By Younas Chaudhary
Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, encourage your ideas, support your ambitions, and bring out the best in you.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
I lived my young life in a remote village in Pakistan around people who were not ambitious. They did not aspire for more and had a simple existence.
From that land of few ambitions, I soon got a chance to join the Pakistan Military Academy after a tough competition. There, I was ambitious about a career in the military, but I was discharged after a few months!
With $30 in my pocket, I left for Canada. My modest goal was to make $100,000, return to Pakistan, take care of my family, and thereafter retire peacefully. I worked hard in Canada, though my ambitions were modest as my surroundings were laidback. Then, I immigrated to the US in the late 1970’s.
In the US, the free enterprise system and abundance of opportunities to make money, made me more ambitious. Once I finally made $100K, I wanted to make a million dollars and the numbers grew faster. I competed aggressively and started buying oil and gas wells. and the zeal to make more money made me seek out new opportunities.
Ambition begins when we aspire for more, set concrete goals, and establish timelines and desired outcomes. An ambitious person develops goals that they think can be accomplished and builds strategies to reach them. Instead of being mediocre, they reach for the stars and desire to do better and better in life.
I was ambitious but not overzealous and took calculated risks. I knew I had to be consistent and realistic to make money in the oil industry as I faced many obstacles. Soon, I realized that being overly ambitious makes one selfish and learned that ambition is healthy if you are content with what you accomplish.
Ambition requires a lot of focus, single-mindedness, and intensity in pushing yourself harder to attain your goals in life. This can also lead to negative effects like anxiety, panic attacks, and even depression if something goes wrong.
If you are ambitious, it is good to have mentors who can provide you with insight, and advice, and tell you candidly when you make mistakes. They can also provide you examples of what is happening in the real world and connect you with ambitious people in other industries.
According to noted writer, Simon Senek, “Ambition is refusing to quit on ourselves. Leadership is refusing to quit on others.”
In post-COVID America, it seems people are becoming less ambitious. Many want to work through collective action instead of working alone to make their lives better. Some do not want to work five days a week and are arguing for a shorter four-day week and fewer work hours and want to spend more of their time at home.
What they do not understand is that there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. With the right dose of positive ambition, grit, and hard work, you can scale and achieve great heights in life. Stay blessed!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.