A recent study by University of Notre Dame professor Timothy Judge, On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition, found that ambitious people aren’t necessarily happier than the rest — and they’re more likely to die early.
According to a press release about the study, which is set to run in the Journal of Applied Psychology:
“If ambition has its positive effects, and in terms of career success it certainly seems that it does, our study also suggests that it carries with it some cost,” Judge says. “Despite their many accomplishments, ambitious people are only slightly happier than their less-ambitious counterparts, and they actually live somewhat shorter lives.”
Very ambitious people were more likely to die young than their peers (the top 10% most ambitious had a death rate of 45% 60 years into the study, while that number was 33% among the other participants). The kicker, however, was that those participants who had achieved their life goals had a death rate of 32%, compared to 47% among those who hadn’t.