AMBITION QUOTES

quotations about ambition

Ambition quote

A man's worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.

MARCUS AURELIUS, Meditations

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

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

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Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?

ROBERT BROWNING, "Andrea del Sarto"

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My ambition is handicapped by my laziness.

CHARLES BUKOWSKI, Factotum

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

SENECA, attributed, Day's Collacon

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Blood only serves to wash ambition's hands.

LORD BYRON, Don Juan

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

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

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

ZORA NEALE HURSTON, Dust Tracks on a Road

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

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Macbeth

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To reach the height of our ambition is like trying to reach the rainbow; as we advance, it recedes.

W. T. BURKE, attributed, Day's Collacon

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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, attributed, Day's Collacon

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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, "Of Ambition", Essays

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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, Lacon

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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, The Westminster Review, Jan. 1914

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Tags: desire, success


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

ALEXANDER POPE, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady

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Ambition, madam, is a great man's madness.

JOHN WEBSTER, The Duchess of Malfi

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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, MARQUIS DE VAUVENARGUES, Reflections and Maxims

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Lo, 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, "Ambition's Climax"

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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 & KEVIN J. ANDERSON, Dune: House Atreides

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Tags: Brian Herbert, passion


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, Daily Southtown, Feb. 19, 2005

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