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Ambition drives people to succeed. It helps people to rise above their perceived limitations and discover new levels of capabilities. “Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings,” says Salvador Dali, a very renowned painter.

We must recognise that the world is undergoing a rapid transition from being production-oriented to an information economy driven by rapid technological changes. What is Changing? Levels of competition are intense and one is constantly challenged to raise standards of performance at the workplace. Skills acquired in the past are quickly becoming obsolete and the ability to acquire new skills rapidly is the new norm. This will impact all and people need to devise ways to successfully navigate the change. Hence, the focus on one’s ambition and drive is very important for success.

What drives people as human beings? This is an important question that one must understand. Dr Nitin Nohria and Dr Paul Lawrence in their book titled “Driven” talk about four drives that shape human behaviour and the choices they make.

  • The drive to acquire objects that improve our status relative to others.
  • The drive to bond with others in long-term relationships of mutually caring commitment.
  • The drive to learn to make sense of the world around us.
  • The drive to defend ourselves, our beliefs and our loved ones from harm.

All these four drivers are important and all human beings are driven primarily by this inner drive to lead a life of fulfilment. Focusing, only one of the drives may result in a life of resentment and leave one feeling unfulfilled. Those who have ignored their drive to acquire will lack self-esteem and end up being jealous of others. Similarly, those who have neglected their drive to bond will feel lonely and feel neglected in life. Those who did not pursue their curiosities to learn and squandered opportunities that came their way would feel stunted and bemoan a lack of personal development. People who did not defend themselves or could not do so would feel abused and victimised. Some of these drives may be dormant in an individual. When one reflects upon their life and other people whom they may know, the truth will be evident. It is important to rekindle these desires lodged in the subconscious mind and make the right choices.

The need for achievement propels people into action. Life without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder and does not get us anywhere. In order to lead a purposeful life, it is important to set goals and draft plans to achieve them. While one is on a journey of planned action it could be riddled with obstacles and challenges. Overcoming challenges through focused action towards one’s own goals is important. This will result in a sense of fulfilment and joy.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny; it is in ourselves,” said William Shakespeare. People who believe in themselves and toil hard are ultimately bound to succeed. Start now, and drive your personal ambition and work towards your own success. A success that is well deserved and satisfying.

Written By -
Dr. S. Jayaraman
Area of Specialisation - Organisational Behavior
ISB&M Group

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