Ambition is So Misunderstood

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

Ambition is often misunderstood.

As a rule, it seems to be either maligned or glorified — with no accepted rules of engagement. There are no shades of gray, where we can blend what we need to do, with where we want to go. Ambition is granted a very narrow lane, only accepted for the likes of founders or CEOs. For the rest of us, the message is murky.

Is ambition good or bad? Should it be supported?

Well, this all has to stop.

Ambition should be embraced in many more situations — and in many more of us. (It can be the spark for so many great things to occur.) When we ignore ambition, we can feel frustrated and disconnected. We’ve all suffered through periods of time in our work lives that we could label as a “crisis of contribution”. A point where we felt unmotivated and disengaged.

I’m convinced it was our ambition grumbling to do more. Waiting for its chance in the sun. The chance to do great things.

Ambition should acknowledged, reckoned with and supported.

It is not always synonymous with greed.

And I am convinced it isn’t always blind.

Want to read more about ambition? I enjoyed this book:

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Harvard Business Review, Talent Zoo, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

3 thoughts on “Ambition is So Misunderstood”

  1. Great opening line, “ambition is often misunderstood”. My ambition is to meld my duties and responsibilities with the need to manifest my ambitions with work and life. It is a choice to lead my life this way.


  2. That picture is a perfect illustration of the “price” ambitious people often pay. Achievers and above average individuals are often finding themselves away from the “crowd”! You can’t achieve different results if you do the same things everyone else does, but that loneliness of being different is a big sacrifice sometimes, and many of those time the ambitious but selfless mind can question, “Is it really worth it?”


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