Latin ambitio (“ambition, a striving for favor, literally ‘a going around’, especially of candidates for office in Rome soliciting votes”), from ambiō (“I go around, solicit votes”).
Ambio : go around.
ambi- (“around”) + eō (“go”)
What’s ambition, is it good or bad?
Why is ambition considered both good and bad at the same time?
How to Be More Ambitious
In the last essay I wrote that I thought if was good to be ambitious in life. Now I want to share — how to become more ambitious.
So, in the prior essay we described ambition as moving around much and doing/acting much. So for me to be more ambitious means to act more, do more, and create more — not necessarily to gain more followers, or to gain more admiration from others.
Ambition is a state of mind; having the sense of drive, hustle, and the hope to do something epic in life. To me it also means to never stop hustling, to never stop making stuff, and also to never stop innovating new techniques, approaches, and art!
First or all, realize that you as an individual can make a deep and meaningful change in society. Think of yourself as the “lead domino”– all it takes is one person to take action to start a whole domino effect; consider Rosa Parks who refused to move in the segregated bus; she effectively started the Civil rights movement.
Or consider the one actions of Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Jesus or other saints of history.
Second, you must know what kind of epic and awesome change you want to make in society. For example, it’s my ambition to discover more knowledge, truth, and beauty in life, and share these secrets with others. So friend, what epic change do you wish to enact while you’re alive, and what kind of empowering legacy and gift you wish to give to the future generations of humanity?
Third, allow yourself to be a little crazy and foolish. I think all successful entrepreneurs are a little crazy and self-delusional. Why? You gotta be a little fool hardy, to believe in yourself, when the world thinks you’re foolish or you’ll fail. To be frank, you’ll never know whether you succeed or not unless you actually try and take a risk. My practical suggestion is attempt epic stuff of things you believe in enough to put your neck on the line. And make sure that your worst case scenario doesn’t cause you to die, incur permanent disfigurement, or that you don’t go 100% broke. Then again, if your goal in life is meaningful to you enough, realize worst case scenario, you can always declare bankruptcy. I almost think the point of life is to die with $0 in the bank; to leverage all of your money as a tool to achieve your dreams in life, and to create and do what you’re passionate about.
Fourth; With ambition, you also must stay hungry. Once you’re satisfied and satiated in life, what impetus do you have to keep hustling?
For example, imagine you’re starving. You keep marching, to fulfill your hunger. When you’re hungry, you’re more resourceful and hustle harder. Once you have a massive meal, you’re of course going to pass out, and no longer have the ambition to do anything.
I think this is an apt metaphor for life. Even my best fiend Kendrick Lamar (who came from the projects) hustled his way to the top is now worth millions. He has tattooed on his arm, “Hustle like you’re broke.”
There’s a lot of people once they become rich, famous, successful, and powerful — they become complacent. They stay in the same place, stop innovating, and just keep doing the same old thing, over and over. They no longer have that same hustle, drive, and ambition from the beginning which got them there.
If anything, the most dangerous trap in life is the success trap. Even for myself, when I reached success in my life, I felt a bit lost —what do you do when you’re on top of your game? To keep doing the same thing, over and over again? Or to rip apart the blueprint, and start over, carte Blanche, all over again?
Fifth, I’ve discovered for myself, I find more ambition being around the young, hungry, foolish, curious, and also excited. The youth are still mostly uncorrupted by the “real world”, and still have big dreams about changing the world, and making a positive change and impact on the world. So nowadays, I prefer to hang out and converse with 16 year olds, 18 year olds, kids in their 20s, and a few in their early 30s. Then for folks who are older ; I find great inspiration in those entrepreneurs in their 40s-80s, who are still hustling, following their own curiosity, and innovating, and even starting new careers!
Last, you gotta believe in you, no matter how foolish or silly others may think you are. Believe in yourself, shoot for the moon, and you will go very far.
Stay true to yourself and your own inner vision. Know your strengths in life, and stay strong and hold your position. Be ambitious, hungry, and stay thirsty my friend. Hustle everyday, do it hard, again and again.