Ambition Can Be Bad for Your Health . . . or Good!

by Joe Lavelle on May 4, 2012

No Gravatar

According to studies, guess which one of the following people is going to live longer:

Man A works sixty hours a week, determined to reach upper management by his fortieth birthday.  He attends networking events every week and is known as being the guy who makes the coffee for the office in the morning and turns the light off at night.  Supervisors admire his ambition, while co-workers sometimes find it off-putting.

Man B shows up to his job five minutes late more often than not and has been satisfied to bring home a paycheck from the same position for the past thirty years.  He doesn’t get much joy out of his work, but never saw a career as a way to find much fulfillment anyway.

If you guessed Man B, you would be correct!

Several recent studies, including one that followed a group of children who scored high on intelligence tests for seventy years, concluded that people who are very ambitious are more likely to ignore their health and fail to foster those personal relationships that help make for a well-rounded life.  Overall, they are dying at a younger age than their less ambitious counterparts.

But, here’s an interesting second level to those studies.  If you look at the ambitious group and break it down between those who had fulfilled their life goals and those who had not, the successful folks actually have a longer life span than their more complacent counterparts.

Here’s the point.  The argument can be made that ambition alone can be bad for your health, at least as measured in terms of years.  But, if that ambition is focused and sensible and leads to the achievement of defined goals, then your life will be better for it.  So, work hard and be driven with the conviction that you WILL achieve your dreams!  It’s good for you!

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: