Faculty Member Comments on Ambition and Well-Being

From: The Atlantic (Washington, D.C.)

A feature by Emily Esfahani Smith cites work by Knox College faculty member Tim Kasser, in an examination of “the conflict between career ambition and relationships [that] lies at the heart of many of our current cultural debates.” The article states: “In psychology, there is surprisingly little research on ambition, let alone the effect it has on human happiness… But a new study… found that the children who were the most conscientious (organized, disciplined, and goal-seeking), extroverted, and from a strong socioeconomic background were also the most ambitious… made more money in the long run and secured more high-status jobs…”

[The study also found that] “ambition is only weakly connected with well-being and negatively associated with longevity. Existing research by psychologist Tim Kasser can help address this issue. Kasser, the author of The High Price of Materialism, has shown that the pursuit of materialistic values like money, possessions, and social status — the fruits of career successes — leads to lower well-being and more distress in individuals… Read more…