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Ambition >> Desire

This post is going to serve a number of purposes:


  • A recap of previous posts on On The Ball trait topics

  • A review of the Blueprint to Achiever

  • Why Ambition is the “Trigger Trait” that tips Believers to Achievers


Thus far, we’ve covered a number of traits that many people possess, and are wonderful, positive attributes to have. As we review them, however, you will likely think of friends, work colleagues, and possibly even family members, who you think don’t possess all of these, or you wish would work at improving these essential skills. They are all building blocks to at least being a Believer within the On The Ball framework.


  • We started with Integrity – The Foundational Trait, and focused on the need for being trustworthy, holding yourself accountable for your actions, acting responsibly, and being reliable to those around you. You can have all of the other traits that are outlined below, but it is really difficult to consider someone as On The Ball who doesn’t have Integrity.

  • This was followed by The Power of Curiosity: Unlocking the Benefits of Lifelong Learning. The post opened with a quote from Samuel Johnson’s The Rambler that stated “Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.” Being open minded and continue to expand our knowledge is critical to success.

  • Next was The Right Diagnosis – Understanding the Problem is Halfway to Solving It. This spirit of appropriate problem recognition is reflected in Kidlin’s Law, which is a problem solving theory stating “If you write the problem down clearly, then the matter is half solved.” The post explores the criticality of the importance of understanding the root cause of an issue, and leveraging other traits to do so.

  • Earlier this year we published Listening – The Cornerstone of Communications which explored the foundational importance of understanding the message from those we engage with. It included a quote attributed to Roy T Bennett which said “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” This aligns so well with a number of the On The Ball Theory traits, and ties together previous discussions about Curiosity and Integrity.

  • And finally, the most recent blog post was Collaboration – Two Heads Are Better Than One, and examined the theme that the best way to leverage an interactive approach to problem solving was to engage others who think slightly differently than you do, in order to gain different perspectives and options to solutions for problems.


These five traits serve as the initial building blocks in the Blueprint to Achiever, and are essential to being at least a Believer within the overall On The Ball Theory framework. If we assume you have command of this series of traits, then your Problem Recognition trait alone would suggest that you know there is a ball to be on, and therefore not a “3” or a “4” within the framework. But our next trait becomes a key tipping point between Believers and Achievers, and why we refer to it as the “Trigger Trait.”


All of these traits are enhanced with Ambition. It is the catalyst the propels Believers to Achievers, and reach the goals and objectives we set for ourselves.


But let’s take a moment and define Ambition. It is a trait greater than desire. We all want or desire things in life. I want to finish this project by the end of the month. A new job or a promotion at work would be desirable. I want to live a healthier lifestyle. Desiring things, and dreaming of big dreams is good at times, some might even say healthy. However, achieving them does not happen without action. And chances are the more you want or desire something, the harder it is to achieve it. As a result, the effort to achieve those things requires action, motivation, perseverance, sometimes even courage, in the face of the obstacles that we come across along the way to accomplish the task at hand. Without Ambition, personal success would remain elusive, but with it, the possibilities are endless.


Ambition is also not a dirty word. Sometimes we associate Ambition with greed, or being ruthless, in the pursuit of success. But those are people we should associate into a category that actually lack Integrity, and it’s a deficiency or complete absence of that trait that makes us question whether they are really On The Ball or not.


It is that Ambition trigger, that willingness to take that first step, that is so crucial in making a difference in the journey. Ryan Blair is credited with the saying “If it is important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” Contained in that phrase is the tipping point of deciding if something is important enough to you to begin to take action.


Ambition also helps individuals to discover their full potential and realize their true capabilities. By setting high goals, you challenge yourself to go beyond your limits and push yourself to achieve more. This process of self-discovery and personal growth is critical to building confidence and self-esteem, which are essential qualities for success in any area of life.


Earlier we mentioned perseverance as part of our definition of Ambition. Perseverance is the ability to persist through challenges, setbacks, and failures without losing sight of one's goals. Perseverance is important in life because it enables us to overcome obstacles and achieve our aspirations. Without perseverance, it is easy to become disheartened and give up on our objectives. It is one thing to say “go”, but it is another thing to make it to the finish line.


One of the significant benefits of perseverance is that it develops resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. In life, we are bound to face challenges, and those who are persistent and determined are better equipped to deal with them. The ability to persevere through challenges instills confidence, conviction, and courage, leading to a sense of accomplishment when we overcome obstacles. There is no harm in Collaborating with others in this journey. Whether it is family members, friends, or colleagues, interacting with others, and leveraging them as necessary, is important in facing those challenges.


Perseverance is also essential for personal growth and development. When we encounter obstacles, we learn valuable lessons that can help us grow and become better versions of ourselves. Failure is not the end of the road, but rather an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, make adjustments, and try again. Perseverance allows us to pursue our goals, learn from our experiences as a form of our Curiosity, and develop into better individuals.


Ambition is also important because it fosters creativity and innovation. Our Conceivers, a subset of Achievers, are individuals that are always looking for new and better ways to realize their goals, which requires them to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. This innovative mindset is essential for success in today's rapidly changing and competitive world.


Finally, Ambition and perseverance are essential for achieving long-term goals. Often, the things that matter most to us take time and effort, and may even take a Plan and some Leadership, to accomplish. Without perseverance, it is easy to get sidetracked or distracted by other things, leading to a lack of progress towards our goals. By staying focused and determined, we can make steady progress towards our aspirations, even when faced with challenges or setbacks.


Thomas Edison is known for a famous quote “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” We can separately debate how well Edison scores on other On The Ball Traits, but one thing Edison did not lack was Ambition. His ninety-nine percent perspiration encapsulates the essence of success through Ambition, hard work, and perseverance. In his pursuit of an improved, commercially viable light bulb, he acknowledged he found “10,000 ways that it didn’t work” before he found the way it would work. While many desired something better and safer than candlelight and lanterns, Edison’s Ambition provided new sources of light around the world.

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