Crossing to Safety

Stegner, Wallace

Penguin, 1987

p. 104

Ambition is a path, not a destination, and it is essentially the same path for everybody. No matter what the goal is, the path leads through Pilgrim’s Progress regions of motivation, hard work, persistence, stubbornness, and resilience under disappointment. Unconsidered, merely indulged, ambition becomes a vice: it can turn a man into a machine that knows nothing but how to run. Considered, it can be something else–a pathway to the stars, maybe. I suspect that what makes hedonists so angry when they think about overachievers is that the overachievers, without drugs or orgies, have more fun.