I got a request from a reader to write about Ambition vs. Motivation.
I think both are critical, and I’m here for nothing if not to answer your questions, so here goes.
I was wondering if you could maybe address the topic of having ambition.
I feel that ambition and motivation are two completely different things.
Whereas ambition defines your goals, motivation is your drive to reach
your goals. I feel that I currently lack motivation because I am not
sure of what I want in life. That is, I don’t know how ambitious I am. I
don’t know what my priorities in life really are. I’ve tried so many
things in the past year since I started focusing on self development,
and once I feel confident I can become really good at something I
usually lose interest in that area.
Here is my open-letter reply:
It sounds like you might have a case of overconfidence.
How do you know you can become good at something, unless you stick with it until the end?
Is your “feeling confident” perhaps preventing you from sticking with anything long enough to truly master it?
This could be your fear of failure (or success) preventing you from actually risking failure (or success).
Or maybe you just haven’t figure out what you really love in life yet.
Every man must figure out what he really loves (his mission, or purpose.)
(Just to clarify, our Mission or Purpose is the thing that we alone are uniquely suited to do in the world. Nobody else can do it better.)
He must do that purpose into the ground until he’s totally exhausted it.
Typically he’ll feel “in a void” for a while after this. Normal. If he sits with it, he’ll get a clear sign from intuition about what he’s supposed to do next.
It might require a total change. Uproot his family, change cities or jobs, etc. This, too, is normal.
That’s the cycle by which I’ve lived my life. The death of my old purpose inevitably leads to the birth of the next purpose.
If you are really feeling at a loss for what your purpose in life is, here is a good basic purpose / mission for any man to pursue to get things moving:
1) Health – become free of physical or mental health problems. Free yourself from any mental or physical addictions (cigarettes, porn, liquor)
2) Women – Succeed beyond your wildest dreams in relation to love & romance. Whether this means marriage, long-term partnership, permanent bachelorhood or any permutation, you won’t find us judging.
This is enough to occupy most men’s time for a good solid decade. Even just ironing out the persistent problems most of us have with our mental health can take a decade.
If you are having trouble summoning the motivation to go about these daily tasks that are required to get your health, wealth & women in order (don’t worry, it happens to all of us) then you must make motivation itself your daily habit: to paraphrase Somerset Maughham, “I only work at my goals when I feel motivated. Luckily I feel motivated every day at 7am, after spending an hour getting myself motivated.“
I’ll close with an inspiring video which hits on the same point from a different angle: