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The real use of ambition || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
4 min
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* Questioner: Why are we running when we don’t have anything to achieve in life?*

Acharya Prashant: Ofcourse, when you don’t have to achieve anything in life then you don’t run; but are you that person who doesn’t have to achieve anything? The one who doesn’t have to achieve anything, ofcoursem doesn’t run; but are are you that person who doesn’t have to achieve anything?

You aren’t, so you are running.

Q: But what is the use of having ambitions in life?

AP: The use of having ambitions in life is that they prevent you from looking at your current state, you see there is that quotation that, ‘I might be lying in the gutter but still I am looking at the stars’ , that’s what ambition is.

I am not doing anything about the gutter and stink that I am in, I am preoccupied looking at the stars; ambition takes you away from the present, that’s the use of ambition.

The use of ambition is: It takes you away from the present moment; it takes you into a dream future; it helps you avoid effort, if I live in the present then I have to be acutely aware of my situations right now, and I’ll have to act right now, ambition is a dream that helps me comfortably avoid the present.

Ambition is a plan about the future, something you want to happen in the future, and it is a beautiful thing, beautiful device, tool of the cunning mind is to be ambitious.

* Q: Sir, but ambition helps us to act in the present because we know that we have something to achieve in the future so we act in the present moment to get that…*

AP: Right now as you are asking this question, are you having your eyes on the future? Are you really thinking of the future as you are asking this question?


So action is happening in the present without an eye on the future.

Q: Won’t that be a random thing if it happened without thinking?

AP: As I was speaking since the last half and an hour or 45 minutes were you really listening? Were you thinking about the future? So something really was happening without thinking about the future, right?

Was that random?

* Q: That was good quite good. Sir, but things can also happen while thinking about the future…*

AP: Let’s see, she says things can happen while thinking about the future, let’s see, if things can happen, those of you who have been thinking of the future while I was speaking, were they really able to understand anything that I was saying when you were thinking about the future?

You are no more in the present if you are thinking about the future, and I am speaking to you, you cannot listen to me.

Q: Sir but ambition requires thinking…

AP: Yes, and that’s why ambition takes you away from the present; and that’s why you are no more alive because life is in the present. Ambition is in the future, ambition tells you that the real thing, that the great monumental event is going to come months or ten years down the line, and hence the present moment is not important. Ambition tells you that the present moment is just a means to an end; the end is that future when the real thing will happen. Ambition in your mind reduces the value of the present moment, and hence it reduces actually the value of life itself, because you are alive right now.

An ambitious man cannot live, more cruel is the fact that the ambitious man cannot love; because love is always in the present, ambition is always in the future, think of an ambitious man who is going on a date, he is embracing his sweet heart ambitiously; what will happen over the next one hour?

Very dangerous kind of a man he is!

Still more ambitious, he has already made a plan for the next five years!

Life is right now. All movement is right now. Love is right now. Freedom is right now.

And ambition is there, somewhere in the imaginary future, which is not real at all.

~ Acharya Prashant speaking at a Samvaad Session at ITM University on 6th May, 2013

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