Being ambitious -Is it good or bad? It depends, of course. It depends on what is ambitioned.

The word ambition comes from the Latin verb ambire, which means to go for either side, to loiter, to go around. As does the predator before attacking their prey, wandering up and about before pouncing at the jugular.

More than ambition, vocation is needed. A vocation is a call (Latin vocare), which expresses an inner power to bring out the best of ourselves. Both words are very strong. But one means pushing “from below”, while the other pulls “from above”. Ambition is born of self and ends with the self, while vocation comes in I and ends in Us.

“My vocation is to serve”, says one that wants to give and/or give to others because that brings meaning to their lives. “My ambition is to become wealthy”, says the other, who thinks in terms of me-my & with me. If we reverse the terms, the contradiction appears cynical: “My vocation is wealth” or the paradoxical provocation “My ambition is to serve.”

Ambition is anchored to the material, vocation in the soul. Ambition follows the material for their own achievement or pleasure; vocation is for serving, being useful, adding value, leaving a legacy.

Can they come together? Yes, of course. But vocation is the best guidance. This is how we can create better realities. I would ask, for example, the late Vicente Ferrer, rest in peace. His vocation led to prosperity for the outcasts. Thanks to his vocation, those who had nothing, not even any hope, now have dignity, a roof under which to sleep, a better future, they have hope. That would be the case of a healthy ambition centered on dedication to service. Bless it.

Who leaves a mark on the world? Both. But vocation leaves traces of generous, cultural and friendly prosperity. And furious ambition destroys landscapes, and human lives. Pure vocation may create art and volunteerism. Sheer ambition may create wars and misery.

Who wins the game? Please, let heartfelt vocation win or, at least, that healthy vocation help directing the ambitions of those who crave yet do not know.

Kisses and hugs,



Alex Rovira