The Best Ambition Quotes To Keep You Focused

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated November 23, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Ambition refers to the drive to achieve something that requires hard work and dedication. Techniques like breaking bigger goals into smaller steps and working with a therapist can help you increase your sense of ambition so you can have a better chance of getting to the finish line. In addition, quotes on the topic can help you get started or stay motivated if you feel that you momentarily lack ambition during your journey. Ambition quotes can offer the encapsulated wisdom of those who have attained their goals in the past. Below, we've highlighted several quotes about ambition that might inspire you.

Having Trouble Focusing On Your Goals?

Quotes On Ambition And Determination

Determination often goes hand in hand with ambition, because it can help keep you on track even in the face of obstacles or setbacks. The following quotes may give you a dose of the determination you may need to achieve your goals:

  • "Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in". –Bill Bradley
  • "Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true Kingdom for each of us; and true progress is to know more, be more, and do more". –Oscar Wilde
  • "A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them". –Liberty Hyde Bailey
  • “The man who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed, you must have a larger ambition.” – John D. Rockefeller
  • "Never give up. It's like breathing: Once you quit, your flame dies to let total darkness extinguish every last gasp of hope. You can't do that. You must continue taking in even the shallowest of breaths, continue putting forth even the smallest of efforts to sustain your dreams. Don't ever, ever, ever give up". –Richelle E. Goodrich
  • “Don’t be afraid to be ambitious about your goals. Hard work never stops. Neither should your dreams.” –Dwayne Johnson
  • “My mom is always telling me, it takes a long time to get to the top, but a short time to get to the bottom.” –Miley Cyrus
  • “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
  • “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.” –Geena Davis
  • “Ambition is more than mere desire. It is desire plus incentive - determination - will to achieve the desire.” – Herbert Armstrong
  • "Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don't waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower blooms at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually, people will see what you are great at doing, and if you are great, success will come chasing after you". –Suzy Kassem
  • “It is a grand thing to rise in the world. The ambition to do so is the very salt of the earth. It is the parent of all enterprise, and the cause of all improvement.” –Anthony Trollope
  • "When it comes to fighting for your dreams, be a dragon. Breathe fire". –Richelle E. Goodrich
  • “Ambitions reveal direction.” – Mace Windu
  • "If life throws you a few bad notes or vibrations, don't let them interrupt or alter your song". –Suzy Kassem

Quotes On Ambition And Character

Working to achieve ambitious goals can be transformative because we often learn and grow along the way, fueled by our driving ambition.

Some goals can also benefit and inspire those around us. The quotes below are about how ambition can relate to character in these ways:

  • "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved". –Helen Keller
  • “Great ambition is the passion of great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  • "We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and our own". –Cesar Chavez
  • "The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise". –Maya Angelou
  • “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” – Salvador Dali
  • "I would rather be a little nobody than to be an evil somebody". –Abraham Lincoln
  • "Persistence. Perfection. Patience. Power. Prioritize your passion. It keeps you sane". –Criss Jami
  • “Dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.” – William Shakespeare
  • “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” – Timothy Leary
  • "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential". –Barack Obama
  • "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there". –Jim Henson
  • “There is one weakness in people for which there is no remedy. It is the universal weakness of lack of ambition!” – Napoleon Hill

Quotes On Ambition And Inspiration

A bit of inspiration is often what fuels ambition. If you’re looking to get inspired to start or continue on your own journey, these quotes might help:

  • “I think once we let our ego go, we just get over the fact that not everybody’s going to like us—and that’s okay! Because there will be people who do dig it. And even if they don’t, do you? You get one life. Who cares what everyone else thinks?” –Kelly Clarkson
  • "We need people who dream impossible things, who maybe fail, sometimes succeed, but in any case, who have that ambition". –Emmanuel Macron
  • "It has been a long journey, but if you dream and have the ambition and want to work hard, then you can achieve". –Mo Farah
  • "It is true of the Nation, as of the individual, that the greatest doer must also be a great dreamer". –Theodore Roosevelt
  • “A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • "There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality". –Jonas Salk
  • "Remember how far you've come, and you won't have to rely on a destiny for your future. It will come on your own". –Shannon A. Thompson
  • “A young man without ambition is an old man waiting to be.” – Steven Brust
  • "You were born a winner, a warrior, one who defied the odds by surviving the most gruesome battle of them all—the race to the egg. And now that you are a giant, why do you even doubt victory against smaller numbers and wider margins? The only walls that exist are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, exist only because you have forgotten what you have already achieved". –Suzy Kassem
  • "Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down". –Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Being unique and different was a really good thing. When I walked into my agent’s office for the first time, they looked at me and said, ‘Wow, we have nobody on our books like you.’ And they signed me on my second day.” –Rebel Wilson
  • "Follow your star; it's never too late, even if it doesn't quite happen as you expect". –Jemima Pett
  • "Blaze your own trail; make your own path to success. It's good to desire something; it's desirable to have ambitions and being ambitious is a sign of strength. But don't be a copycat. Don't end up chasing someone else's dream or achieving their goals. Be original, decide what you want, be clear about your goal, and then be resolute enough to follow it to its logical conclusion. You will be happier with such successes because that dream and the hard work that you put in to achieve that goal was your own from beginning to the end”. –Latika Teotia

Tips For A Healthy Sense Of Ambition

Many consider balance to be an important element of ambition. If you don’t have enough ambition, you might have trouble achieving your goals or experiencing growth. If you have too much ambition, you may be at risk of stress and burnout. Blind ambition can also cause problems, since the desire for power, fame, or wealth of any kind at all costs can lead to a lack of fulfillment and unethical or even unlawful behavior. If you’re having trouble cultivating a healthy, balanced sense of ambition, the following tips might help:

  • Set SMART goals so you know what you’re working toward
  • Use time-management methods to increase productivity
  • Rest regularly to preserve energy and creativity
  • Find healthy methods of managing stress
  • Stay in touch with why you want to reach a specific goal
  • Consider how your actions may affect others along the way

Having Trouble Focusing On Your Goals?

How Therapy Can Help

If you’re looking for guidance on achieving your goals, avoiding burnout, or other topics related to ambition, you might also consider seeking the support of a therapist. If a mental health condition is making it difficult for you to find motivation or focus on tasks, they can help you identify and address your symptoms. If you’re consistently overworking yourself, they may be able to assist you in discovering the root cause of your behavior and more healthfully managing your workload. Whatever your relationship with ambition, a therapist can offer support if it’s causing you concern.

Ambitious people often have busy schedules, sometimes making in-person therapy visits difficult to attend with regularity. It’s one reason some prefer online therapy instead. With a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with from the comfort of home or anywhere you have an internet connection. Scheduling is often more flexible than with traditional, in-office settings, and you can speak with your provider via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging according to what’s most comfortable for you. Research suggests that online therapy may be as efficacious as in-person sessions for a variety of mental health conditions and concerns, so you can typically pick the format that’s best for you.


Ambition is a trait that can help you achieve your goals, grow, and have new experiences. The quotes about ambition mentioned here may inspire you. However, if you’re concerned about your level of ambition, speaking with a therapist may be helpful.

Explore your drive and ambition in therapy

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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