What Is The Difference Between Blind Ambition And Ambition?

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated April 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

In general, ambition refers to a drive toward success that typically involves focused will and energy. Meanwhile, blind ambition can be characterized as desire without clarity, preparation, or direction. While ambition can often help you achieve your goals in a healthy way, blind ambition can lead to various issues, such as confusion, irrational behavior, and poor choices that may affect yourself or others negatively. It can be possible for blind ambition to lead to unnecessary and potentially unhealthy stress levels as well. Maintaining a healthy level of ambition can involve journaling, meditating, using tools like goal-setting apps, and working with a licensed therapist online or in person.

Achieve a balanced sense of ambition

What is ambition?

Ambition can drive you toward success. It is generally viewed as the desire to achieve a goal that requires work, focus, and determination. Without ambition, there may be no aspiration to achieve, so your dreams may never lift off the ground. On the road to success, ambition can help you through the rough patches and keep you focused on the goal ahead.

If you strive to achieve power, fame, wealth, or honor, people may be likely to consider you ambitious. It often takes a bit more than desire or necessity to take on an ambitious goal, and for many people, the word "ambition" can have a broader meaning. Ambition can also be about energy and focused will. When someone is ambitious, they tend to do what it takes to achieve.

What is blind ambition?

If ambition generally consists of desire, drive, and focus, then blind ambition can involve blind desire, drive, and focus. But what does that mean? 

As individuals strive to succeed, there may be many times when their desire to achieve can override their sense of right and wrong. For example, someone with blind ambition may turn a blind eye to deceit, or they might stop taking care of themselves to reach a goal. That may be why those who work toward a goal with blind ambition can sometimes be their own worst enemy.

When you're working toward achieving your goals, life can be full of choices that may bring you closer to or farther from your goals. To succeed and achieve your dreams on your terms, it can be important to keep your eyes open and your head clear. 

Blind ambition can be defined as desire without direction, clarity, and preparation. It can create confusion, support bad choices, and make the process of achieving an exercise in irrational behavior.

The difference between ambition and blind ambition

The difference between ambition and blind ambition can be how you get from point A to B. Everyone generally has life goals and dreams they want to fulfill, and how you fulfill those desires is often as important as reaching the goals themselves. 

Ambition may be at the heart of every life journey, and there can be a lot to learn as you work toward your goals. Blind ambition, on the other hand, is typically nothing but a wild race toward the result, regardless of the events and experiences along the way.

Ideally, your career and your dreams should bring you happiness. If chasing your ultimate goal makes you miserable, it may be time for a change. Life is not usually about arbitrary achievements; it is more often about changing, learning, and making a difference in the world around you. 

The focus of healthy ambition should generally be on you and the lives you touch. Blind ambition can make it difficult to see those around you and understand how you affect others or the world. Since a person may be too focused on reaching their destination, they may experience inattentional blindness to the beauty of the journey along the way.

Moreover, blind ambition is not always mentally or physically healthy. The choices you make when blinded by ambition can affect more than just your financial situation or your position of power; in fact, they can make you sick because they often cause stress. 

Stress can be harmful. It may go undetected for years, potentially putting you at risk for issues like high blood pressure and heart attacks. Decisions to put your health on hold or put off a much-needed break are usually decisions made by blind ambition.

Ambition itself will generally not make you sick, but ignoring yourself and your needs can contribute to illness. That may be when ambition becomes blind ambition. Sometimes, talking to someone about your life goals and your ambition can help you make better decisions. There can be more than one way to get things done, and an outside perspective can shine a light on other options.

Blind ambition can make it difficult to see problems that need to be addressed and understand how destructive your choices can be to your life and the lives around you. However, it may never be too late to change your path to success. Even small changes can make a big difference.

Life, love, and the pursuit of achievement

Blind ambition normally has no place in a happy, well-balanced life. When you live life to the fullest, you may enjoy the road to success, and when you have healthy, happy relationships, you may make good choices for yourself and your loved ones. It can be important to get where you're going, but life may not only be about the end goal; it can also be about the pursuit.

The pursuit of achievement is not always separate from the pursuit of love and happiness. Life may not only be about obtaining our dreams and desires. It can also be about learning and gaining wisdom. When you chase your dreams and focus on nothing but the goal, you may miss out on experiences that make life worth living.

Furthermore, chasing your dreams and achieving your life goals often requires more than stamina, willpower, and inspiration -- it can also require planning. It may not always be possible to plan for every twist and turn that awaits you on the road to success, but it can be possible to plan alternate routes and scenic diversions. 

How can I maintain a healthy level of ambition?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, ambition can be a good thing, as it can be thought of as the desire to succeed. Blind ambition, on the other hand, is often defined as the desire to succeed without regard for others and ultimately without regard for yourself. How can you avoid it? You might try to find balance. It can be helpful to understand the progress you want to make and stay focused, but know that everything doesn't have to be about your goals. It can be okay to take a break or make time for yourself and your loved ones.

If you're struggling to find this balance, or if you have tough decisions to make, it can be helpful to seek advice. For example, you may know that moving to a new city will give you a leg up on the competition at work, but that move may negatively affect your family. How do you make a healthy decision? Either decision could be right for you, but you may want to consult a therapist if you're not sure. Sometimes an outside perspective makes all the difference. If you're ambitious (or trying to be), there may be several tools that can support you:

  • Keeping a journal can be a great way to organize your thoughts regarding your goals and ambitions. You can make checklists, wish lists, or write in any way that works for you. Additionally, you can review what you wrote about previous goals to draw inspiration for the future.
  • Downloading a goal-setting app can reduce stress and help you hold yourself accountable.
  • Practicing meditation can help you set the right goals. Additionally, when things get stressful, meditation can help you calm any anxiety that arises.
  • If you're concerned about blind ambition, it's okay to ask for support. Therapists and counselors generally don't only work with people who have mental disorders; they can also guide you through the twists and turns of life. If you want to make a change but are not sure where to start, online talk therapy can help.
Getty/Luis Alvarez
Achieve a balanced sense of ambition

How therapy can help ambitious people reach their goals

If you lack ambition or believe you may be experiencing blind ambition, it may be beneficial to speak with a therapist to gain clarity and get helpful advice. However, attending therapy sessions in person isn’t always possible or convenient for everyone. Another option may be to try online therapy, which can add convenience to the process and empower you to get the guidance you deserve from home.

A research study looked at the efficacy of online therapy in comparison to in-person therapy and found that there was generally no difference. Either option can be a valid choice for those who are interested in reaching out to a mental health professional.


Ambition can empower you to achieve your goals in a healthy way, but blind ambition can have negative consequences. You might look at ambition as a drive for success involving focused energy, while blind ambition may be defined by desire without direction or clarity. It can be helpful to meditate, journal, use goal-setting apps, and work with a licensed mental health professional to maintain healthy levels of ambition.
Explore your drive and ambition in therapy
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