Our world is filled with ambitious people. Ambition to be the best at whatever we feel is our calling is in this life. People are even ambitious about their hobbies and sports they participate in. Pete Wilson (Pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville) uses the following CS Lewis quote on ambition in his blog post today:
Ambition! We must be careful what we mean by it. If it means the desire to get ahead of other people…then it is bad. If it means simply wanting to do a thing well, then it is good. It isn’t wrong for an actor to want to act his part as well as it can possibly be acted, but the wish to have his name in bigger type than the other actors is a bad one…What we call “ambition” usually means the wish to be more conspicuous or more successful than someone else. It is this competitive element in it that is bad. It is perfectly reasonable to want to dance well or to look nice. But when the dominant wish is to dance better or look nicer than others – when you begin to feel that if the others danced as well as you or looked as nice as you, that it would take all the fun out of it – then you are going wrong.
It is interesting how our entire culture is obsessed with being the best. Being good at something is not enough. We need to be #1. Second is the first loser and that is not acceptable to most people. Our kids are pressured to get good grades from Kindergarten. What is actually accomplished by putting pressure on your kids to get good grades in Kindergarten? When they apply to go to college, no one looks at their Kindergarten grades.
CS Lewis lived in the early 1900s but his quote is as real today as it was when he wrote it. Human beings have always been interested in competing. The Olympics are one example of a long-standing competitive event.
Do you feel the need to be the best or just the best you can be?
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