Self-Assurance: The Fulcrum of Ambition

What is one personality trait that one needs to reach their ambition?


One of the most puzzling questions for millenials is the price of ambition. What do you need to sacrifice in order to dream and act big? Here, “big” does not refer to fairy tales and magical stories — instead, it refers to concrete goals and well-thought-out plans to reach one’s potential.

Well, the answer to the question is: While we may need to sacrifice certain friendships, comforts, and short-term pleasures in our life, we have to embrace the most underrated quality for a persevering mind — self-assurance.

What exactly is self-assurance? It means that one doesn’t forego their positive perception of themselves despite any obstacles or failures. Because sure as hell, the road to success is paved with one too many failures, small and large, innocuous and debilitating. And in the absence of a solid sense of self, it is possible to lose one’s footing on these stepping stones and fall into the deep, dark well of despair and substance abuse.

In the absence of this fulcrum, any rejection or criticism will set someone down the path of self-destruction.

I can say this all from personal experience. I have recently realized the value of positive self-perception and self-care even in the presence of insurmountable professional challenges and a vague future. This realization only came about when I saw myself losing my identity in a futile relationship that took me nowhere. I slowly regained the ability to accept myself — the good and the bad — and to make this self-acceptance the fulcrum of my life. 

In the absence of this fulcrum, any rejection or criticism will set someone down the path of self-destruction. This self-destruction may include anything from indulging in harmful substances and alcohol to adopting compulsive habits such as procrastination, smoking and compulsive sex. And while controlled pleasure is not a hindrance, any action that is compulsive is self-destructive. Why? Because you don’t feel good after you perform that action.

So, what is self-acceptance? It is the separation of one’s worthiness from their work and external perceptions. It implies the belief system that one is OK no matter what their efforts or professional accomplishments are.

And self-acceptance is crucial to one’s existence. For in the absence of self-acceptance, one will perpetually seek public approval. If I am not complete within myself irrespective of my external circumstances, I am handing the power over my life and worth to other people. In this process, I am not truly discovering my uniqueness. One who is sure of themself will be immune to failures and rejections. Behind every successful person is a slew of failures and professional disappointments.

If Steve Jobs gave up on himself after being fired from Apple, he wouldn’t have rebounded with Pixar and his future legacy. His self-concept was not tied to his professional success which is how he braved through all of his professional setbacks. Therefore, it is crucial to have a solid sense of self, so that no matter what happens, one makes wise decisions in the presence of failures.

How do we practice self-acceptance? It is not a single-day process. You cannot wake up one day and say “Hey! I’m Great!” No, you have to keep consciously practicing this, even in the presence of self-doubt. You have to wake up every morning and just be present with your feelings and emotions. You need to spend a couple of days doing nothing but taking care of yourself, indulging in higher pleasures like reading, eating clean and just resting.

And slowly but surely, one will reach a place where one doesn’t need to try as hard to love themself. In this acceptance mode, opportunities present themselves like never before, and the concept of “Work smart, not hard” takes on a whole new meaning with the realization that one does not need to do everything, but only what is needed.

This ability to accept oneself is the greatest step toward the summit of ambition. And this ambition may be professional success or just being cheerful in the present moment. Being rooted in the self allows one to make decisions clearly and wisely as opposed to being compulsive and desperate. 

For example, don’t you find certain salesmen disturbing when they push their products too hard? A product that is good by itself won’t need pushy salesmen. Similarly, flowers don’t try too hard to attract people. They are beautiful in themselves. If we believe that we are just enough in ourselves like flowers are, we will not struggle hard or desperately to get our dues. We will get what we deserve.