go backward. – Francis Bacon
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  • A slave has but one master; the ambitious man has as many masters as there are persons whose aid may contribute to the advancement of his fortune. – Bruyere


  • Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes; The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods. – Alexander Pope


  • Ambition beats genius 99% of the time. – Jay Leno


  • Ambition is an idol, on whose wings great minds are carried only to extreme, to be sublimely great, or to be nothing. – Thomas Southerne


  • Ambition is an uncomfortable companion many times. He creates a discontent with present surroundings and achievements; he is never satisfied but always pressing forward to better things in the future. Restless, energetic, purposeful, it is ambition that makes of the creature a real man. – Lyndon B. Johnson


  • Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  • Ambition has its disappointments to sour us, but never the good fortune to satisfy us. Its appetite grows keener by indulgence and all we can gratify it with at present serves but the more to inflame its insatiable desires. – Benjamin Franklin


  • Where ambition can cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of passions. – David Hume


  • It is the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats, to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths, to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good will. – Sallust


  • Ambition. An overmastering desire to be vilified by enemies while living and made ridiculous by friends when dead. – Ambrose Bierce


  • Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same position with creeping. – Jonathan Swift


  • Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy. – Edgar Bergen


  • Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. – Unknown


  • Say what we will, we may be sure that ambition is an error. Its wear and tear on the heart are never recompensed. – Edward Lytton


  • Ambition and the belly are the two worst counselors. – German Proverb


  • Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases. – Thomas


  • Without a goal, a life is nothing. Sometimes the goal becomes a man’s entire life, an all-consuming passion. But once that goal is achieved,  what then? Oh, poor man, what then? – Brian Herbert


  • Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others. – Susan Sontag


  • The greatest evil that fortune can bring to men is to endow them with feeble resources and yet to make them ambitious. – Luc De Clapiers


  • As the last proud empire mourns her fall, Ambition weeps that she hath conquered, all, lifts up her hands, that earth can never feel, and pants for other worlds to conquer still. – Martha Lavinia Hoffman
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  • Ambition is all very well, my lad, but you must cloak it. – Jonathan Stroud


  • If a person holds no ambitions in this world, he suffers unknowingly. If a person holds ambitions, he suffers knowingly, but very slowly. – Alan Lightman


  • I must get out all my ambitions and dust them. – Lucy Maud Montgomery


  • I go dreaming into the future, where I see nothing, nothing. I have no plans, no idea, no project, and, what is worse, no ambition. Something, the eternal what’s the use? — sets its bronze barrier across every avenue that I open up in the realm of hypothesis.- Gustave Flaubert


  • Ambition spells the difference between those who are content to let random circumstances determine their journey through life, and those who would like to have a say in where they end up. – Rachel Bridge


  • Men climb from one ambition to another. – Niccolo Machiavelli


  • Ambition is the fuel that holds the many opposing fragments of my life together. Ambition is a buffer zone. A war zone. All the contradictions that are within me. – Diane Glancy


  • If you’re like me, accolades make you want more accolades. Though responsible for great success and progress, ambition can also cause feelings of worthlessness, mania and anxiety. At its worst, ambition mirrors the sick cycle of addiction. – Caroline Beaton


  • Selfish ambition is idolatry and self-worship. – Dan Dumas


  • Once set fire to the train of a man’s ambition, and it will never  cease to burn until it reaches the glittering Wheel by which  he has been dazzled, or, failing that, has scorched the luckless  aspirant to a cinder. – Charles William Day


  • Where ambition can be so happy as to cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most  incurable and inflexible of all human passions. – David Hume


  • On what strange stuff ambition feeds! – Eliza Cook


  • Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. – James Madison


  • We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement. – Lucy Maud Montgomery


  • It is ordained that to the ambitious, who derive no satisfaction from the gifts of life and the beauty of the world, life shall be a cause of suffering, and they shall possess neither the profit nor the beauty of the world. – Leonardo Da Vinci


  • To appear unambitious amongst the ambitious is to invite loathing or fear. To be in the game, but not playing with intent to win, is to be the enemy. – Josephine Hart


  • Few are more unhappy than those who have great ambition, but little energy to urge it into activity. – Normal Macdonald


  • Love, a pleasant folly; ambition, a serious stupidity. – Nicolas Chamfort


  • Most people would succeed in small things, if they were not troubled with great ambitions. – Unknown


  • An ambition to excel in petty things obstructs the progress to nobler aims. – Christian Nestel Bovee


  • A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions. – Marcus



  • Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping. – Jonathan Swift
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  • Ambition is a devouring fire, who can poise it? It is a wind, who can fathom it? It is an abyss, who is able to recount the sources and issues thereof? N. Caussin


  • Of all the passions which have ever called into action the tongue, the pen, or the sword, which have overturned the throne, and shaken the altar to its base, ambition is the first and mightiest. It uses crime as a means, virtue as a mask. It respects nothing sacred. – F A Lange


  • Ambition displeases when it has been sated,  having reached the peak, it aspires to descend. – Pierre Corneille


  • Ambition is a desire of superiority and a man may become superior, either by making others less or himself greater. – Fulke Greville


  • Ambition is an uncomfortable companion many times. He creates a discontent with present surroundings and achievements; he is never satisfied but always pressing forward to better things in the future. Restless, energetic, purposeful, it is ambition that makes of the creature a real man. – Lyndon B Johnson


  • Ambition is a dead sea fruit, and the greatest peril to the soul is that one is likely to get precisely what he is seeking. – Edward Dahlberg


  • With the ambitious, the failure of one expedient is the suggestion of another; but with the irresolute, defeat usually occasions abandonment of purpose. – Norman Macdonald


  • Ambition is a germ which should produce an intense desire to make the world a better place in which to live, and should not be used for purely personal accumulations. – Walter Matthews


  • Ambition is a lust that is never quenched, but grows more inflamed and  madder by enjoyment. – Unknown


  • The topic of ambition is especially relevant in a world in which personal achievement, power and fame are prized above everything else.  But at what price? – Tom Schaefer


  • Self-oriented ambition is not a gift from the Father of lights. It is a bad legacy from the father of lies. We are better off without it. – John Koessler


  • If your ambition is very strong, and is directed toward something definite, every action of your mind, every action of your personality, and every action of your faculties will become constructive. – Christian Larson


  • Is there an unselfish ambition? A tamed ambition? A sanctified ambition? I would like to think so, though it seems doubtful. Nonetheless, thank you, ambition, for being in my life. – Diane Glancy


  • Ambition is the force that makes amazing things happen in the world. Without it we would have no progress, no inventions, no innovation, and no change for the better. Indeed one person’s ambition is the driving force behind many of the incredible achievements in our society, whether that be inventing the motor car, discovering electricity or creating incredible works of art. – Rachel Bridge


  • Ambition begets vexations. – Unknown


  • Never permit restless ambition. Whenever you feel the force of ambition, direct your mind at once in a calm, determined manner upon that which you really want to accomplish in life. Make this a daily practice, and you will steadily train all your faculties and powers not only to work for the realization of that ambition, but become more and more efficient in that direction. – Christian Larson