To many people, ambition is kind of a mystery. The dictionary says it is “an eager desire for distinction, power or fame.” But what does that really mean? Let’s start with the word eager. All by itself, eager is kind of exciting. Kids are eager for birthday parties. They expect to be the center of attention, to get many presents, to eat too much. For that matter, I guess adults are eager for birthdays, too. (Unless, of course, they’re embarrassed that the candles on their cake outnumber their achievements.) We can be eager to see a ball game, eager to see our kids in a dance recital, eager to see an old friend, eager to shop for a new car. Eager sounds like a lot of fun!
But do you ever hear people say they are “eager to live a better life,” “eager to have a better family,” “eager to make a lot of money”? Probably not. And that’s a problem, because as I see it, living a better life, having a better family and making a lot of money takes an eager desire.
We have the remarkable ability to get exactly what we must have. But there is a difference between wishes and desires. We’ve all heard people say, “Oh, I wish I could just drop five pounds. I want to be a little lighter.” We’ve probably said it ourselves. Although we might wish we could breathe a little easier in our clothing, we have to have the desire to exercise a little more and eat a little less. The “I wish I could lose weight” has to become “I have the eager desire to lose weight.”
The backbone of an eager desire to change is discipline. True ambition is disciplined, eager desire.
I’m also sure you’ve hear people talk about wishing they had more money to pay the bills, take a vacation or just take a little pressure out of their lives. But before their lifestyle can change, their wishes need to become desires. If they really desired change, they wouldn’t spend their evenings just watching TV and wishing they were doing something more.
The backbone of an eager desire to change is discipline. True ambition is disciplined, eager desire. It’s that little part within us that says, “If I want to be ready for that meeting tomorrow, I need to finish preparing for it today.” “If I want to make sure I can pay for my kid’s college education, I need to start saving today.” “If I want a better life tomorrow, I need to start working on it today.”
Ambition is a minute-by-minute, day-by-day mentality. To have the ambition to work toward a better family life, a newer car, a bigger house, a financially secure future… you have to live it every moment.
Related: How to Develop an Insatiable Hunger