27 Ways To Overcome Lack Of Ambition

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Sonya Bruner

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Ambition is the inner force that drives you through hard work and obstacles towards ultimate success. If you have enough ambition, you take the initiative to aim for what you want and take the steps needed to get it. What if you lack ambition, though? Good things rarely come without intention and effort. With no ambition, you may never have anything worth having. The good news is that you can increase your ambition. Here are 27 ways to do it.

1. Find A Hero

Look for someone to admire. A hero can inspire you to think bigger and do more. One way to read the life stories of famous people who interest you. Find these stories in the biography section of your local library, on bio sites online, or at the movies. Find out about the amazing things they did and how they kept moving toward their goals despite hardship and doubt.

2. Make A Dream List

Even though you lack ambition, you can probably think of some things it would be nice to have or do. Get a large poster board and write them down in a list. You may not be able to think of many items at first. That's okay. Hang the poster on a wall and add to it whenever you can.

3. Boost Your Self-Esteem By Exercising

Positive self-esteem is an important ingredient of ambition. If you don't believe you deserve the best, you're likely to sabotage yourself or not even try to do better things. Research has shown that self-esteem does matter. One proven way to build your self-esteem is to exercise. So get up, get out, and move your body more every day.

4. Try Out The Good Life

Maybe you just don't know what you're missing out on by not pushing yourself. If you don't feel motivated to make a major life change, try committing to a short venture into the good life. Save up enough money to dine at an upscale restaurant, visit an elegant spa, or attend a cultural event like the symphony, a Broadway play, or the opera. While you're experiencing that taste of the good life, remind yourself that this could be yours.

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5. Find Social Support

It's hard to be interested in success when all your friends are lazy or uninspired. You need to find social support from ambitious people. Think about where they might be in your community. Look into community education programs, service clubs, or at the gym. Get to know the people who are striving and succeeding in building a better life, and if possible, become their friend.

6. Get Into An Abundance Mindset

Think circumstances are holding you back? Think again. It's your mindset that keeps you from hoping for the best. Examine your thoughts and consider whether they're based on an attitude of abundance or lack. If you find yourself thinking that you can't have or do better, or that there isn't enough of something available to you, replace those thoughts with thoughts that there's plenty of everything to go around, you deserve a piece of it, and you can have it.

7. Take A Test

Taking a test is a good way to kickstart your ambition. Tests can help give you direction when you feel like you're drifting along in life without any clear destination. Find out your interests by taking the Minnesota State Career Cluster Interest Survey. Take a quick work aptitude test to find out what you're naturally gifted in. If you don't agree with the results, no worries! You don't have to do what the test suggests is best. Still, even if you don't agree with the test, it can help you get a stronger understanding of what matters to you.

8. Turn Envy Into Motivation

Do you envy what others have or do? Instead of letting that envy bring up feelings of bitterness and regret, transform those feelings into a desire to have or do those things yourself. Don't berate yourself for not doing better in life. Don't think about how they don't deserve what they have. Instead, wish them well and promise yourself you'll get what they have, too.

9. Find Your Hidden Talents

If you think there's nothing special about you, it's easy to let yourself fade into the background of life. What you might need is a new perspective on what makes you who you are. Try new activities. Start a new hobby. Find those talents that set you apart and build on them to gain mastery.

10. Look For A Need

You might be someone who says, "I have no ambition. I'm perfectly happy with what I have." If so, that feeling is a wonderful thing! Still, you can accomplish important things for others who may be less fortunate than you are. Look for someone with a need you can help fulfill. Then tap into your feelings of compassion to develop the motivation to get something done.

11. Find Your Own Meaning

What does success mean to you, anyway? Once you answer that question, you can address the question of how to accomplish something meaningful. Think about what matters most to you. Consider what it is that you appreciate most in others. Think about what it would mean to do something to make the world a better place. When you pinpoint what has the most meaning to you, your ambition to accomplish it naturally increases.

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12. Remember Moments Of Triumph

Think back to a time when you accomplished something that took great effort and perseverance. Visualize the moment of triumph. Remember all the sights and sounds that you experienced at that time. Feel the warm glow of personal fulfilment you felt back then. Remember this image when you feel you have no ambition to achieve anything.

13. Find A Mentor

A mentor is a role model with an insider perspective. If you've already started to figure out what interests you and what's most important to you, find a mentor who has already walked that path. Meet with them often to go over what you want and what you're doing to get it. Listen to their input carefully and formulate a practical plan with definite steps toward success.

14. Overcome Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk typically comes from the words or attitudes of others. Maybe your parents told you that you were worthless, stupid, or a bad child. Those words get stuck in your mind over the years, and at some point, you start saying them to yourself. When a negative thought about yourself comes up, replace it with a positive affirmation. Stop saying, "I'm not good enough" and replace that thought with "I'm at least as good as other people who are already succeeding in life."

15. Look At Success As A Process

Success rarely happens in an instant. Gaining ambition and following it to success is a process. Don't think of it as something you can do and be done with. Instead, approach ambition and success as an ongoing process and a practice you'll continue throughout your life.

16. Make A To-Do List

Ambition is the drive to succeed. Yet, you may feel you have no ambition to drive you forward. You don't have to sit idly by and wait for the feeling to happen. You can set the stage for it to arrive by making a list of things you'll need to do to succeed. Keep your to-do list handy and add to it when you think of more steps to take. Then, go down your to-do list one item at a time and follow your own instructions with action.

17. Visualize A Point Of Success

Creative visualization is a way of moving towards what you want by imagining it in vivid detail. Simply get into a comfortable position, relax your muscles, breathe deeply, and use your imagination to create a picture of what a specific moment of success would be like for you. Use creative visualization every day for maximum effect.

18. Find Your Passion And Build On It

You may lack ambition, but you probably get excited about something now and then. Find what you're passionate about. Notice what you're doing when you feel that excitement and desire. Then, do that thing more often. Learn more about it and make a place for it in your life.

19. Look For Motivation Every Day

You need motivation if you're going to overcome your lack of ambition. You can find motivation in a variety of ways and from many different sources. When you're scrolling through social media, look for motivational memes. Read motivational quotations from athletes. Keep looking for motivation every day.

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20. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

If you feel you lack ambition, it may because you've let yourself become complacent and too comfortable. When you push yourself to go outside your comfort zone, you may just find something out there worth getting excited about. You don't have to do something monumental. Just try something simple that you've never attempted before. It's worth a little discomfort if it helps you gain motivation to improve your life.

21. Commit To Lifelong Learning

People often think of learning as something you do once and get it over. If you've always thought that education is only a means to an end, you may lose your ambition when you've completed the education you think you need. Yet if you continue to make a place in your life for learning every day of your life, the new information and insight you gain can spur you on to seek more.

22. Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

Sometimes, the feeling of ambition just won't come, no matter how hard you try. That's no reason to give up. Instead, take a step toward your goals every day. You don't have to feel it. You just have to do it and keep doing it. Eventually, ambition is likely to arise.

23. Believe In Prosperity

Sometimes, people get into the habit of thinking that prosperity is a hoax. They might imagine that those who are prosperous are actually unhappy. While that may be true in some cases, there are also many people who are both successful and happy. When you believe that prosperity is real and that it can happen for you, your ambition increases automatically.

24. Forget About The Cost Of Ambition

You might be holding yourself back from pursuing your dreams because you feel that the cost of ambition is too great. You might imagine that you'll lose friends, relationships, and the simple pleasures in life when you become focused on your aspirations. The truth is that there really isn't any major cost of ambition unless you lose sight of what's most important to you. Ambition can be one part of a very happy, fulfilling life.

25. Face Your Mortality

Maybe your lack of ambition comes from a feeling that there's always another day to get what you want. You may feel unmotivated because you're putting off fulfillment until another time when the stars line up and opportunity falls into your lap. If so, face the fact that no one is guaranteed a long, healthy life. You may live to be 100, or you may only have today. Don't get mired in thoughts of death, but just face the fact that your time is limited for long enough to gain that insight.

26. Improve Your Physical Health

Being physically healthy can increase your positive feelings, including the drive to get what you want. You also have greater physical resources to do the things that matter that matter to you. That's another good reason to exercise. Also, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and take care of physical problems as soon as they come up.

27. Deal With Depression

Lack of ambition might not be your primary problem at all. Your lack of drive may be a result of a serious depression. Look for depression symptoms like:

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Pessimism
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Mysterious aches and pains
  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Suicidal thoughts

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If you suspect you have depression, seek help immediately. A psychiatrist might suggest a medication to help improve your mood. A therapist can help you examine and adjust your thought patterns to gain a more hopeful outlook on life. They can help you identify negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations.

You can talk to a licensed mental health counselor at BetterHelp.com for help with depressing thoughts and feelings. Affordable and private online therapy happens where you want and on your schedule. Once you deal with your depression, your therapist can help you find your way to a better way of approaching life. Your ambition can increase, and you can move confidently towards a better future and a better you!


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