The word “ambition” conjures up many different meanings and connotations and also raises many questions.

  • For example, is it a good thing or is it a bad thing for a person to have ambition?


  • What makes someone more ambitious than another?


  • Does being ambitious mean you have to be corrupt and lose your moral compass?

These are some of the questions I hope to address in this article. It should be noted that in my previous posts, I wrote about personality traits that impact ambition, such as motivation, self-esteem and procrastination. Ambition  gives us the drive to go after the things we really want in our lives.

Therefore, it plays an important role in our personal development.

Definition of Ambition

Webster’s Dictionary defines ambition as “an ardent desire for rank, fame or power.”

Characteristics of Ambition

Characteristics of ambition include the ability to:

  • Set Goals – develop a list of your most important goals and the reasons why you want to accomplish these goals. When creating your goals, ask questions such as what am I good at and how can I align my strengths with my goals. This is a very powerful process and will really get your creative juices flowing.
  • Take Actionable Steps – break down your most important goals into smaller steps and take action on each step. This allows you to experience short term success on your way to achieving your long term goals.
  • Be Persistent – Persistence is the ability to stay focused on a task until it is completed. Researchers have found that persistence is one of the critical drivers of ambition.

Types of Ambition

Ambition can be a good or bad depending on the degree of ambition you exhibit. Ambition can be thought of as a line of continuum. To the extreme of either end of this line, too much ambition or lack thereof can carry negative consequences. Ambition can be most productive and maximized  at the middle of this continuum. The types of ambition are as follows:

  • Too Little Ambition – This is where one lacks any direction or purpose in their life i.e. goals. Without goals, there can be little accomplishment in one’s life. In other words, we meander through our life aimlessly.
  • Balanced Ambition – This is where one has clearly established goals but we balance our professional and personal lives when going after these goals.
  • Too Much Ambition – This occurs when one has clearly established goals but we become obsessed with our work to the extent that we have very little time for a personal life. Many of these people get burned out because the stress of their job becomes overwhelming and sometimes they develop either physical and/ or mental ailments.

It should be pointed out that people with ambition can demonstrate this quality in several ways. They are as follows:

  • Noble Ambition – these are people that have clearly defined goals. They aren’t in it for the glory but rather to see how much they can achieve and how it can impact others.
  • Corrupt Ambition – these are people that have clearly defined goals but are totally consumed by their ambition. They are purely in it for themselves i.e. their fame and fortune. They will do anything to get ahead of their competitors including telling lies and cheating.


Ambition is a key ingredient in one’s success in life and therefore plays a significant role in one’s personal development.

This article enumerates some techniques to pave the path in the right direction toward achieving a balanced approach regarding ambition.

About the author: Bob

Bob is a businessman, athlete, and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people progress personally through better self-awareness.


  1. I see a lot of interesting articles on your blog.
    You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know
    how to save you a lot of work, there is a tool that creates
    unique, google friendly articles in couple of seconds, just search in google –
    laranita’s free content source

    • Dear Sir,

      I appreciate your feedback but I prefer to write my own content even if it takes me longer

      All my best,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *