What is Your Ambition? | Motivational Podcasts

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of inspirational fashion and gift ideas. Visit them online at BookofZen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Personal Efficiency by James Samuel Knox, published in 1920.

The great need of every nation, the great human need, is for a vision of a larger life and its possibilities. Our vision is limited, our aspirations are limited, and therefore our possibilities are limited. Our vision is limited because we lack a definite aim, a definite ambition, a definite purpose.

Rapidity rather than efficiency is the watchword of youth. The young practice a hand to mouth philosophy. They have practically no vision of the future. They are thinking of today and its problems. They are not thinking of what they might be doing in twenty or twenty-five years from now.

The average young person grows up with this kind of limited philosophy of life and when they become an adult, they still have an adolescent’s ambition, an adolescent’s vision, an adolescent’s education and does an adolescent’s work. Then they wonder why they are not more successful.

There is an old story that used to be told about Charles Henry Fowler, the founder of the University of Puget Sound. During the late 1800s Fowler took a trip abroad. He visited every big city in the world and when he came home he said, “America is my alphabet, the world is my textbook.”

Standing on a great mental mountain peak, Fowler had a new vision of his own town, his state, the nation, and the world. Yet there are people in every town in our country who might say: “This town is my alphabet, and this county is my textbook.” Their vision is bounded by the confines of their own community.

Unless your vision is bigger than the boundary of your own business or your own country, it isn’t big enough to help you solve your own problems. The greatest piece of machinery ever constructed is not the steam engine, the printing press, or the personal computer, but the one within your head. And THAT is a discovery that the average person never makes.

The mind and soul (with all its thoughts, hopes, impulses, desires, prejudices, and aspirations) is nothing but a confused jumble until organized and made effective by the conscious power of an earnest consecrated purpose.

What is the greatest cause of inefficiency? It is lack of a definite purpose. Experts have estimated that only ten per cent of people have a definite object, an ultimate aim, a genuine motive for living. This is the great tragedy of life. It is lack of a clear objective that causes so many people to drift.

The individual who has no specific object in life is going nowhere, but is just drifting, and that is why they never arrive. They are sailing toward no port, and if they ever reach one it will be purely accidental. The person who has a definite aim in life grasps every opportunity that will help them achieve their end. But the person who drifts has no aim, and, therefore, sees no opportunities. This is the tragedy of the drifter.

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