Have you wondered that? can ambition be taught?

It’s perfectly fine, I’ve definitely wondered the same.

So I thought of doing some research to try and understand if ambition really can be taught. Along with trying to figure what the best method might be.

What is ambition.

This trait essentially enables people to strive for a particular goal or objective is ambition can mean. Whether or not it can be taught really depends on various factors.

Such as the nature of the individual and what strategy we can use to instil ambition.

Mover over, an interesting point made by Kammeyer-Mueller upon what ambition really means.

According to the results he managed to derive from an experiment suggest that.

“the results support the thesis that ambition is a middle-level trait—related to but distinct from more distal individual difference variables—that has meaningful effects on career success.”

The value of aiming high: The causes and consequences of ambition. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(4), 758–775.

I’ve come to the understanding that, when people have ambition. They usually have a fixated goal and a deep willingness to achieve something rather large.

We can call this as ambition.

This can include a variety of goals, although the quote above illustrates that to a majority of people, it is often tied to career success.

I’ve actually made a video about this, along with 2 strategies on being more ambitious , I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.

YouTube video on finding your ambition today.

In this article, we’ll explore what it means to have ambition, whether or not it can be taught and 7 interesting ways to inspire ambition on to those around you

What does it mean to have ambition.

I’m quite sure that a lot of people would say that ambition is to do with drive and motivation to take on a specific action. However, there might exist a slightly different idea, we might question where it can come from in the first place, often times It’s to do with vision, a goal along with a strong plan of execution.

Mini infographic on what ambition can start with, a vision, a goal and a solid execution plan.

Having ambition, can mean a lot of things, however it really boils down to having a particularly large goal that others might think of as quite brave or overwhelming. To be chasing something that is larger than life and that nobody would fathom that it’s possible.

Though ambition might be associated with large goals, it can come across and show itself quite differently on an individual level.

The same journal source above actually emphasis the point quite well, in that,

ambition was predicted by individual differences—conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and general mental ability—and a socioeconomic background variable: parents’ occupational prestige.

The value of aiming high: The causes and consequences of ambition. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(4), 758–775.

A lot of the time, people might come from privileged backgrounds and don’t actually get the chance to truly understand what it really means to have ambition. It might mean placing yourself in a difficult situation to actually understand what it means to pave your own path in life.

That drive or fire just isn’t there when things are handed to us on a silver plate. When things aren’t just given to us, there’s much more drive in getting things done to reach to a position in life that were proud of.


Getting into grips with where we want to be, setting a goal that we truly believe that we can achieve, and then relentlessly striving to achieve it beyond obstacles and set backs.

Is It ok To Have No Ambition?

I understand that it can seem quite odd when those around us might have not necessarily have so-called “ambition”.

Remember that sometimes ambition might not have the same meaning to everybody. It might be expressed a little differently.

We’re all different, and we all have different goals, so it’s important for us not to judge others for seemingly not having ambition, as we define it.

in fact, an interesting point made by Emily Reit and Frank Flynn in their hypothesis that

“using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults asked to lead a team in a simulated leadership task, we again find no support for the presumed link between ambition and aptitude”

Emily Reit, Frank Flynn | Does ambition correspond to leadership aptitude?

This can emphasize the fact that, actually, there might not be much of a correlation between ambition and performance.

You might agree that having a skill and having ambition, can be treated separately.

There simply might not be a reason to strive.

I know that in my own experience, I definitely didn’t have a clear vision.

Even though I worked hard, and faced a lot of failures and mistakes.

It might actually just be a matter of time before someone finds ambition towards something meaningful they can strive for.

This especially the case with children, we might think that they might have ambition. However in reality, it possibly the case that they just haven’t found something meaningful that they can strive for.

“It can take some time for people to find something meaningful, once they do, they’ve found something they can be ambitious about.”

So, Can ambition be taught?

In most cases yet, I wouldn’t say taught, but more so inspired.

I don’t think that you can actually force an individual to be ambitious, or instruct them on how to do so.

It really needs to come from within them.

Quote on how ambitious people don’t really need to be pushed.

Ambition alone is often what pulls them.

I’ve experiences this, most definitely.

I’ve often been forced to engage in activities where I wasn’t passionate, nor ambitious enough to strive.

However, when I pursued art and design, ambition often just landed on me.

I didn’t need to find or be taught about it.

It was something that just came to me naturally, and it was just a case of finding something that I truly resonated with.

So, can ambition be taught?

We can teach a person to work hard in a specific skill, but ambition really comes from within oneself.

I would say that we can inspire someone, but we can’t really teach it as a skillset.

It’s more of an attribute.

Once we find something we have passion for and a big vision, we’ll find the ambition to strive automatically.

7 Simple Ideas To Teach Or Inspire Ambition.

Now that we’ve covered, whether we can actually teach ambition.

Let’s just over at least five away you can teach or how you can inspire one to develop this trait.

I’ve tried to include some handy points that would work over almost any age group.

#1: Bring out what their capable of.

There’s a lot that we might know about our friends and loved ones, but do we really know what fires them up enough to be ambitious.

Even though they might have capabilities, they might not necessarily be aware of it or believe in the fact they have it within them.

To help them find something to be ambitious about, we need to bring back the faith they have in themselves and their set capabilities

Even when we see that someone has failed, it’s still important to help them understand what they’re really made of, i explore this in more detail when I wrote a post on the 6 Easy and simple Methods To Help Others Overcome Failure?

Every single one of us has capabilities for greatness and ambition, it’s just a case of bringing clarity and belief to that fact.

#2: Strictness can help to an extent.

We know that some people might get a little too comfortable and might not have the drive to strive at all.

A little strictness and boundary setting can really help.

Sometimes it’s only when were really pushed to the corner that we actually find the ambition within ourselves to actually strive.

This works particularly well in with children.

Taking certain things away might cause some temporary pain.

However, it’ll truly bring the best in them, they’ll be put in a space where they can find something they love and become ambitious enough to strive.

Setting simple tasks that they have to work towards, can contribute towards helping them cultivate this valuable trait of ambition.

Examples of restrictionHow it helps to build ambition.
FinancesAmbitious and creative about finding other means of cashflow.
TimeMake full and productive use of time that already have.
Resources / toolsWillingness and innovative to find a way to make things work and achieve the goal regardless.
Table on restricting certain resources to how it can bring our ambition within ourselves.

Above was just a simple example of how restriction can actually bring out that ambition in us.

I understand it might be uncomfortable to an extent, that essentially one of the things that can bring our the best in us.

I’d really like to include an amazing point made by Candis Mclean in the Gale Academic ONEFILE, who beautifully quotes in her article that,

“this sort of experience leaves scars, but it gave my children strength, realism, self-reliance and character. We had to allow them to step out, make their own way and their own mistakes”.

Candis Mclean | How do you teach ambition?

This sets in stone the fact that we might need to go through some uncomfortable experience, because, it is those experience that gives the ambition to pursue all the that we want to.

#3: Don’t force it upon them.

Forcing one to be ambitious about their life doesn’t really work, especially in my experience.

I remember when my uncle tried to get me to be ambitious about science, trust me, it never happened. I just couldn’t find that drive to pursue it.

All it took was switching into a creative field where that ambition automatically found me without effort.

To the point where, hard work simply felt like play.

So it might be wise to first find what really make someone tick, once you do, ambition will be instilled in them without you even trying.

All it really takes is some self-discovery.

#4: Ask them where they see themselves.

In order to find ambition, helping one set a vision can really help them find clarity as to where they want to take their lives.

It’s really only with this level of clarity that people find that inspiration and ambition to really pursue something.

Whether It’s something as simple as pursuing a college degree or the grand invention of a new application. It’s important to see ourselves doing this so that we can cultivate the ambition to see things through.

This is actually my favourite question since, it enables us to focus on what is ahead of us and leave the past behind. A question that truly sparks hope in an individual, even it they feel incapable in some way.

It’s also my favourite job interview question.

#5: Vision Boards Can Help Inspire Ambition To Pursue.

Verbalizing can be a fantastic way to communicate and express ourselves in order to find what were ambitious about. What about putting it all on paper in some way?

This where I believe vision boards can be powerful, placing pictures, text or diagrams can really help us put things in perspective and give us an idea of what we actually want out of life.

So the next time you’re inspiring or teaching the trait of ambition, a vision board can help inspire them to work towards the things that they really want.

Be sure to keep an open mind, try not to be limited in what possible for you.

There nothing worse than people diminishing our dreams and the things that we want. This can destroy that drive to find ambition within ourselves and others, it also destroys trust, which is not good.

Vision boards can also help determine what our purpose might be, however i understand how it can be difficult to find purpose, here’s 8 Best Things I Do When I Can’t Find My Purpose In Life.

However, putting together a vision board and placing in a room to look at everyday, won’t necessarily be enough to actually bring what we want into practical reality.

This is where goals setting comes in, how we practically apply that ambition.

#6: Failure is ok, especially when learning from it.

Now that they’ve started to execute, its important to help the realise that, failure is ok and we will make mistakes along the way.

When working towards our ambition, certain things may not go as planned and that’s perfelcty fine.

I’ve definitely faced a tone of failure, and I’ve understood that it’s all just part of the process to help us on the road to where we see ourselves.

In fact, I’ve written a whole article about that you might like. Breaking the cycle of failure is definitely possible.

How To Deal With Constant Failure, Break The Cycle (5 things you need to know).

Helping them understand that they will fail even thought they are ambitious, is beneficial, however at the same time reassuring them that is all part of the story and will only help them become better.

#7: Role models Can Give Hope.

Enabling someone to look up to certain role models can help them understand that, those who they strive to be like, had to have ambition to get to that position.

I definitely know that when I read stories of those who struggles like, Gary Vaynerchuck, it gave me hope.

In fact that, even though you might have set backs and triumphs, there really no excuse for you not to follow your ambition.

Reading stories can of those like us who overcame challenges can give us lot of confidence that it is also possible for us, to achieve the things that we really want.

It’s Your Turn

I’m confident that this article will give you some clarity on, whether or not ambition can be taught.

Along with 7 interesting way that might be taught or inspired into someone.

To summarize, ambition is really a trait, and it often has different meanings to each one of us.

It can depend on things like socio-economic background, individual personality traits, upbringing, strengths, weakness and much more.

However, fundamentally it can come down to having a strong vision, believe and conviction towards a certain goal that you’d like to achieve.

A goal that is larger than most.

When chasing a goal that is rather large, you’re considered ambition by most.

I’d love your feedback in the comment and how you manage to cultivate this trait into your daily lives, it can also help me learn.

I shall also try my best to update the article when i come across some more interesting research upon this topic. I also aim to make a video about this, so stay tuned.

Feel free to share this post, to provide others with bit more insight

Thank you for reading, it would be great to have a conversation in the comments.

Published by Kunaal Bakrania

An individual passionate about developing mental and emotional resilience in daily life. Through my experience and knowledge, I'm on a mission to help others cultivate strength within themselves and create a life of true fulfilment.

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