My friend, marketing and leadership strategist, Edwin Dearborn posted this definition of ambition on his website. It really hit home for me and inspired this strategy of the week.
Ambition (n.) – A strong desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work; desire for exertion or activity; energy. [Derivation- Middle English ambicioun, excessive desire for honor, power or wealth.]
Notice it says, “typically requiring determination and hard work.”
Pay close attention to the derivation or origin of the word. Keep in mind this was over 1000 years ago; a time when you didn’t have to apologize or sugar coat everything you said. Back then, ambition meant excessive desire for honor, power or wealth. Can you imagine going around today saying, “I have excessive demand for honor, power and wealth?” Well, that’s exactly what I am suggesting you do. Get to that, so you can have the things you want!
A lot of people are acting like ambition is just having and showing desire; then they show up for work and hope things are going to just turn out right. That’s dreaming, not ambition. Excessive desire followed by excessive amounts of action is what the ambitious have and do. Then, never apologize for it. It’s a ‘get out of my way’ attitude.
The ambitious don’t want, they demand. They don’t ask for something, they insist on it. They don’t sell their products, they make people buy them. Then, they do whatever it takes to make sure they get to where they want to be.
Without ambition from you and your staff, nothing will ever happen. I see this as such a crucial part of success that I created a program, available at my online University called 30 Days to Permanent Motivation. It gives individuals, teams and companies content to fuel their ambition when they need it and it’s sent directly to their phone, tablet or computer on demand.
When do you need ambition? All the time. The cost of not having a sense of motivation or ambition is insane.
Once you are in the ambitious mindset, you must protect it. Do you know how? Do you know how to handle people who aren’t committed to having great lives, the ‘not so’ ambitious? If you run a team, a company or a household, you better figure this out. Since the word ambition was first used in the 10th century, those who best lived the word were most successful.
How often do you hear people saying, “I demand success,” or “I want to be wealthy or I will not stop until I get it!” – almost never, but it’s quite common to hear things like:
“Dude, we never see you anymore.”
“You work too hard, you need to relax.”
“When will you ever be satisfied?”
“There’s more to life than success and money.”
“Life is to be enjoyed.”
“You’re never going to be a millionaire, why bother?”
“I can’t be with a person who spends all their time working.”
“Who the hell do you think you are? You think you’re better than us?”
As society has become softer, more entitled and civilized, men and women start to justify being less ambitious.
People who have given up on their own dreams and goals and are now settling, may try to manipulate others to feel guilty for being ambitious. Some may be long time friends, even family or people you work side by side with. You must handle these people, set some boundaries and continue forward with ambition.
If you believe your success is a good thing, then you should pursue it like your duty, obligation and responsibility. As your ambition grows and intensifies, you must protect it. Then, success will follow.
Ambition is the excessive desire for honor, power and wealth. The only people that will have trouble with that definition are those who have given up on pursuing some of those things for themselves.