An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown




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


Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914, American author, editor, journalist, "The Devil's Dictionary")


A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive.


Pearl Bailey (1918-1990, American vocalist, movie and stage actress)


Very few people are ambitious in the sense of having a specific image of what they want to achieve.  Most people's sights are only toward the next run, the next increment of money.


Judith M. Bardwick (1933-, American academic)


Ambition -- it is the last infirmity of noble minds.


James M. Barrie (1860-1937, British playwright)


All ambitions are lawful except those that climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


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 principals which direct them.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


Ambition is not what man does... but what he would do.


Robert Browning (1812-1889, British poet)


What I aspired to be and was not, comforts me.


Robert Browning (1812-1889, British poet)


Ambition can creep as well as soar.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Like dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor, and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top.


Robert Burton (1576-1640, British clergyman, scholar)


As falls the dew on quenchless sands, blood only serves to wash ambition's hands.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Big results require big ambitions.


James Champy (American author and international management consultant)


The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.


Herbert N. Casson (American author)


The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


When you are aspiring to the highest place, it is honorable to reach the second or even the third rank.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Ambition makes the same mistake concerning power that avarice makes concerning wealth. She begins by accumulating power as a means to happiness, and she finishes by continuing to accumulate it as an end.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.


Joseph Conrad (1857-1924, Polish-born British novelist)


I had ambition not only to go farther than any man had ever been before, but as far as it was possible for a man to go.


James R. Cook (1728-1779, British navigator)


The passion of self-aggrandizement is persistent but plastic; it will never disappear from a vigorous mind, but may become morally higher by attaching itself to a larger conception of what constitutes the self.


Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929, American sociologist)


I want to work with the top people, because only they have the courage and the confidence and the risk-seeking profile that you need.


Laurel Cutler (American business executive)


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 (1900-1977, American author, critic)


At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.


Salvador Dali (1904-1989, Spanish painter)


Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.


C. Archie Danielson


Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.


Sir John Denham (1615-1668, British poet, dramatist)


There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.


Henry Van Dyke (1852--1933, American protestant clergyman and writer)


It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss. As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.


Thomas Dunn English (1819-1902, American physician, lawyer)


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 (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


The ambitious are forever followed by adulation for they receive the most pleasure from flattery.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


I've got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.


Angus Grossart (American business executive)


He that fails in his endeavors after wealth or power will not long retain either honesty or courage.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


I shall strike the stars with my unlifted head.


Horace (BC 65-8, Italian poet)


Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals: we storm heaven itself in our folly.


Horace (BC 65-8, Italian poet)


When you go in search of honey you must expect to be stung by bees.


Kenneth Kaunda (1924-, Zambian politician, president)


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 (1711-1776, Scottish philosopher, historian)


To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


We grow small trying to be great.


Eli Stanley Jones (1884-1973, American missionary)


As soon as we attract enough attention in the world to play a part in it, we are set rolling like a ball which will never again be at rest.


Charles Joseph


Ambition is pitiless. Any merit that it cannot use it finds despicable.


Joseph Joubert (1754-1824, French moralist)


Ambition never comes to an end.


Yoshida Kenko


A slave has but one master. An ambition man, has as many as there are people who helped him get his fortune.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


The slave has but one master, the ambitious man has as many as there are persons whose aid may contribute to the advancement of his fortunes.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


Greatly begin. Though thou have time, but for a line, be that sublime . Not failure, but low aim is crime.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


Nature that framed us of four elements, warring within our breasts for regiment, doth teach us all to have aspiring minds.


Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593, British dramatist, poet)


He who tip-toes cannot stand; he who strides cannot walk.


Lao-Tzu (BC 600-?, Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism)


Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.


Timothy Leary (1921-1996, American actor)


Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.


William Lilly


Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


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


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.


Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913, British statesman, banker, naturalist)


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


Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527, Italian author, statesman)


It is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman.


Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527, Italian author, statesman)


If you have a great ambition, take as big a step as possible in the direction of fulfilling it. The step may only be a tiny one, but trust that it may be the largest one possible for now.


Mildred McAfee


Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.


Charlie McCarthy


If men cease to believe that they will one day become gods then they will surely become worms.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Ambition is not a vice of little people.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted, save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.


George Jean Nathan (1882-1958, American critic)


Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Though ambition in itself is a vice, it often is also the parent of virtue.


Edgar Quinet (1803-1875, French poet, historian, politician)


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


Thomas Otway (1652-1685, British dramatist)


The tallest trees are most in the power of the winds, and ambitious men of the blasts of fortune.


William Penn (1644-1718, British religious leader, founder of Pennsylvania)


Men would be angels, angels would be gods.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


A man with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


When ambition ends, happiness begins.


Hungarian Proverb (Sayings of Hungarian origin)


Hasty climbers have sudden falls.


Italian Proverb (Sayings of Italian origin)


I had no ambition to make a fortune. Mere money-making has never been my goal, I had an ambition to build.


John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937, American industrialist, philanthropist, founder Exxon)


The person who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won't succeed; you must have a larger ambition. There is no mystery in business success. If you do each day's task successfully, and stay faithfully within these natural operations of commercial laws which I talk so much about, and keep your head clear, you will come out all right.


John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937, American industrialist, philanthropist, founder Exxon)


Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.


Kenny Rogers (1938-, American country singer, actor)


Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast, another ready on the tongue.


Sallust (BC 86-34, Roman historian)


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 (BC 86-34, Roman historian)


Ambition breaks the ties of blood, and forgets the obligations of gratitude.


Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832, British novelist, poet)


It is the constant fault and inseparable evil quality of ambition, that it never looks behind it.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


As he was valiant, I honor him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


To be ambitious of true honor, of the true glory and perfection of our natures, is the very principle and incentive of virtue.


Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586, British author, courtier)


Every child has great ambitions. As he grows, he is bombarded by negative suggestions -- you can't do this; you can't do that; be careful; look for security, and so on. Year by year, he experiences the "realities" of life, and his ambitions fade away. Figuratively speaking, most children die by the time they reach their adulthood.


Shall Sinha


Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


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


Robert Southey (1774-1843, British author)


There are glimpses of heaven to us in every act, or thought, or word, that raises us above ourselves.


Arthur P. Stanley


Ambition often puts Men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same position with creeping.


Jonathan Swift (1667-1745, Anglo-Irish satirist)


If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.


Publilius Syrus (85 BC- 43BC, Roman writer)


Where there are large powers with little ambition... nature may be said to have fallen short of her purposes.


Sir Henry Taylor (1800-1886, British author)


So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be.


Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892, British poet)


Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.


A. W. Tozer (1897-1963, American preacher)

Source: The Root Of The Righteous


Keep away from small 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 (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


If you are not going to think big, don't bother thinking at all.


Thomas J. Vilord


I too must attempt a way by which I can raise myself above the ground, and soar triumphant through the lips of men.


Virgil (c. 70 - 19 BC, Roman poet)


Oh that I were seated as high as my ambition, I'd place my naked foot on the necks of monarchs.


Horace Walpole (1717-1797, British author)


Ambition is the last refuge of failure.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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