“A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.”Marcus Aurelius
I can usually tell if someone is ambitious. It’s not necessarily how they speak, or what they wear or who they are—it’s their eyes that give it away. There’s a glimmer of energy and fire in the eyes of ambitious people. Their actions speaking loudly too, of course. More specifically, how their actions compare to their words. Are they living out what they philosophize?
Ambition is a lot of things—following your dream to become a professional athlete, achieving your goal to publish a novel, starting your own clothing brand, etc.
But at its core —
Ambition is the willingness and the drive to change—especially when change is difficult.
Let’s look at the opposite—If someone hates something about themselves or their lives, but they don’t do anything about it (or they don’t even give it a college try) then they lack ambition.
Ambition isn’t binary—it’s not that we either have it or we don’t—rather, it’s a muscle we cultivate. If you want to start your own company but don’t, you’ve got weak ambition. Time to “pump some iron” and work your ambitious muscles.
How to be Ambitious
1. Start doing things that scare the 💩 out of you.
Change starts with the knowledge of knowing that you want to change. After that comes the hard part of making it happen. This can occasionally happen overnight, but 99% percent of the time it happens incrementally, on a day-to-day basis. If you’re not challenging yourself and doing something that scares you every day—even just in a small way—you aren’t working your ambition muscle.
2. See Failure as Feedback and Use it to Get Better
Failure sucks—but it’s part of the process of pursuing mastery and achieving goals. I would never actively seek out failure, but when I do fail, I try to use it as an opportunity to learn something I’ve been neglecting or didn’t know. This isn’t easy because failure can be very emotional. It’s not like we’re failing in a vacuum. Failure happens in the middle of our lives and can have far-reaching ramifications—but again, that part of what it means to live. Avoiding that is avoiding living.
Plenty of people failure and never learn from their mistakes. But not us. Failure is a precious, albeit painful chance for us to learn and rapidly improve.
3. Do What Others Won’t
Jerry Rice, three-time Super Bowls champion with the 49ers, has a great quote— “Today I will do what other’s won’t, so tomorrow I will do what others can’t.”
It’s uncomfortable to be unconventional. Going against the grain is never easy. There will be times when nothing is working and you question why you even keep doing what you’re doing. But that’s what makes it unconventional and ambitious in the first place. Stepping out. Raising your hand. Standing for what’s right. Apologizing and changing when you’re wrong. Being an example to others.
We do what others won’t and maybe one day our drive and ambition will inspire others to do the same.
Q: Do your words align with your actions?
Q: Are you living according to your own dreams or towards someone else ideas for your life?
Q: What’s one thing you can do today that scares you?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1034