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Humility Or Ambition: Which One To Follow In Your Life’s Journey

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Balance

When it comes to making the choice of whether to pursue humility or ambition, there really is no right answer. But there is an answer that is better suited to your life goals. You may find that unfettered ambition is the quality that will land you that executive job. Or you may find that humility better suits your charitable goals.

You may even find that you fluctuate between qualities as needed, that they aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. But without one right choice, it’s up to you to read each individual situation and choose an appropriate strategy.

You’ve got more doors open than you realize

A lot of opportunities get missed when you think they aren’t viable options. The key to unlocking them? Ambition. Sometimes it needn’t take more than a simple ambitious ask, like for a promotion or a raise, or asking someone out on a date.

Of course, asks should be tactful and adjusted for the existing status of relationship between two parties. For example, asking a friend out on a date might be different than asking a stranger. You could take the humbler approach of waiting for these opportunities to be offered to you, but there’s no guarantee and you’ll probably be waiting a while. So take action and ask for it. The worst that could happen is that you hear ‘no.’

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

One quality can lend itself to myriad qualities

On the ambition side, you open yourself up to acquiring and fostering a range of other qualities that will help you fulfill your life’s journey to the fullest. Perseverance is perhaps the most useful quality to pair with ambition, as ambition does not guarantee success. It takes perseverance, that potent combination of grit and resilience.

Perseverance is what will compel your ambition to carry on in the face of adversity, bringing it to a victory or illuminating another path to success. Humility can be a helpful trait as well, lending itself to the development of altruism and effective relationship building.

A means to an end may surprise you

Reaching your goals is a more complex matter than using ambitious tactics for monumental outcomes, or humble tactics for greater good outcomes. Ambitious people can benefit from the qualities in congruence with humility, as relationships are an important component of realising success.

Without knowing how to navigate relationships with compassion, understanding, and selflessness, you are bound to burn bridges. Likewise, humble people can benefit from adopting characteristics of ambition to their life journey, like applying ambition to altruistic goals. Using ambitious measures, a typically humble person can accomplish things like charitable fundraising and expanding the scope of a project.

The stuff of good and great leaders

Arguably, good leaders possess some degree of humility and/or ambition. But great leaders have both in spades. Ambition lends itself to vision and drive, while humility builds compassion and reflection in a leader. Both qualities are capable of garnering respect and admiration from peers, friends, and colleagues alike.

Great leaders also know when to channel one quality over the other depending on circumstances, but never forgetting where to draw the line. Blind ambition doesn’t always bode well for leadership, as it may end up causing more harm than good. But blind humility doesn’t fare well either, as it may give the perception that a leader is weak or not discerning enough.

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” – Alexander the Great

By now you may have realized which one of these two admirable qualities you should follow in order to achieve the goals you set along the journey of life, broadly-speaking. Perhaps it is one or the other, or perhaps you’ve chosen to adopt an ambiguous usage of the two. It’s no coincidence that both qualities are also, in their own ways, qualities of mentally tough people. And there’s a lot to be said for mental toughness on life’s journey.

But no matter which quality you choose to focus on, rest assured that if it isn’t facilitating your journey, you can change it. You aren’t locked into any one way. So long as you take the time to occasionally reflect on your methods, you will be able to navigate the waters of your life’s journey and to roll with the inevitable setbacks.

Which one are you currently following? Humility or Ambition? Leave your thoughts below!

Elizabeth Lee is a business blogger, currently writing for PACK & SEND - experts in the field of transportation. Elizabeth is genuinely interested in personal growth, constantly reading self-improvement books and listening to motivational videos.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ewen Munro

    Nov 23, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Very good article. It comes to a balance much like everything in life. If there’s humility without ambition then most likely nothing gets done and if there’s ambition without humility then most likely everyone around you will be put off. My advice: find your balance. 😉 #keepgrowing #keepcreating

  2. James Liebke

    Nov 22, 2016 at 12:19 am

    what a great article. i am trying to be both ambitous and humble finding some success trying to balance the two out. its a long road to freedom.

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Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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how to increase your creativity faster
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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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Life

3 Psychological Facts That Can Unleash Your Inner Power

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how to unleash your inner power
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Some people will achieve great things. Others won’t. But why is that? We’re all just “talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe,” as Joe Rogan puts it. So why do some “talking monkeys” build 7 or 8 figure businesses, travel the world, and live the life of their dreams while the rest of us… well, wish we were living the life of our dreams. (more…)

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