Popular Terms
The desire to achieve something, or to succeed, accompanied with motivation, determination and an internal drive.

Ambition describes those that achieve success based on their inner desire to do so and their belief in themselves. Ambition in itself may not be a key to success. Successful, ambitious people need both energy and goals to succeed. Someone with plenty of energy but no goals may find themselves pursuing one opportunity after another without success, wondering what it is that they are wanting out of life.

Someone with goals but no energy may find themselves wanting to achieve success, but too complacent to do the work to go about pursuing their goals.

They might also start projects but quit when the work becomes too hard or too much work.

Ambition also requires using failures to learn from their mistakes. There are many examples of ambitious people:

Paul Allen started the software giant Microsoft alongside Bill Gates. They pair had first started a business named Traf-O-Data, which failed. This failure did not prevent Allen and Gates from pursuing their goals. According to Allen, "Even though Traf-O-Data wasn't a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft's first product a couple of years later." That first product? The operating system called MS-DOS, the precursor to Windows, the operating system still used by most personal computers today.

Jim Carrey, a famous comedian, never graduated from high school. He dropped out to support his family, who had become destitute after his father's music career failed. He had a single-minded goal from the time he was very young and he worked to achieve that goal.

His teacher even allowed him to perform stand-up comedy at the end of the school day (provided he behave and not be distracted the rest of the day). Even as his parents struggled, they drove him to comedy clubs to audition. In 1979, at age 18, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb and of many other inventions, attempted to create many light bulbs before he developed one that actually worked. His famous line, "I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work," is a saying used today to emphasize to students that failure is a learning process.

Ambition is not a requirement for success for many people. Many unambitious people would describe success as accepting what life has to offer and making the most of it. However, ambition is a necessity for those who want to achieve a specific goal, such as becoming a CEO, actor, or billionaire

Use 'ambition' in a Sentence

Erik has a lot of ambition because he wants to become the youngest soccer player in history to go to the World Cup.
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Jennifer's ambition is to publish her first novel in less than one year.
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Kelly has ambition so she works night and day to perfect her acting skills so that she can move to Hollywood and become a movie star.
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