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What Is Ambition?

Uncover Your True Ambition

Have you ever felt a strong desire to build or create a new concept, product, process, or business (and actually taken steps towards doing it?) This is an example of ambition in action. 

Ambition is an intrinsic drive that causes us to want to achieve higher levels of success than we have previously. In this article, we discuss ambition and provide you with a few key ways to develop your own ambition. 

How to Recognize Ambition 

People who are considered ambitious appear to have an inherent drive to achieve their goals, regardless of the cost. Ambitious people are the goal-setters and go-getters in life that create their own goals and work tirelessly to achieve them. 

We can sum ambition up in a nutshell by stating that ambitious people excel at combining goal setting with decisive action. The result of this powerful combination of goals and action is often academic, business, or relationship success. 

How to Be More Ambitious in Six Easy Steps

Many people have the “desire” to achieve their goals and aspirations. However, goals and desire without action will not get you very far. Following are a few easy ways to cultivate ambition in yourself and achieve more of your goals. 

1. Get Your Goals on Paper 

You probably have a few goals swimming in your head. They may pop up in your thoughts from time to time, just like fish popping out of the water. Then, they retreat into the depths of your subconscious. 

Get your goals out of your mind and onto paper. Write them down and then categorize them from the biggest to the smallest goals. 

Taking baby steps is always a good move. Start with a smaller goal and write a plan on how you can make it there. The plan doesn’t have to be perfect; perfectionism stymies ambition. You can adjust the plan as you see fit later on.

2. Learn to Embrace Failure 

Many people fear ambition because they fear failure. Despite all the stories you read about the famous folk who had to try multiple times before they achieved their goal, you still don’t like failure. Failure is always a teachable moment.

Even if you didn’t get the result you desire, you got “a” result. Learn from it. Ask yourself the important questions like what went wrong? What can you do better next time? Asking these important questions and making the necessary adjustments will lend to a greater likelihood of success the next time.

Yes. There will be a next time. Ambitious people have failed, many more times than they have succeeded. They see failure as a part of the process and look at failures as a component of the trial-and-error process that it takes to succeed. 

For example, let’s start with a simpler ambition; getting in shape. Many people think they’ve failed after having a night out in the buffet or missing a workout day. But they should look at it as a little trip on an otherwise winnable race. 

Figure out why you missed that workout day, learn to understand what motivates and drives you. Did you have a long day at work? Is it possible to work out before work? If you went to a buffet, is there any way to eat healthy there? 

3. Make Time  

Not having a lot of time doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t achieve your goals. Ambitious people make time. You may have a job, kids to take care of, chores to do around the house, and so on and so forth. 

The last thing you probably want to do is to sacrifice sleep or not unwind at all. You need some time to unwind and sleep. However, there are ways to work on your ambitions, even when you think you don’t have time. 

Let’s look at a few ways to prioritize your schedule and make time for achieving your goals. 

  • Look at your schedule and really scrutinize it. Some people think they don’t have the time, but when they look at their schedule, they may notice spots where they can work on their goals and still have a normal day.
  • It doesn’t have to be a long period. A few minutes a day can make a difference. You can work on your ambitions even with only a few minutes to spare. You can do a few crunches in your house. You can write a few pages in your novel. It doesn’t have to be huge steps, but baby steps. ( “If you write one page a day, in 365 days… you’ll have a book.) 
  • Devote some time on your off days for your ambitions. Carve out 10 to 15 minutes a day and dedicate that time to your goals. 
  • Consider cutting out an activity to work on your ambitions. You watch two episodes of a show every night to unwind? Why not watch one? That extra 30 minutes or hour can make the difference. 

4. Take Small Breaks

Some people stop pursuing their goals because of burnout or depression. However, it’s OK to take a break and let your mind recover. The key to taking breaks is to assign yourself a time limit and to stick with the timeframe you designated. 

Go back to working on your goals on time when it’s time to get back to work. Taking extended breaks beyond your designated time frame can lead to a slippery slope and eventually forgetting about the pursuit of your goals.

5. Incorporate Self-Care 

Sometimes, you may need to work on yourself before you work on your ambitions. You may have low self-esteem, low confidence, and low energy. You may fear taking risks. Being able to work on these aspects of your life can help you achieve the right level of ambition. Self-care is an important part of becoming more ambitious. 

When you feel better, you can put your best foot forward. Having a well-rested mind and body can help increase your confidence and the likelihood of achieving success. Getting a little exercise and mastering a power nap can give you energy and help improve confidence in the day-to-day tasks that are required on your road to ambitious success. 

Practicing mindfulness, meditation, and removing toxic people from your circle are also good steps to take in removing obstacles to your success. Engaging in mindful thinking and removing toxic people from your life can help restore the clarity and energy that you need to make it to the finish line. 

6. Talk to a Counselor 

If you’re still having trouble being more ambitious after applying some strategies listed here, it’s time to get professional help. Talk to a licensed counselor or a therapist in person or online to get professional insight on what may curb your ambition. 

Licensed professional counselors and social workers are skilled at helping people become unstuck in the pursuit of their career and personal passions. Chances are, you’re not approaching your ambitions in a way that benefits you. A counselor can help you develop and write a plan that will put you on track to help you make better decisions in the pursuit of your ambitions.

Lead photo courtesy of Unsplash

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