How to Build Ambition

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Most people try to find a way to stay motivated or find motivation to do a certain thing. Although I believe that motivation is important, the people who are trying to find it, may be looking for the wrong thing.

There have been many times in my life when I have been unmotivated, uninspired, or flat out discouraged. But, one thing I have always been was ambitious. Even though sometimes I didn’t know where to focus my ambition, I always desired to achieve in some way.

I think the people who tend to struggle with how they are going to succeed in life don’t lack motivation, but they lack ambition.

This post will help you build, focus, and use ambition to drive you closer to your goals purpose, and desires.

Is Ambition a Bad Thing

 

Sometimes ambition can be seen as something negative or unnecessary.  Some may argue that humans should be content with what they have and where they are.  That having ambition can lead to greed, lust for power, and other detrimental things.

 

Before we look at whether ambition is the reason people rob and steal, lets look at what ambition means. The most consistent definition of ambition that I have found is

Ambition:an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction

Ambition is neither good or bad.  The question is the heart’s desire of the person with the ambition. If someone’s ambition leads them to take the path of lying, cheating, and taking advantage of others for thier own gain, it is not the ambition that is to blame.  It is the values, beliefs and mindset of the person who is using the ambition.

Even though ambition in it of itself is not a bad thing, a can be overrated if it is not matched with the right actions.  The next section will help you begin to take the kinds of actions that will help build ambition and use that ambition to achieve your goals.

 

Install Your Personal Engine

If ambition is the car, then motivation is the engine that creates the action to get you moving.  We are all motivated by different things but

Find the general things that motivate people; books, seminars, quotes etc.  Integrate those things into your day at various times when you are unmotivated and when you need a boost and it will begin to make a difference in your outlook.

From there you will need to find the things that motivate you specifically.  For example, I love the idea of having a list of things to do in a day and at the end of the day having everything on that list completed.  The idea of conquering my day!

While some people may see a long list of tasks and responsibilities and begin to feel overwhelmed, stressed and hesitant. I look forward to those tasks because I know that will grow in some way that day which is something I aspire to do.

There are some specific things that motivate you in ways nothing else can.  Search and you will find those things.  They make up what is your personal engine.  Once you find them, turn on the ignition.

 

Put Your Life in Perspective

 

We are on a floating rock, with 7 billion other people, in a middle of a universe that is over 28 billion light years in diameter.  On top of that your life, compared to scope of existence, is shorter than a finger snap.

When you begin to realized that life is short an time is a limited resource you can never get back, you tend to live a life of urgency, a life of purpose.

Here are a few things that I use to help focus my mind on the right perspective

-Life is not about me.  There is a bigger purpose.

-There are millions and millions of people that would kill to have to opportunities to succeed everyday that I have.

-A successful life is just having a bunch of successful days in a row.

-The most important outcome in life is not what I get but what I become.

Begin to look at life as something to be lived and not a problem to be solved.  Find the things that will help you keep those things in perspective and you will soon find your ambition amplified!

 

Stop Settling

How close are you to the things you desire?  Be honest.  You may feel that you are in the cusp of accomplishing your goals but there are some crucial obstacles in your way.  Or, maybe you feel like the things you want out of life are a million miles away.

In either case, the temptation to settle for something that is almost what you want will appear sooner or later.  This happens when we are tempted to end the search or the struggle. I’m completely against the “better than nothing” approach to accomplishment.  You are better than that.

If you were to examine your life currently, you may find evidence that this already happening.  Have you ever set a goal to lose weight and when you get half way to your goal, you go back to your old eating habits?

Settling on the little things means that it will be easier to settle on the major things in your life. Talking yourself out of reaching for what you want may leave you regretting your decision.  Its ok to change your desires if there is something that is more of a priority for you.  But, it is not ok to give up and settle just because you think the goal is too hard or too far away.  Stop settling on the little things and you will begin to build ambition towards the bigger things.

 

Find Your Chew Toy

 

If you’ve every had a puppy or young dog, you know that  they like to chew on anything they can get their paws on.  Socks, carpet, furniture are all fair game to canines.  Pet toy manufacturers know this so they have develop chew toys so the dogs can take their destructive urges out on the toy instead of your things. There are even toys now that not only keep the dog occupied with they toy, but helps clean the dog’s teeth and massage its gums.

The idea behind this is, to transfer the desire of the dog from something destructive to something beneficial.  Basically, if the dog is going to be chewing something, it might as well benefit him.  You can take this same idea and apply it to your desire.  Everyone is ambitious about something.  The question is what is that “something” driving them to do.

When I was in 6th grade, I didn’t want to do anything more than to play video games for hours on end.  I couldn’t wait to get home and play past sundown. Soon after that I fell in love with basketball.  I took on the same “nothing is more important than playing basketball” approach to life.

As an adult, I have realized there is much more to life than video games and basketball.  I transferred my focus and desire from those things to the things that I now value.  I took the same desires and obsession I had for basketball and converted to an obsession towards my goals.

There are currently some things in your life that you are consumed with.  If you have a desire to move on and do other things, begin to transfer some of those preoccupations toward where you would like to be.  It will take a new outlook and the development of new habits, but once you get your momentum going, you will find that your new desires are pushing you towards the things you want.

 

You’re One Try Closer

 

Failure is painful.  I think we can all agree on that.  I think that a lot of the negative reactions we have to failure is something that we’ve learned.  We’ve learned that failure is a bad thing and the reaction we should have towards it is to avoid it at any cost.  I think the correct reaction to failure is not to avoid it like the plague, but to use it to gauge how close or far we are to our goals.

The funny thing about having the right reaction to failure is that it makes you want to try one more time. If you’ve ever seen a baby try to walk, you know what I’m talking about.  The baby doesn’t spend much time thinking about why they can’t walk or how much of a failure they are because nothing they do seems to work.

Even though a baby falls multiple times, somehow, he knows that he is one try closer to walking around just like everyone else.  Many of the things we want to accomplish in life are just a few more tries away.  Every attempt brings you that much closer to where you want to be.  Once you embrace this, you will have embraced the essence of ambition.

 

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  • Quintin

    Great post Ralph…reminiscent of a conversation in a Chipotle