Building your ambition is building your enterprising skills: To consistently create new opportunities, to consistently take advantage of the opportunities you’ve created, to be aware, to face life with your eyes and ears open to the possibilities that might be just around the corner. Self-enterprising people always see the future in the present. Self-enterprising people will always find a way to take advantage of a situation, not be burdened by it.
Enterprise is always better than ease. Every time we choose to do less than we possibly can, it affects our self-confidence, our self-worth. If we keep doing a little less every day, we are also being a little less. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, we won’t feel good about our lives. And if we don’t feel good about our lives, we won’t be very interested in looking for opportunities.
You can reverse this process by using your self-direction, self-reliance and self-discipline. You can alter your course by doing a little more each day. Pretty soon, you’ll develop a new habit of doing rather than neglecting.
Success isn’t in the having. Success is in the doing. It’s the process of doing that brings value. It’s the activity that transforms our dreams into reality, that converts ideas into actuality. Self-enterprise is found in that activity. For without activity, we’ll miss the opportunity.
Some people out there would have us believe that positive affirmation is more important than activity. Instead of doing something constructive to change our lives, they would have us repeating slogans such as “Every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
But getting better doesn’t just happen from wishful thinking. Getting better only happens with the discipline of doing better. Discipline is the requirement for progress. And affirmations without discipline are—in all reality—delusions.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. There’s nothing wrong with affirming the good life, as long as we are disciplined enough to take action. Affirmations can be effective as long as we remember two very important rules:
- We should never allow affirmation to replace action, activity or enterprise. Feeling better is no substitute for doing better.
- Whatever we choose to affirm must be the truth. If the truth happens to be that we’re broke, simply say, “I’m broke.” By admitting you’re broke out loud, you’ll probably be disappointed enough to start the thinking process for how to change it.
So you’re here. You want to change and you’re ready to make the change. Follow these six steps to build the power of your ambition:
1. If you’re faced with a mental roadblock, put it down on paper.
Remember, creativity is the first requirement for self-enterprise. When you put a problem on paper, you take the emotion out of it. With the emotion gone, you can look at the roadblock objectively. You can figure out what you did right. You can figure out what you did wrong. You can figure out how to change it.
Pick a problem out of your head and pull out a piece of paper. Then, draw a line down the middle. On the left-hand side, jot down the problem. On the other side, put the solutions. And I have three questions you must ask yourself to find the solutions:
- What can I do?
- What could I read? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel—do your homework and find the solution.
- Who could I ask? Approach them and say, “I’ve researched this material and I’m still short. Can you help me?”
2. Develop the ability to brainstorm.
We hear this term all the time. But what is brainstorming? It’s letting your brain go. It’s being free from all inhibitions and objections and negatives—just putting an idea into your brain and letting it take off. It’s not planning a train of thought, but thinking freely.
Effective brainstorming can only happen if you’re free from your ego. You can’t be worried about saying something stupid, silly or totally off the wall, because your silly thought may trigger someone else’s brain to take it one step further. Brainstorming in a group is an experience of collective thought, an experience of developing one idea, or several ideas, through a variety of thought processes.
It can’t be effective unless everyone involved is comfortable with each other. If you don’t feel comfortable within the group, you may withhold the very thought that provides the solution to the problem.
3. Imagine outlandish solutions.
This is really an extension of No. 2. Get your brain out of the rut by considering ideas without considering their practicality.
If you allow yourself to think without confinement, you might come up with a solution that seems totally inappropriate. But it also allows you to open up the process, which will eventually lead to appropriate solutions.
That’s right: doodle. The thing you got in trouble for in middle school is actually quite stimulating to the brain because the way you think while doodling is quite different from the way you think while creating a flowchart or writing a formula.
Because doodling wakes up a different part of your brain, our doodles might end up looking like some symbol that will trigger your brain to think of an alternative solution. So try creating your flowchart to success. It doesn’t matter if it ends up being accurate or not. What matters is that it’s stimulating the creative thought process.
Once you awaken that creative part of you, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that were always there, ones you never saw before. It’s all a matter of how you look at life and opportunities.
5. Access the information highway.
You need to start networking with people whom you’d otherwise never meet. Advances in video conferencing can allow people in different areas to share ideas face to face, and pooling information and strategy ideation can lead to success for all parties involved.
6. Commit yourself to learning.
Feed your mind. Sharpen your interest in two major subjects: life and people. Learn how you can better interact with others. Learn more on how to get the most from life. Learn all that you can so you can reach your highest potential.
- Learning is the beginning of a life worth living.
- Learning is the beginning of wealth.
- Learning is the beginning of happiness.
- Learning is the beginning of health.
- Learning and searching is where the process of creating your own personal miracle begins.
- Learning is the beginning of self-enterprise.
This article was published in May 2016 and has been updated. Photo by Victoria Chudinova/Shutterstock