Dictionary.com defines “ambition” as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.” From this simple definition, no sane mind would contest the fact that ambition is a good human drive for attainment of set targets.
But let us stop to ask ourselves sincerely if there aren’t diverse ways of achieving one’s ends. Commonly, we have heard of many who said that “the end justifies the means”. By implication, whatever route or means taken by such personalities towards achieving their goals should be inconsequential as long as it yields their desired results. This has been the predominant trend in our societies till date. Unfortunately, it has succeeded in becoming the Achilles heels which account for more than 80% of the problem besieging our world today. Yes! All eyes are fixed on the prize but none wants to pay the price of sacrifice towards the attainment of the focused prize.
Like I wrote in one of my posts lately on Facebook, everyone wants a bountiful harvest, but nobody wants the preceding tasking labour that begets such bounties. More so now that the world has become so fast-paced that no one wants to go through the drills any longer to get what they want. “I need to acquire a Ferrari like my guy!” and voila! They start cutting corners and engaging in shady deals that gave Hushpuppy his kind of premature and ephemeral fame that suddenly withered away like a fallen flower and trashed like the dirt it was right from the very start!
And so, internet fraud becomes the means to an end – wealth, which by their definition means “success”. Banditry, swindling, and in my clime, ritual-based wealth become the rave of the moment. If by your own definition, becoming wealthy means acquiring wealth illegitimately with the belief that the end shall justify the means, then, your definition is nothing but devious!
May I, therefore, implore all youths aspiring to be successful in life to note that “it is better to fail in originality and good virtues than to succeed in devious imitations” (Herman Melville). This same approach has brought the world on its kneels today, while it has crashed the mighty like a petty lame. Look well to decipher between the confusing roads to your success because the road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.
How then do you determine the road to genuine success? First, you must be very hardworking. Like John D. Rockefeller once said, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have”. The right definition of “success” to me is when preparation meets opportunities. Prepare well by working very hard and opportunities shall locate you. This is confirmed in the scriptures: “seest thou a man diligent in his business (work), he shall stand before kings. He not stand before mean men.” (Proverbs 22:29)
Second, you must be ready to live for value by setting positive principles and living on tenets of discipline. As Albert Einstein advises, “try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value.” So, when it seems so tempting, say to that situation, “I will never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
Third, be passionate about what you do for a living. Do not let your primary focus be money. Rather, heed the admonition of Tony Hsieh, “stop chasing money and start chasing passion”, then you’ll see how money runs after you.
Fourth, do not be afraid to fail. No man is born perfect. If a child is scared to walk when he or she should, then, he/she might never walk. Success lies in failing but not in giving up. That is why Winston Churchill says “success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” and Thomas J. Watson corroborated this in his formula for success when he asks “would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: double your failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that’s where you will find success.”
Fifth, be confident always. No matter the situation, always be confident. This is because, “the only limit to our realization of tomorrow is our doubts of today.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Finally, be creative. Think of what you can create to add value to human existence and stop thinking of what you can snatch or grab from existence. Live to be remembered for good and not live to be cursed. When you live positive imprints in the sands of time, your success will even outlive you. But mind you, you can only achieve this with the right attitude and character as I cap it up with the words of Hellen Keller, “character cannot be developed in ease and quiet only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Wale Oladokun is a Teacher, an Educational Administrator, a Motivational Speaker and a blogger.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s degree in Cultural and Media Studies. He is an advocate of better governance and leadership in Nigeria.