Is a person born with ambition or is it a learned trait? The dictionary definition of ambition is: A strong desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring determination or hard work. Since ‘determination and hard work’ are not qualities inherent within each person, I would deduce ambition to be a learned trait. It is a driving force behind success, because when determination outweighs setbacks on the path toward a goal, then that muscle called ‘ambition’ becomes strengthened. Each bump on the road can be viewed as an opportunity to boost determination. After all, it’s not what happens to us that matter as much as how we handle it.

There will usually be obstacles along any journey to success. The key is to ride through the blockages, without getting worn down. These bumps are thrown in by life as strength-builders. They show up as tests; they force us to see outside the box; they question our intention. But in reality, these scenarios are character builders leading to ambition, leading to the final goal. Because nothing comes to those who quit; who walk away. If your goal is big, then it will take a big state of mind to achieve it. Small goals are for small lives. But the larger the goal, the stronger the ambition-muscle must be to conquer the goal.

Let’s use Mrs. Debbie Fields as an example. She really wanted to do something for herself, but her main talent was baking cookies. Being told by everyone around her that baking cookies was not a legitimate way to spend her time, she decided to listen to her heart instead of the opinions of those around her. So she took a risk, going forward with her dream. She hit blocks along the way because banks were reluctant to loan her money for such a business (this was at a time when cookie, cupcake and coffee shops were not a trend). But her determination won, because she was able to lock in a loan.

The opening day of her bakery, she quickly realized customers were not walking into her store. This was another bump along her path. Again, her determination fueled her ambition-muscle. Intent on showcasing her cookies to the community, she was not going to let her store go unrecognized. So she took to the streets, with her cookies in tow. People began buying from her, and eventually made their way to the actual store. Another hurdle had been walked over. By this time, her muscle of ambition had become part of her nature. So she calculated how many cookies to sell per hour, to become profitable. She set that goal, and was determined to reach it. So one cookie at a time, she eventually outgrew her single store, becoming a nationwide retail chain. Then her company developed packages to sell to other retail chains. Her story is an inspiring one of dedication, perseverance and personal growth.

A cookie, product, or any service cannot sell on it’s own if the driving force is not there. Some people think if a product is good enough, it should multiply in sales. That is wishful thinking. The ambition of the product owner is what multiplies sales. It is the energy behind the tangible item giving it the momentum for takeoff. So the next time you think you can’t get to your goal, think again. Nothing comes overnight. But anything we want in life does come to us if we are patient with the path and use each setback as an opportunity to strengthen our ambition.