How Do I Know If I Am Truly Ambitious?

By Sonja Roche

Being ambitious is a very respectable quality in today’s society. People with this personality trait are proven to achieve higher business, family or even hobby-related goals. By definition, it means being persistent and generally striving for success, attainment, and accomplishment. (1)

If someone asked you to describe your personality, would ambitious make it to the list?

When it comes to this virtue, it may be difficult to recognize it. We may consider ourselves highly driven, but then we reject a tempting business offer, then start to wonder if we were ambitious in the first place.

Sometimes we confuse it with other traits, such as being impatient or pushy or just highly competitive and obsessed with beating our supposed competition.

So how do we actually determine whether we have this trait or not?
Which characteristics should I have in order to think of myself as an ambitious person?


1. You are Ambitions if You are Not a Quitter

Non-quitters rarely allow the obstacles to stop them from achieving a set goal. When the storm comes and difficult times begin, an average person would see this as a sign that they are not good enough or that their goals are too hard. But, an ambitious one won’t be drowning in doubt or planning on giving up. Instead, he/she will keep going.

They will always find a way because that’s how important their goal it is to them. Does it seem too hard? That’s a sign that you need to do something different, find another way, another solution or just stop, recharge and continue later.

An obstacle is just a test to check how important our dreams are to us. And it is common knowledge that goals that we want the most are usually the hardest ones to get. That’s why we are afraid of them sometimes.

Ambitious people just don’t have it in them to settle for less than what they started their journey for. They push on until it’s done. (2)


2. You are Ambitions if You Always Have a Goal You are Working Towards

When you are having a chat with a friend or a colleague and you ask them what have they been up to recently, you always get two types of answers. The first type, more common, is a general answer, something that could apply to anyone. It goes like this: “Oh, well, nothing special” or “I’ve been eating, sleeping, running, working as usual, taking care of the kids” in some cases, you might hear an interesting story about a trip. That’s pretty much how this works.

But, when you ask this question and get an answer that is always specific and unique, then you could almost be sure that you are talking to an ambition person. It’s because they visualize their goals all the time and know exactly what they are doing and what they want. There is always something to work on, and this keeps them determined and focused.

When they achieve a goal, they immediately move on to the next one. If they are not challenging themselves with a new level of achievement, they feel empty. They keep in mind what they want and work on it patiently, not sitting and waiting for someone to show them the way.  (3)

What have you been up to recently?


3. You are Ambitions if You Have the Habit to Organize Your Leisure Time

Even in their free time, ambitious people of the world organize and manage their experiences (4). They choose activities that provide the needed rest and relaxation because they understand how important it is for a healthy mind to have a healthy body. And to have some fun too.

Knowing yourself and your body and what makes you feel good is a part of being productive. Based on the nature of your work, you should be able to evaluate if your “system” needs some peace and quiet or something adventurous to release adrenaline.

When you organize your leisure time, make sure your mind and body get everything they need, so you can start off your week refreshed and energized.

Don’t you have hobbies? If that’s the case, make sure that you leave some room in your schedule for that dance class or a morning parkrun you always wanted to do.

Do whatever nourishes you.


4. You are Ambitions if You Value Achievements Regardless of the Reward

If chasing after goals is what drives you and you enjoy the process of it, you can consider yourself an ambitious person.

Since it is a personality trait, ambition is consistent over time.  Driven people find motivation in the feeling of accomplishment whether they receive a pay raise or praise or not. They just like developing themselves and proving that they are capable of doing something great. They are always excited about learning something new. It’s not like it is their last day on Earth, it’s like every day is their first: they are always full of curiosity and wonder.

The difference between an ambitious person and an impatient one is that the latter one just wants the result, a diploma, money or promotion and they want it now. An ambitious person enjoys a challenge, enjoys the process of it and takes however much time it’s needed to achieve it. (5)


5. You are Ambitions if Compare Yourself with You

If your biggest competitor is yourself if means that you are on the right track.
Seeing other people achieve success doesn’t make you envious and it doesn’t make you do things out of spite? Excellent, that’s the way to go. You see achievements of others as inspiration. If they can do it, why wouldn’t you?

Ambitious people know that they are as good as anyone. And if other people are successful, they must be doing something right. So, try to see what you could learn from them. If you want to know if you are truly ambitious, ask yourself this question: “Are you driven towards your goals because you want to achieve them or just because you want to impress someone?” (6)


6. You are Ambitions if You are Not Afraid of Changes

You have a big job opportunity in another city or a country and relocation is not an obstacle for you. You have a great capacity to adjust yourself and make sacrifices. If you recognize yourself in these sentences, you are an ambitious person with no doubt.

To the driven people, it is not strange to leave a solid position in order to move to another, more interesting one. They are courageous and ready to take risks.

A strong will is a part of being successful. The key is in knowing when to sacrifice things for a better cause. To know when is time to give up and move on to something different. But this is only if the new situation brings you more benefit then loss. Evaluating that is also an important step. Don’t commit sacrifice for something that is not worth it.  (7)


7. Ambitious People are on a Mission of On-Going Growing

In conclusion, ambitious people are always driven by a goal. They know how to create quality time and take care of themselves. The feeling of achievement and process of attaining a goal is what motivates them. Challenging and developing themselves, learning new things, makes them feel like the sky is the limit.

The only person they are competing with is themselves. They like to meet other ambitious people, too, so they can learn something from each other.

If you recognize yourself in these descriptions, then you can put yourself in this category and just keep on with what you are doing. If you don’t, then remember, this is something you can learn and develop.

If it is important for you to have this quality, don’t worry, you can always develop it by working on yourself. You don’t have to be born with it.

Find a goal that motivates you enough to overcome any obstacle, constantly invest in your skills and the pleasure of being ambitious will come soon enough.

(Read this next: 10 Tips from the World’s Most Determined People)


Sonja Roche is a creature of love and her mission is to create and inspire meaningful connections within and between fellow human beings. As a psychologist, life coach, and personal development trainer she acts like "an open source system" lovingly disclosing and sharing her own journey in order to support the growth of others. Sonja lives in self-development like a fish lives in water. She goes high and beyond to unleash her greatest asset, her true, her powerful self and she believes you can do it too!
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