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prioritymail's avatar

Do ambitious people tend to succeed?

Asked by prioritymail (1630points) August 22nd, 2011

Or do they eventually succumb to the reality of life and make peace with settling for less than what they originally sought? There seem to be a lot of respected people in this world that got where they are at least partly because of ambition, and also a lot of people that never realize their goals. What is the difference between those that make it and those that don’t? Hard work and inspiration as Edison suggested? If luck is a factor and you don’t have it, at what point do you ‘cash in your chips’ and settle?

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12 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

It depends on your definition of success. I found for me at least that the only way I succeed at getting from point A to point B in my life is to set goals. The bigger the the goal more than likely the more challenging is will be. So I tend to set smaller more attainable goals with clear well constructed plans of doing what I think I will need to do to make that goal a reality.

Right now my goal is to finish this cup of coffee so I can wake up and get my a$$ to work!

Hibernate's avatar

Only if they put their ambition to a good use and know when to back down.

Pandora's avatar

Success, as @Cruiser pointed out really is about perception. For some people, success is about money, some its about living the life they want, and for some its about position and power and for some its simply being happy most days with a life filled with family and friends.
Edison also had it right but its important to have family and friends as a back up to your goals so that you have something else as valuable in your life, in case your dreams don’t work out. But most of all, I think most people who succeed have a plan B and maybe a plan C. I think its equally important to be patient and flexable and to realize that your definition of success may change over the years as well as your goals. Some people who succeed in what they do, end up doing something they never envisioned for their future.
There are a lot of people who get a degree in one thing in college and after they graduate they end up doing something they don’t have a degree in. Sometimes its out of necessity to pay that college bill and other times it turns out they decided it really isn’t something that interest them anymore and now they have a new goal.
As for your last question. You never cash in your chips, you simply redefine and reinvent yourself.
Even flowers grow in the desert. Its all about adapting.

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choreplay's avatar

I would tend to think that ambition as you suggesting would come from an attitude of taking risk. I think there are a lot of ambitious people who don’t know how to take calculated risk and end up spent from too many unsuccessful risk. But risk is definitely an ingredient. I have lost a lot of money in Real Estate and Stocks, BUT, I have made far more than I lost, which leads to the next point,

Persistence is an important ingredient. One of the important things I want to make sure my children understand is that life is six steps back seven steps forward, and you have to have perseverance to ride it out. Also the very reason why it’s important to save for that rainy day. When your seven steps ahead, if you blow your wad and expect seven more steps forward, you being foolish.

I think hard work is definitely another component. The old Jewish proverb goes; when you’re young work hard for your money, so when you’re old your money will work harder for you.

The last ingredient, IMO. is time, Time is a powerful tool. A dollar saved for retirement at age 20 will be worth $72.89 at age 65, a dollar saved at age 30 will be worth $28.10 at age 65, and a dollar saved for retirement at age 40 will be $10.83, 50 – $4.18. This assumes 10% long term interest and doesn’t factor inflation in, but the impact of time is as dramatic any way you calculate it.
I didn’t touch on a can do attitude or believing in yourself.

Your_Majesty's avatar

If backed by qualified human resources. Ambition alone is merely a psychology factor to achieve something, it doesn’t give you a material to achieve something which intelligence can provide. I don’t think luck could be counted as a factor of being successful as we live in a world where almost everything is organized systematically. But if you’re talking about luck being born as rich person or relation to rich family-background then luck has its own share.

picante's avatar

With the proper focus and training to achieve one’s goals, of course ambition is extremely important. It’s the “fuel” in the engine oftentimes One must be prepared to “run on empty” on occasion, and you’ll need to refuel often.

I would add that I am thinking of ambition in only the most positive terms—moving toward achieving a goal that is not to the detriment of others. Blind ambition, working to achieve a goal at any expense, is a bad thing, in my opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

Ambition is an important element to success I believe.

Luck is the meeting of preperation and opportunity. My husband’s family used to say my husband was so lucky, and it pissed my husband off. He has been successful because he has worked his ass off. When an opportunity came along, he had the education, experience and skills to get the job and do well. If his siblings had studied and received a college degree, and moved to different states to move up in their career, and be willing to sacrifice as much as he, they could have had similar success. In fact, later in life his brother has made some radical decisions to get what he wanted from his career, and has been overall successful, with some speed bumps along the way. He always had the ambition, but not the patience it took to start off slowly and sacrifice. He wound up in a relationship with someone in the very business he was interested in, so he got a little lucky in that sense, but he was good at the job, and helped grow the business.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think ambition and realistic expectations are mutually exclusive. I consider myself an ambitious person but I don’t go after things I know I can’t achieve like going into space or whatever. I will say that, yes, being ambitious has helped me succeed, I simply take more risks than others and am pretty determined so even if I fail, I still have more times when I succeed.

mazingerz88's avatar

Ambition + Daydreaming = Nothing

Ambition + Relentless Action + Make One’s Own Luck = Success

gorillapaws's avatar

Ambition is necessary for creating your own success (unless you win the lottery or inherit a large fortune), but not sufficient. See this.

If you define success as having a happy home life and a reasonable middle-class living, then ambition may not be a factor at all, although I suspect from reading your question you’re referring to “making it big.”

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t feel like I have any ambition. I just want to be loved and have people like to hear what I have to say and be a good parent and stay alive.

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