‘Underlying factors that cause ambition – conscientiousness, extraversion, low neuroticism, general mental ability and parents’ occupational prestige.’
Terman life-cycles study
What did you imagine for yourself when you were younger? I can clearly remember dreaming and envisioning my career. Some girls dream of wedding dresses and children, I dreamt of smart business suits and making a difference through work. A recent BBC article shared that one young candidate who has had over 200 interviews and still no job shared there are so many applicants, his perception is that employers are actively looking for a reason not to hire him.
Young people account for 46% of the overall fall in employment during the pandemic, but they represent just one in nine of the workforce. Are they imagining a bright future?
When was the last time that you re-imagined your future? And I mean in a positive sense! Courageous Success a verb. It is a heartfelt emotive energy that when focused and consciously crafted and managed can drive success that can surpass the ordinary. I see Courageous Success clients surprise themselves at what they are capable of as they allow ambition back into not only their work and life, but themselves and their experience of being them.
HBR shares that ambition can often be confused with aspiration, ‘Aspiration involves striving towards a specific goal, whereas ambition is a trait’. Do you label ambition as negative, arrogance, or ego? In my experience many people do and we often see ourselves as unambitious too. What a shame. How about we see ambition as positive excited courageous energy? Energy that involves the focus and passion for what you believe in. Energy for getting what you want to experience, for getting the job at the 201st interview.
How many of us would give up at 200 interviews, or even get to the point of having that many?
Using more than 60 years of data that was accumulated from the Terman life-cycles study. The authors inspired factors that cause someone to have an ambitious personality, how do you measure up?
- Birth order – the younger the order the most ambitious (interesting).
- Ego driven – the bigger the sense of self the braver and the higher the ambition (yes self-awareness and authenticity!)
- Insecurity – people under extreme psychological pressure either opt-out of ambition or become extremely ambitious in an effort to change their life. (I do not know anyone who doesn’t doubt themselves).
- Being surrounded by others with more – can create a drive to compete. (Who does not want more…)
- The desire to be worthy – the want to prove yourself (well we all do that at work!)
- Self-confidence – the belief that you can reach your goals – (yes, a simple choice!)
- Desire to prove others wrong – not just rebelliousness but those who have experienced rejection (haven’t we all!) can become ambitious to prove to these who rejected them that they were wrong. (Love it, that ‘I’ll show you!’)
If you are someone who would consider themselves ambitious, make sure that you shape your ambition into something that has a positive impact on you and on others around you. Use this energy. If you don’t consider yourself ambitious are you missing out? Are others missing out on you?
Everyone reading this is conscientiousness. We all have times with the right people, place and situation when we are extroverts. Low neuroticism (‘a personality trait involving a long-term tendency to be in a negative or have an anxious emotional state) well we are all working on that but at least it is within our control! General mental ability, everyone reading this has this. Parents’ occupational prestige, there are many people who have proven that rags to riches can be a reality.
Go for it! Be you.