Ambition doesn't exist
Are you dreaming of becoming the next Apple? The next Google? The truth is that most of the well known entrepreneurs had no ambition. Some got it with time, others never did. Yet, they built giant companies. Therefore, is ambition that important? No.
We misunderstand the meaning of “ambition”
Ambition isn't an end goal it's a journey
The peculiarity of ambition is that it does not stop, it is not a destination nor an objective. It has no ending since the real ambition is constantly being pushed further: you reach a goal and once you get there, you are already thinking about the next one, to go further, higher.
The "ambition process" often gives the impression of eternal dissatisfaction. Marcel Dassault, founder of the eponymous planes, presented the prototype of a new plane. The plane was not yet approved, it was only undergoing its first flight tests, but Dassault was already talking about his next plane after that one, its name, history etc...
This example shows the process that leads to “being ambitious”: constantly thinking about the next step. It allows you to push back the limits, push back the objectives and unwittingly to go further.
But in reality, people who do that aren’t intentionally making it happen, it is stronger than them. Those who are constantly thinking about the next step are more likely to naturally enter into this ambition process. However (and this is a key point), this does not mean that only those types of people are ambitious, nor that all those who continuously think of the next steps will have ambition.
The best entrepreneurs had no ambition
We have reviewed hundreds of hours of interviews of many great entrepreneurs, especially from when they were in their early days. We quickly realized that ambition - especially so early in the history of a startup - is irrelevant. We also noticed that those who succeeded had no ambition, only passion for what they’re doing and an excellent product market fit.
Steve Jobs (Apple’s CEO)
We just made it for ourselves. We showed it to our friends and they all wanted one. So we were busy making these computers by hand for our friends. It was taking all of our life. So we decided it’s better to manufacture them. We didn’t think about starting a company. We were just doing it for ourselves, then our friends, and the circle get bigger and bigger. Now there’s 25 million people.
Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google’s cofounders)
We were working on our Phd and we accidentally happen across better search technology. So we didn’t even attend to build a search engine, we just fell into it.
We went to Yahoo! and they told us to create a company.
Steve Wozniak (Apple’s CTO)
I was not designing a computer with any idea of starting a company, having a product or be successful.
It was just to go down to the club and show off.
A simple lesson: stop chasing ambition. It doesn't matter, at least in the early stages.
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