Ambition: The Urge to Stand Out and Make a Mark
Revisit Yours for a Brighter Future
“A man without ambition is dead. A man without ambition and no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive.”
The above words of wisdom come from none other than the well-renowned, Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award Winner (1976) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988) honoree, Pearl Mae Bailey. Some of us might even remember her for her rendition of “Takes Two to Tango” that hit the Top Ten Charts, way back in 1952. During the dark days when people of color were scrambling for recognition, she won a Tony Award for her title role in the all-black production of “Hello, Dolly!”
Looking back at history, in direct relationship with the current circumstances, who can deny the fact that her ambition was higher than the sum of all her attributes put together? Never mind her acting prowess and charisma alone, without ambition she would be nowhere near the fame and honor bestowed upon her. This is, perhaps, one of the most significant of the personality traits that empowered her to perform outstandingly well and invite the attention of those that mattered.
Marcus Aurelius, the ancient Roman emperors, considered one of the ‘Five Good Emperors,’ namely Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and of course, Marcus Aurelius himself, gave us such a deep-rooted advice in the following words:
“A Man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.”
Considering his reign in the 2nd Century A.D., we can quickly appreciate how deep-rooted a philosophy the above words have become. A testament to this fact lies in all his followers down the line, over the next 18 Centuries and shall continue to gain traction forever.
Going even more in-depth in history, say between the 4th to the 6th Century B.C., we find among Lord Buddha’s teachings, the following advice, “Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals.” Can we see some substance in this quote? Sure we can, and we do. But for ambition, almost every invention would never happen. Without ambition to propel us through the ages, man would still be living in the caves, the same lifestyle of the Neanderthals or even worse.
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” So says Bill Bradley, an American former pro basketball player and three-terms running Democrat Senator. Persistence helps us stay on track. It is one of the most potent tools to ward off diversions that take us away from our goals. Without a well-balanced cocktail of ambition and persistence, our goals will remain a pipe-dream. Tenacity propels us further as each challenge is overcome. It builds within us the momentum to face up to new challenges as a matter of routine rather than an obstacle.
Madonna had been quoted as saying, “I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” Even at the cost of getting ridiculed, this wildly acclaimed Songwriter and Producer is an epitome of exemplary courage in keeping her ambitions ride high.
We could go on until eternity and never be able to account for all the achievers that took ambition as the primary trait to govern their whims and fancies. Suffice it to say, nurturing grand aspirations motivates us to look for ways and means so we could make them come true.
What do we need to embark on this journey towards turning our ambitions into achievement? An entire thesis could be written in this explanation as various authorities over the age, as well as in modern times, have interpreted this journey in their own perceptive ways.
Since I am not the final authority, not even a reflection of an authority on this subject, I would only confine this article to the track that I chose in getting to my goals:
Let your imagination soar high, like an Eagle. Give it the wings of imagination and an unending supply of your dreams for fuel. Let the fire within keep burning so any hindrances coming your way are easily destroyed.
Frank Sinatra said it so well, “I think my greatest ambition in life is to pass on to others what I know.” If we follow his advice, not only shall we enrich so many other lives but such a noble ambition on our part will serve a dual purpose by letting us revisit our own little success, learn from it and gather more momentum towards bigger objectives. We shall also get a chance to tie any loose ends we might have left behind, in hindsight.
On a final note, let us all treasure the sage advice from Salvadore Dali, the Spanish surrealist artist famed for his painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and writing. He said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”
I hope all the intelligent souls out there seriously consider the above submission as an invocation to the muse of success that delivers unto those that let their ambitions thrive!