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Why You Must Be Ambitious, Even During A Crisis

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read
Why You Must Be Ambitious, Even During A Crisis

The question isn’t whether you should be ambitious during a crisis.

It should be, why you must be ambitious.

Firstly, “ambition” is probably one of the most misunderstood words, just like “self-interest”.

The best economic benefit for all can usually be accomplished when individuals act in their self-interest.

~Adam Smith

Self-interest does not mean being selfish.

Likewise, being ambitious isn’t all about self either.

Via Ron Carucci:

Ambition is a natural, healthy aspect of being a leader.

Framework for ambition

Carucci presents his framework for ambition into three dimensions in the table below. The three dimensions are:

  1. Performance
  2. Growth
  3. Achievement

The 3 Ships

Just like self-interest and ambitions, vision is another widely misunderstood word.

Vision, to me, is the end-in-mind or desired outcome.

Your vision must be compelling. Because there is no such thing as a lack of motivation. In reality, it’s the lack of compelling visions.

Like Carucci, I have three dimensions of compelling visions. I called them the 3 Ships:

  • Discipleship
  • Relationship
  • Leadership

Discipleship. Some people called this personal mastery. For me, it is about the self-discipline of the body, mind, and spirit.

As a follower of Jesus, my vision in the discipleship domain is: do God's work.

As a Child of God, I belong to God and desired to be used by God to do His will.

Relationship. This dimension focuses on my relationship with the people that matter most to me. They include my wife and kids, our parents and siblings, as well as our closest friends.

For me, it isn’t simply about building great relationships with them. It is also about encouraging and supporting them in their growth.

My vision in the relationship domain is: Lead like Jesus.

Leadership. Leadership is influence with integrity. In this dimension, the focus is on work. Meaningful work that not only allows me to use my God-given talent, but also to make a positive impact on the world.

This dimension is the easiest of the three for me. My vision in the leadership domain is: Multiply Talents.

I believe each and every one of us has a God-given talent. There are some who are ignorant of it, some chose to ignore it, some denied it, some use it for their own good, while others use it to benefit others too.

You must be ambitious

Here’s back to our question from the start.

The reason each and every one of us must be ambitious is because:

Ambition is a natural, healthy aspect of being a leader. Your innate desires to perform at your best, to grow and become better, and to achieve rewards from your efforts, all reflect your unique identities. These desires can be instructive if you study and harness them. As you consider future career paths, refine your sense of purpose in the world, or strengthen your leadership for broader opportunities, your ambitions can serve as a compass, guiding you toward the fulfilled and impacting leader you’ve imagined becoming.

~Ron Carucci

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.