Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

-Salvador Dali


In the past few weeks we have talked about qualifications and winning and topics that focus on one’s ability to achieve or move forward in society. Ambition is an interesting topic because without it, there is no way to succeed. It is important to be intelligent and talented and creative, but at the end of the day, ambition is what makes you reach for the stars.


Ambition is one of the best qualities a person can have. It means that they will stop at nothing to make their dreams a reality. Currently, I work at a co-working space for physical product innovation and manufacturing. Every day I get to work with passionate, driven people whose ambition has pushed them to believe in the reality of their dreams. I see people around me creating demand around an issue they care about and making job titles that did not previously exist. Not all of these people have an engineering background or the wherewithal to start manufacturing a product based off of one good idea. Ultimately, I see these people achieving great amounts of success because they did not let this barrier to entry stop them from making their product a reality. They had an idea, and their ambition drove them to success, disregarding a lack of formal education or experience in manufacturing. Without ambition, these people would not have succeeded in making their dreams a reality.

In many industries, one can observe this phenomenon of people, who on paper lack the necessary skills and education, achieving their dreams because an ambitious attitude pushed them to work harder than those around them. There’s a great article that is posted in the New York Times every Saturday. The New York Times Corner Office is an interview series conducted between journalist, Adam Bryant and a plethora of successful CEO’s across many industries. This article is different than many because it does not talk about the company, or sales or the future of the industry. Rather, it focusses on the executive’s personal life and how he/she got to this point in his/her career. Over and over, I see amazing people that have achieved great things with a variety of overwhelming circumstances. These people are successful, not because of their background or their education, but because of their ambition. Last week, the interview was with a CEO of a major software company. She talked about her first real job as an assistant to an account executive at a hotel chain. She noticed early on that all of the accounts executives had accounts that they cared about, and what she called “dog accounts.” She convinced the sales manager to give her all of the “dog accounts,” and in a matter of months, she turned all of the dog accounts into profitable clients. This was a turning point for her career, and it shows her ambitious character. Week after week, I read stories of individuals that took similar risks and chances to distinguish themselves and move their careers forward. This is all based on ambition.

As you progress in school and your career, what is your “dog account” scenario? What will be your hurdle to jump to meet your personal goals? The sooner you identify this, the closer you are to achieving your dreams.

-          Bria