Advertising
Advertising

5 Phrases An Ambitious Person Will Never Say

5 Phrases An Ambitious Person Will Never Say

We all have dreams and aspirations, and many of us will follow through on those dreams and achieve exactly what we desire. However, the path to achieving those dreams isn’t always straight and narrow. It takes a lot of work to get to where you want to go, so if you want to be a successful person, you need to surround yourself with positivity. That’s why we have compiled a list of five phrases that ambitious people just don’t abide.

“I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Your capacity for work in the present is limited, sure, but many people give themselves short shrift by waiting to complete something until later. Olin Miller said, “If you want to make an easy job seem hard seem mighty hard, just put off doing it.” He was right. Successful people never delay until later, until tomorrow. They enjoy challenges, sometimes they even go out of their way to create hurdles to overcome. Don’t procrastinate. It only hinders you.

Advertising

“That’s not my job.”

When you work someplace, you are thoroughly invested in their mission. Regardless of your level on the totem pole, you are should try not to shirk your responsibilities. Even Abraham Lincoln had a little bit of this in him when he said, “My father taught me to work. He didn’t teach me to like it.”  If the most well-liked president in U.S. history got to where he is by putting his nose to the grindstone and just working hard, then you can get to where you want to be by going the extra mile. When you are an ambitious person, everything is your job.

Advertising

“Whose fault was it?”

This one is very important. In business settings, or any formal settings for that matter, blame and laying of fault should be entirely abandoned. The idea of blaming someone for some error is wrong on some many fronts; it causes you to assign a negative value to some sort of outcome, when it very well can be labeled as a success. It then causes you to take time out to single someone out and diminish their value, often in front of others. Lack of success among groups is often the result of a lack of communication. As Arnold Glasow said, “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

Advertising

“No.”

This is a broad one, but it digs deep at a central tendency of ambitious people: they tend to think anything is possible, regardless of how far-fetched, difficult, or absurd that thing may be. Thomas Edison’s thoughts best encapsulate this one: “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that don’t work.” He didn’t give up, nor did he decide at any point that the creation of a light bulb must be impossible. He continued over and over and over, thinking of creative solutions to solve a problem other people weren’t even aware of at the time. And he succeeded, all because he didn’t say, “No.”

“That doesn’t interest me.”

Salvador Dali put it best when he said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” An ambitious person tends to be interested in everything. They make it a hobby to learn new facts and acquire new skills, thereby creating new ways by which to succeed. Whether it is the marketing manager who applies the analytic side of calculus to his work, or the scientist who paints in her free time, ambitious people are constantly expanding their horizons by trying new things and applying them centrally to what they care about most.

Featured photo credit: Black-and-white portrait of an ambitious business guy wearing sunglasses via shutterstock.com

Advertising

More by this author

25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going 10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert 4 Ways Extreme Races Change Your View 4 Ways Baseball is the Perfect Metaphor for Life 5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next