What makes you ambitious

Ambition: The inner fire is more important than intelligence

Ambitious people can usually be recognized by the fact that they talk less and do more for it. After all, success cannot be talked about (although many believe it). There is still hard work, diligence, perseverance and discipline behind it. And a large portion ambition. Such people do not shy away from challenge, effort and discomfort. Defeats and failures tend to spur them on. And they are mostly interested in to improve and develop yourself. In short: ambition has made many a career shine and glory. As is so often the case, however, there is also a downside: Too much ambition can also destroy people ...

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Ambition definition: what do I want to achieve?

By definition, ambition is initially nothing more than that Striving for personal goals - like recognition, influence, success, knowledge or power. Ambition is primarily oriented towards one's own personal benefit, but - unlike the pursuit of property - it does not necessarily have to be linked to material advantages such as money and wealth. For example, when we strive for specialist knowledge, for sporting success or fame.

You could also say: Those who are ambitious want to achieve something, create something, make a difference. He wants to show "them" - above all himself. Without this inner fire, the sometimes iron will to be feasible, so many inventions and developments would have failed to materialize.

Because that, too, is a great advantage of the inner drive: ambitious people need fewer performance incentives. You own one mental strengththat gives them enough motivation and discipline to keep going - even beyond resistance.

Accordingly, the Ambition synonyms:

  • Ambitions
  • zeal
  • Aspiration
  • Determination
  • Diligence
  • fervor
  • Hustle and bustle
  • Agility
  • Thirst for action
  • Creativity
  • Tirelessness

However, these are only those positive Synonyms for this inner drive. There are definitely too negative:

  • Overzealousness
  • Need for admiration
  • Addiction to fame
  • Striving for power
  • Lust for power
  • Drivenness
  • Profile neurosis

Etymologically, the word “avarice” originally meant once desire or desire. Exaggerated ambition is therefore associated with the "greed" at eye level.

The synonyms alone show that ambition is a coin with two sides: If it is healthy, it can have a positive effect on us spur and inspire. But you can also overdo it. Then it will be Ambition morbid and harmful - for us and our environment.

It just comes up the right amount to - or as Paracelsus would say: "The dose makes the poison."

After all: ambition, researchers have been able to prove, changes over time: "Young people are more ambitious“, Says Heinz Schuler, aptitude diagnostician and professor of psychology at the Stuttgart University of Hohenheim. On the other hand, those who have already achieved a lot hardly have to prove anything to themselves or to others.

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Ambition is more important than intelligence for success

No question about it, there are people who have ambition in their cradle. You always want to to be among the best, want to win and aim high. On the other hand, they reject mediocrity for themselves (and others).

As I said: that too can someday morbid and unhealthy become. But it doesn't have to.

And it is not fate to be ambitious - or not, either. Parts of it are genetically conditioned, for example, believes US psychologist Dean Simonton from the University of California: “Ambition is energy plus determination"Says Simonton.

But he is also convinced that ambition can be aroused or trained. At least a few goals are needed that are worth working towards so that the inner driving forces can develop at all. And the more concrete these goals, the more tangible the satisfaction associated with them, the greater it is Passionthat people develop for it. The most beautiful idea without a plan and implementation is just a pious wish.

And that reveals something else as well:

For success, ambition is more important than intelligence.

What use is the best business idea, the smartest concept, the most intelligent solution if nobody implements and pursues them? Just. Intelligence fizzles outwhen there is no ambition to make something out of it.

When the personnel consultancy Heidrick & Struggles asked a good 1000 German managers some time ago which criteria they consider particularly beneficial for a career, the result was surprising: According to the respondents, not origin, not education or even intelligence were decisive - Ambition and a functioning network formed the formula for success for professional advancement.

The US psychologists Andrew Elliot and Marcy Church make a distinction in this context professional ambition again in two driving forces:

  • learning goals

    Those who pursue these goals primarily want to perfect their abilities, skills and knowledge. These people strive for professional and intellectual excellence.

  • Performance goals

    Performance-oriented people, on the other hand, are in constant competition with others: They constantly compare themselves and want to be better than others (or make fewer mistakes).

Of course, you have an inkling of what research now knows about both types of ambition: People who pursue learning goals are often more than just people more satisfied with themselves and their job - They are also more committed and less dogged.

Is it even worth being ambitious?

Even if Aspiration is good for your career, it still involves hard work. The question arises: Is it even worth it?

Short answer: yes. Because who Ambition, zeal and drive developed, benefits from it in a few other areas:

  • Ambition promotes virtues.

    Ambition alone is considered a very positive character trait. But that's not enough, because ambitions also affect other parts of the personality - for your own benefit. Ambitious people tend to be disciplined when it comes to putting their goals into action. You will also develop a strong ability to assert yourself, but also have the necessary patience. Even creativity can arise from ambition when it comes to finding suitable ways and solutions.

  • Ambition leads to great satisfaction.

    Hardly anything gives you such a good feeling as to live up to your own ambitions and achieve the goals you have set yourself. This not only earns you the respect of others, but also allows you to be proud of yourself. On the one hand, this strengthens self-confidence - but it is also lasting, because you have achieved something that may have looked impossible at the beginning.

  • Ambition carries over to other areas of life.

    An ambitious personality is not limited to just one part of life. Those who are ambitious in their job are usually so in their free time - for example in their hobbies or in sports - and vice versa. If you learn to think and act ambitiously, you will benefit professionally and personally.

Fountain of youth: the ambitious live longer

If one believes the analyzes of the US psychologists Howard Friedman and Margaret Kern of the University of California at Riverside, then ambitious, conscientious and performance-oriented people live longer. The meta-study (20 studies, 8,900 people from the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway, Japan and Sweden) showed that people who ambitiousthat were neat, disciplined and well organized highest life expectancy possessed. But reliability and a sense of responsibility were also conducive to a long life.

This is confirmed by studies conducted by Antonio Terracianos from the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore. His team examined the careers of 2,359 men and women who had one 50 years ago Personality test had filled out.

Result: 943 had already died, but it was mainly the sensitive, fearful and negligent personalities. In the minds with pronounced Thirst for action and strong ambition, life was extended by an average of two years, for those with prudence, self-discipline and emotional maturity by three years.

When ambition becomes pathological: the price of success

"Ambition, vanity, pride - these are forces that have tremendous elasticity and can take a person far", wrote the Danish existential philosopher and theologian Søren in 1843 Kierkegaard. But it is also the same forces that can plunge you into ruin.

Unfortunately, ambition also develops one unholy momentum.

He can therefore be both - Incentive and hubris; Longing and craving for recognition; Value proposition and cause of burnout. Ambition can turn people into Mother Theresa or a mafia boss.

Some are driven by their ambition to top performance, to ever new records, to great fame and Makes, he drives others into entrepreneurial freedom, creates prosperity and independence. Zeal breaks taboos and prohibitions to think, overcomes fears, inspires and motivates, Overcome obstaclesTo aim at the unattainable and to prove something to yourself and others.

"Aim high!" aim highis the motto of many successful people for a reason. But there is also a great danger in this: if it does it's all about winning, the only allowed Final victory. Anything else would be unacceptable, a shame that only deserves abuse and disgrace ...

You have long guessed: here it is Limit from healthy ambition to pathological ambition long exceeded.

who overambitious is, that is sometime every means is right. He seeks success at any price - no matter what the cost. Even if it is the soul or health. Or at the expense of others. Such people eventually walk over corpses. Some even literally.

Just like Icaruswhose ambition to fly towards the sun has only brought down its own. "Anyone who strives for the oversized and impossible misses the achievable and possible", wrote Friedrich Schiller once.

No question about it, success costs Compromise. Quite a few also sacrifice their values ​​in the process:

  • Why do you keep silent with seeing eyes?
  • Why do you still say “yes” when your conscience has long been screaming “no”?

Usually this is a gradual process. Concessions begin with language, then behaviors are aligned, and finally follows moral justification about the custom: "Everyone does it like that!"

Those who make such compromises too often become strangers to themselves until they are just a shell - so thick-skinned that you can do without them backbone can stand upright. In the specialist literature one speaks of the déformation professional, the deformed personality. This is how far these ambitious people have come: They are a pitiful species.

Marc Aurel already warned: "Everyone is only worth as much as the goal of his striving." So it doesn't hurt his ambition, nor his Ends and means to question occasionally. If only to maintain a healthy distance from your own status and to keep your feet on the ground.

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