Denis Waitley (Author; The Psychology of Winning)
“I attract a crowd, not because I’m an extrovert or I’m over the top or I’m oozing with charisma. It’s because I care.”
Gary Vaynerchuk (Co-Founder and CEO; Vayner Media)
“Pursuing your passions makes you more interesting, and interesting people are enchanting.”
Guy Kawasaki (Author; The Art of the Start)
Ambition is much more attractive than safety.
My friend Jon told me on a Friday that he was dropping out of our Ph.D. program. He was going to be a fireman instead. I thought he was nuts, which was weird to think because I’d been dreaming of dropping out for months. When he told me, I was concerned and annoyed at the same time. Here’s what went through my head (I’m not proud of this):
You’re an idiot. You’ll never get a chance to be a doctor again. You won’t make as much money. Why are you doing this? Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Should I quit too? Is there something wrong with me?
Wait, what if he goes on to be more successful than me? Who does he think he is? What’s wrong with him? I guess he couldn’t cut it in grad school. I must be better than him. I feel sorry for him. I should keep tabs on him.
My first girlfriend in high school wasn’t the prettiest girl in school. But she played tennis and was on the dance team. She was also in every honors class. We couldn’t spend a lot of time together because she was involved in so many different things. I’m pretty sure all of these things were more important to her than me. But I kept vying for her attention anyway. I was drawn to her. Why?
The Benefits Of Being Ambitious
It’s amazing how our brains react to ambitious people, especially when these people risk everything for their goals. On the one hand, we’re inspired by ambition. We read books and watch movies like Rudy and The Pursuit Of Happyness about people who devote themselves completely to a single dream. On the other hand, we scoff at people who seemingly give up the world for what looks like a fleeting fancy. Everyone has felt the urge to protect (or even prevent) friends, family members, and colleagues from giving up too much for their goals.
The truth is risking everything for your dreams doesn’t involve much risk at all. In fact, this kind of risky behavior comes with a lot of benefits. Here are 13 reasons to go all in on your biggest goals:
1. Animal magnetism.
Ambition is sexy. A survey by Match.com found that two-thirds of women between the ages of 25 and 34 considered ambition and career motivation the most important factors in a man’s sex appeal. But it’s not just women who find ambition attractive.
A Northwestern University study found that men and women are equally drawn to ambitious members of the opposite sex. During the study, researchers scrutinized the romantic lives of participants and their prospects within and outside of speed-dating events.
The results showed that, regardless of gender, participants favored prospects with the most ambition. The only difference was that men, according to a pre-date survey, didn’t consciously realize how much they were going to be attracted to ambition.
2. 33% better odds and 9X more money.
Studies out of Virginia Tech and Dominican University in California show that people who write down their goals are 33% more likely to achieve them.
They also make 9X as much money. Nine. Times.
3. The top 1%.
The same studies (see #2) show that only 20% of Americans even have goals. Only 4% write down their goals.
And less than 1% continue to update and review their goals.
4. A 100+ year legacy.
I’ve heard it said that you die twice in life. Once when you stop breathing and again when someone says your name for the last time.
I don’t know my Great, Great Grandfather’s name. I even checked Ancestry.com. He lived only 4 generations before me. By definition, a generation counts for about 20 years.
So even if you do know your Great, Great Grandfather, that’s only an 80-year legacy. What if you want to leave an 800-year legacy, or an 8,000-year legacy?
The key is having big goals and risking everything to achieve them. There’s no other way. This might mean writing a screenplay, starting a foundation, or creating a product that changes people’s lives. Either way, it starts with a goal and a decision to go after it.
5. Anything is possible. Like really. Anything.
Google is creating an army of robot animals.
Virgin Galactic is offering Suborbital spaceflights.
A guy named Felix Baumgartner broke 4 world records parachuting from the stratosphere. Human beings have cured deadly diseases like Polio and Pertusses, sent men and women into outer space, and connected the world with the Internet. This means it’s possible for you to start your own business, publish a book, or take your dream vacation. Whatever your goals are; they’re possible.
6. News flash, you’re going to die.
It sucks. I know. And it’s either going to happen really quickly or it’s going to be long and drawn out. If it happens quickly, you won’t have time to prepare. If it’s long and drawn out, at least half of your remaining time will be devoted to fighting against it. Not to mention that you might be sicker and weaker. Sorry. This isn’t a very upbeat message. But if you use it in the right way, it’s highly motivational.
You’re alive now. But death is coming. Go after your goals. Hustle. Before it’s too late.
7. Yep, there’s nothing to lose.
You hate to lose things. So do I. No one wants to give up anything, especially options. It’s human nature to collect, store, and stockpile options – options like possessions, relationships, and experiences. This is why procrastination and obsessive planning are so easy to do. They both allow you to revel in every option without having to make a choice or take action. The problem is that thinking about your dream isn’t the same as living out your dream.
Most people resist decisive action because they’re afraid of losing options. The truth is you’ll gain more options by taking action than you’ll lose. Doors open in response to forward motion. And anything you lose can always be won back. Always.
8. Bankruptcy isn’t so bad.
I went through this growing up and it really wasn’t that bad. It made me more self-reliant and creative.
In fact, it was so good for me that I have big plans to go bankrupt once I have kids. Seriously. I can’t wait to leverage everything I have towards one massive dream that could either pay off massively or make me lose everything.
(If you’re a potential investor or IRS agent, I’m totally kidding).
Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your record for 7 years and Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your record for 10 years. Big deal. I was in college for longer than that living on tuna packets and peanut butter, sleeping on a futon without a frame, and sharing a one-bath off-campus shanty with 5 other people. It was the time of my life.
9. Worst case scenario, you get some of your taxes back.
Let’s say you put it all on the line to start a business or to chase some other dream and you fail big time. Let’s say you fall flat on your face and lose everything. Now what?
Maybe you have to sleep in your car, maybe you have to go onto Airbnb and find a couch to sleep on, or maybe you have to move in with a family member or friend and kiss up until you get back on your feet.
You might have to get a job waiting tables or working at McDonalds. Worst case scenario is that you’ll have to get on unemployment, collect food stamps, and sign up for Medicaid or similar. The key is that you’ll be alive and capable of working to improve your situation while you’re going through this.
Most worst case scenarios are simply fresh starts.
10. Safety is really an obstacle.
Safety is the single biggest obstacle between you and your dreams. Safety is that nagging voice in your ear telling you to wait or retreat right when you’re getting ready to do something big. Safety is that warm it’s-okay-at-least-you-came-this-far feeling that sticks it’s foot out to trip you up just as you start building momentum. Safety is the same old routine. It’s the vice you’ve quit and come back to over 100 times. It’s the 9-5 job you’re showing up to on Monday. Safety is the destroyer of greatness.
11. No one admires the timid.
“I wish I was more timid.” Said no one. Ever.
Timidity is a trait that most people despise, both in themselves and others. Being timid means showing a lack of courage and confidence. It means being easily frightened. Timid people don’t end up in history books.
The best and fastest way to gain more respect, both from other people and yourself, is by setting bold goals and going after them confidently.
Don’t confuse timidity with humility, meekness, or introversion, which can all be positive traits. Your behavior doesn’t have to be bold, but your work does.
12. You get to be a kid again.
Small kids wake up every day jumping up and down in their cribs or beds, excited simply because it’s the beginning of a new day. Once they’re dressed, they fly around, entertaining themselves with anything and everything and constantly testing the boundaries between what’s allowed and what’s not. If they don’t get their way, they throw a temper tantrum until they do, or they move on to something else and try to get their way later.
This is what your life looks like when you start chasing a dream too. You feel energized. You explode out of bed and attack the day like a curious and determined kid. You wrap yourself up in a bunch of different projects that all overlap with one big purpose. You stop taking “no” for an answer and start bending all of the rules that you don’t like. You start having fun.
13. Proving other people wrong feels so right.
The only thing that makes a hater angrier than setting a goal is achieving it.
Once you set a goal, you have something to prove. Now you have to prove to everyone that you can accomplish it. Goals come with accountability. Accountability is scary. That’s why a lot of people refuse to set goals (see #3).
Most people hate risk so much that they get defensive even when it’s someone else who is taking on the risk. These people will tell you everything that can go wrong. They act like they’re saving you from a mistake but really they’re trying to justify their own indecision and lack of action.
Ignore everything these people say except for the fact that they said it. Then go to work proving them wrong. And when you prove them wrong, enjoy it.
What’s one thing that you would add to this list? Write it down in a comment below.