Having Ambition

All of us have some level of ambition. It’s simply the desire to do or achieve something. Unfortunately, having this sense of ambition is only half of the story. You need to put in the effort to make those things happen.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels without really getting very far.

High Aspirations is One Thing, But You Gotta Make it Happen

Most of us have aspirations for great things. In fact, most New Year’s Resolutions are full of hopeful aspirations. Yet, not everyone puts in the work to make those things happen.

Unfortunately, there is a high degree of probability that life isn’t just going to drop awesome stuff in your lap.

Also, there is a difference between having high aspirations and delusions of grandeur. In most cases, it all comes down to realistic capability.

Are you truly capable of honestly meeting the goals you set for yourself?

Now, I’m not saying this as a way to discourage you from reaching your dreams. But you do need to be perfectly honest with yourself if you want to achieve them.

Is Having Ambition Good or Bad?

Ambition is simply a strong desire to accomplish something. In this sense, it’s neither good nor bad. It’s the “something” and the actions taken that can be perceived as positive or negative.

For example, having the ambition to make a million dollars this year isn’t bad. But taking the steps to rob a bank to make that dream happen would be.

For many of us, ambition is the foundation to achieve positive results. So, instead of robbing a bank, we’ll change careers, invest money, or do other things that would get us closer to that goal.

Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t put in the effort to make those things happen.

My Examples of Having Ambition

Ambition shouldn’t be confused with goals. For one thing, ambition is the strong desire to accomplish something. A goal is just an arbitrary objective we might like to achieve.

The principle difference is “desire.”

We can set up all the goals we want. But without the desire to really see them to fruition, it becomes nothing more than an unaccomplished dream.

Here are some of the examples I had in the past in regards to having ambition.

Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer Using Content Mills

When started my career as a writer, I made the intended decision to become the very best I could. I had the ambition of turning it into a career so I could make more money, support my family, and quit my job.

After a little over a year, I was able to accomplish this by pushing myself to learn everything I could about AP Style and SEO writing.

Publishing My First Book

In 2021, I made the decision to publish my first book. It’s always been a life-long dream to see my name on the spine of something on my bookshelf.

So, I put in the effort to make it happen, which required a great deal of commitment from me to see it through.

Writing 90 Blog Post in 30 Days

In hindsight, trying to write 90 blog posts in 30 days for three different websites was quite an ambitious undertaking. Especially while trying to maintain everything else I was doing at the time.

Still, it came down to the decision to make it happen, and I pushed hard to write all of that content. And yes, there were days when I truly wanted to give up. But the drive to succeed kept me going forward.

Constant Self-Improvement

Every year, I do what I can to improve myself. And every year, I accomplish something new and unexpected. But it’s this drive to continuously evolve that really helps me achieve some great things.

Now, not everything played out as well as I had hoped. The important thing is the ambition behind what keeps me trying to surpass who I was yesterday.

Effort is the Hardest Part for Many

If you’re not willing to put in the work to make things happen, you can’t really say that you’re ambitious. Remember, having ambition means you have the desire and determination to succeed.

This means you are more prone to put in the effort to accomplish the things you want. Even if it means sacrificing “fun time” to learn all you can about what you want to become.

Unfortunately, ambition isn’t something you can just turn on and off like a faucet. It comes from within, fueled by your own personal desires and wishes.

No, Having Ambition Is Not the Same as Ego

Sometimes people confuse ambition with ego. In reality, they are absolutely different.

For one thing, “ego” often comes with an inflated sense of yourself to the point of thinking you’re better than anyone around you. In this instance, it’s mostly about making yourself appear superior to others.

Ambition is merely the drive to achieve those goals, usually through hard work and a heightened sense of determination.

For example, an “ego-lifter” at the gym will load up a vast ton of weight, usually well beyond his or her limits. The idea is to then lift that weight to show off to, or perhaps impress, any on-lookers.

Someone with ambition will take the steps necessary to eventually lift that same weight while being safe and without caring who is watching.

The distinct difference between the two is the desire. One desires attention and praise from a surrounding audience while the other simply wants to add strength to his or her body.

My point is that having ambition is not the same as being egotistical. Although they are sometimes linked depending on the individual’s desire, being ambitious doesn’t mean he or she is automatically becoming an ego-maniac.

Being Afraid of Success

A lot of people lack ambition because of a fear of success. It’s not because they’re afraid of making more money or accomplishing life-long dreams. But often it’s the responsibility that comes with that success.

For example, I am constantly worried about leading people astray when it comes to writing. Sure, I have accomplished a lot and have had a great deal of success over the years. But what if someone takes my advice and fails miserably?

This particular fear has been growing as I put myself further under the limelight.

However, I am determined to not let that fear dictate what I want to accomplish. Actually, this is something I decided to change over the past year or so.

It all came down to my desire to do more with my life and being tired of missing out on some amazing opportunities.

I, personally, know people who suffer through great anxiety any time that success starts becoming apparent. The stress can be quite debilitating. Unfortunately, it also leads to never really exploring how far they could have gone.

Not everyone handles stress the same way.

What Are You Truly Ambitious About in Your Future?

I actually have quite a few things I’m ambitious for in the near future. One is in regards to fat loss and the other is to continue growing as a writer. This means I am taking steps to ensure both of these happen within a specific timeframe.

It’s the amount of effort I’m putting in to become successful that makes the difference.

What kind of effort are you putting towards your goals and dreams? Is your drive matching your desire?

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2 years ago

Great stuff, Michael. Your insights and precise but encouraging style are exactly what I need as I launch (or really, re-launch) my writing career. I’ve been away from it since about 2002. The time management piece, the ambition piece, the determination and desire elements — all these are just what I’ve been reflecting on for the last few weeks. Is my effort matching my desire? You articulate the challenges very, very well.