Ambition: The Rhinoceros of the Soul

Ambition is my Achilles heel—a character weakness in my animal-like nature that drives me off course.

Ambition is the fly in the ointment of my spirituality—an ever-present annoyance that buzzes around my brain, convincing me to go off course in chase of another vain pursuit.

Ambition drives me to obsess the future, take big steps instead of small ones (I can manage), and spin out in bouts of panic about my purpose.

Yet, ambition is also my soul’s fuel to move me from complacency to commitment.

When directed into positive pursuits, this force can propel me past my most formidable fears and further down my purposeful path.

The problem lies in whether or not I can discern what pursuits have eternal benefit and which are merely expressions of my desire to feel important.

I don’t know about you, but I often fail in this discernment stage. I convince myself I am supposed to do something only to discover that it was my good idea all along. It ends up sucking the very life out of me, leaving me discontented and discouraged.

This is the point when surrender kicks in. I must return to that altar of surrender and muscle my ambition on top of the rough stones. In my mind, I take a knife and plunge it into the toughened hide of my desire until the knife sinks into the flesh of my obsession.

If you’ve ever witnessed the slaughter of an animal, then you know how ugly this death to self can be. I have vivid memories, as a kid, of the butcher slaughtering our pig on our property. It wasn’t pretty. The body jerked and convulsed, kicked and screamed.

So it is when we finally surrender something we’ve loved yet isn’t right for us.

Yes, ambition is a rhinoceros of the soul—powerful, willful, and resistant to death. However—when needed—ambition helps us to power through obstacles in pursuit of our dreams.

Photo Credit: Josiah Filler, “Safari in the Kruger, Mpumalanga, South Africa”

Check out these other posts about ambition:

Ambition: Slaying the Swine of Willfulness

The Ebb and Flow of Artistic Ambition

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