15 of The Most Powerful Quotes on Ambition I know

When I was younger, I wanted to be…Winnie the Pooh. All that sticky, sweet honey. I’ve deliciously fulfilled my ambition: I have all the honey I could ever hope to eat (Yay!).

Assuming you have far loftier goals and your ambitions are not of the bloody sort like Shakespeare’s Macbeth’s, you’ll need more than greed alone to get you to your goals. I’ve rounded up these 15 brilliant quotes on ambition which should, I hope, fire your ambition with their wisdom and insight. I’ve also included a brief, simple interpretation below each one.

See also: Top 10 Motivaitonal Career Quotes


  1. “My ambition is handicapped by laziness.” Charles Bukowksi, viaTumblr

Ask yourself, Am I standing in my own way?

  1. What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” John Green, via Tumblr

Ask yourself this: Do I want to live, or just survive?

  1. Life is too short to waste your time on people who waste their time.” Via Ambition Daily

Be purposeful about how you spend your time and your resources. Question the value of all things.

  1. Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t lose yourself in your ambition (as did Macbeth). Keep things real. 

  1. Dear Optimist, Pessimist and Realist, while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it.” Ambition Daily

To succeed in life, take your opportunities, or they’ll pass you by.

  1. Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln

Whether you wish to become a doctor or a plumber or an astronaut or a fisherman, become the best.

  1. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Via Tumblr/The Bible

It’s not just about you. Consider the interests of others too. 

  1. We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement.” L.M.Montgomery

How many super-successful people do you know who had an easy ride to the top? None, I expect. 

  1. Do what you have to do until you can do what you really want to do.” Oprah

Consider that the things you do, no matter if they are uninspiring or arduous, are but a means to an end.

  1. Do or do not. There is no try. Yoda

In this deep sounding aphorism taken from Star Wars with which fans of the franchise will be familiar, Yoda is encouraging Luke to commit fully to the task at hand by making the decision a binary one. At the same time, Yoda is also communicating to Luke that he must have or develop the conviction that he can, in order to do. Jump right in. 

  1. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Steven Covey

We have the ability to transcend our paradigms; to rip up a script and start again; to say no; to say yes; to make decisions based on what is right for our future: to be not the product of our circumstances, but of our decisions.

  1. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Amelia Earhart

You will have heard it said that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the single step. And it is the first step that is always the most difficult; but once you’re on the road, you’re on the road.

  1. Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”Albert Einstein.

Seek first to provide value, and success will follow. Here’s a good lesson from Social Media guru Guy Kawasaki on the importance of providing meaning and value in business.

  1. The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.” Ayn Rand

 Although this feisty quote is a lesson in determination and drive, it’s also worth asking the question: Who can stop me? as a check on any unchecked ambition.

  1. The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker

 Don’t believe the lie that you can’t, or you won’t.

 Have I missed any quotes? If so, please add them in the comments box below.