The problem with ambition is that it requires determination and hard work. I hear a lot of people talk about “strong desires to achieve” something (the first part of the definition of ambition), but very few nowadays seem able to last the long time it sometimes takes to fulfill that goal. I frequently tell my students that there are no cheat codes or Staples “easy buttons” for the task I’ve assigned. Many don’t know what to do with that. They just kind of stand around and wait for the allotted time to expire… or someone else in the group to do it. Is that really a problem of “nowadays,” though? I mean, truly ambitious people never have been the norm.
After watching The Founder, the movie based on the McDonalds mogul, Ray Kroc (an appropriate name), I came to the conclusion that my brother was right. He told me back in 1988 or so that I was the type of person who would invent a product or develop an idea, sell it to him for a couple of hundred thousand dollars, and be content… while he took it and made millions. I guess ambition has levels. The McDonald Brothers were seeking an answer to long waits at drive-ins and frequent misorders. They developed what is now the system known as “fast food.” My family and I want students to be able to learn without having to attend a sterile, silent institution. Lawton Academy is a colorful, sometimes noisy educational facility with a proven track record of high achieving students. Both of us have been able to achieve a small nearly perfect solution. Our ambition IS the solution.
Mr. Kroc’s ambition was success, and his success came on the back of the McDonald Brothers’ solution. He achieved success, but the product was never quite as good as the original. For that very reason, I know that this school could never be franchised. The minute someone tried to turn it into a moneymaker, it would fail. We succeed because we keep costs low. Sure, it means we don’t turn much of a profit, but if profits are counted in the success of those we teach, we are indeed very rich. Hmmm… our solution is others’ success… Go figure!