It’s believed that women are more jealous than men. This is true in many regards, particularly when it comes to mating. However, men can be jealous in their own way. We see this jealousy in the professional world when a man achieves success. Very quickly, other men will come out of the woodwork to denigrate his existence. Anybody who has achieved success in a walk of life can attest to this.
Your success will bring you more detractors than your failure. And your success is directly tied to your ambition.
Ambition is Related to Your Faith in God
Your ambition is tied to your belief in God. You feel that God has gifted you with a tremendous power, and it’s imperative that you capitalize on it. You believe that you’re greatness is infinite in scope. So you get up every day, building a fire on the coals of self-confidence.
Conversely, a man’s lack of ambition is tied to his lack of faith; he’s not sure the world has any meaning. This atheism, or agnosticism, colors his daily affairs. It takes the wind out of his sails, making him do less, care less, and burn less.
A man without faith in God will never truly understand the hustle of an ambitious man.
Ambition Never Dies
The ambitious man is never finished. He is forever striving, whether he is 18 or 80. He believes there is still another page to be written in the history books and that it will contain his name. He doesn’t care that his name is Joe Smith and he lives in Nowhere, Nebraska. Those facts are irrelevant. He has a date with destiny.
Nietzsche said it best in Twilight of the Idols:
- “A higher kind of human being, if I may say so, does not like ‘callings,’ precisely because he knows himself to be called. He has time, he takes time, he does not even think of ‘finishing’: at thirty one is, in the sense of high culture, a beginner, a child.”
Well put. The great man is always on the hustle. He burns with a passion which will only be extinguished when he is dead, when his last breath has left his body. Until that time, he’s forever burning with a restless energy—looking to do more, to be more, to care more.
The ambitious man is never finished in his quest.
Ambition is Hated by the Common Man
The ambitious man has enemies. These enemies will always try to minimize his plans, to denigrate his desires. You can almost hear them saying…
Who are you to want more? Who are you to dream big? Really, their questioning of you is a psychological projection. They doubt themselves.
Marianne Williamson said it well:
- “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.”
The great challenge for the ambitious man will be overcoming these detractors. He will have to shrug them off with a courteous nod. He cannot let himself be sucked into the drain of low self-confidence. He has a higher calling that he must adhere to.
Can Ambition Be Cultivated?
This leads to the obvious question, “Can ambition be cultivated?” The Major seeks to help others, not to denigrate. I could make a Tony Robbins sermon and say that you merely need to “believe in yourself,” or some other feel-good platitude. But that won’t help.
The person without ambition needs a “breakthrough” moment. Something has to snap, the water has to tip over the levee. There has to come a “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” moment.
These breakthrough moments tend to be delivered by fate, as opposed to the advice of others. For example, somebody can tell you to be cautious about who you marry. But the pain of a divorce rape will be much more effective in waking somebody up.
So ambition can be cultivated…but it’s rare. It is usually the result of somebody being pushed over the edge, as opposed to somebody willfully seeking the goals of self-improvement. I’ve counseled many wayward people in my life, trying to point them into a positive direction. My counsel accomplished very little – 99% of them continued on their downward spiral.
The successful people I’ve met never needed my counsel. They came to the party ready to roll, so to speak. Their greatness occurred separate of me. Perhaps I gave them a helpful tip here or there. But by and large, they were self-contained individuals, burning with a passion to be great.
Ambition is central to all great men. And if you have ambition, you will find your circle of friends to be very small. That’s because others will try to take the wind out of your sails, to question your motivations, and to riddle you with doubt. So you must part ways with them, even though they might be excellent people in many ways.
A final thought by Oscar Wilde:
- Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.