Notre Dame provost advises how to temper ambition


    By Suzette Grebe

    Nathan O. Hatch, provost of the University Notre Dame, spoke on ambition and the soul at the BYU Forum in the Marriott Center on Tuesday.

    Learning in faith is a high calling, Hatch said, and he commended BYU for the type of learning community it has created.

    While the future is clear for some students at this university, it is uncertain for others, he said. Inner wrestlings are intensified at this time in a person”s life, he said.

    Students should remember that success is to serve, not to be served, Hatch said.

    In the past, ambition has been seen as a sin, he said.

    In the modern world, people have begun to idealize opportunity and self-made figures.

    He said it is easy to be caught between conflicting tensions, and gave five ways to cope.

    First, he said hopes and dreams come from the core of a person”s being, so it is impossible to stifle ambitions.

    “The drive to accomplish is a good gift of God,” Hatch said.

    Second, the ambitious path is a dangerous one and will contain perils along the way.

    The path is dangerous because success rarely quenches the thirst of ambition and the drive to succeed leads to a want of belonging, he said.

    Ruthless advice is a third way to cope with conflicting tensions.

    Sometimes the American dream allows a person”s reach to exceed his or her grasp, Hatch said.

    A demanding profession can make it difficult to balance between family, religion and community, he said.

    Fourth, people must realize that ambition springs up in the most unlikely places, even in religious contexts.

    “We must make sure our dreams for the organization are directed to the common good,” Hatch said.

    The last way Hatch gave to cope with conflicting tensions between ambition and religious factors is that a person”s identity has nothing to do with how successful he becomes.

    When people get to the top, they tend to look down at others, Hatch said.

    People need to remember that Christ came to the world to save those who were troubled.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces everyone, Hatch said.

    People should measure their worth by the fact that God calls them His sons and daughters, he said.

    “Any of our own achievements will pale before those Christ-like treasures,” Hatch said.

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