ambition dependence

Building an enterprise requires ambition. To conceptualize something that doesn’t exist yet, subsequently motivate yourself and others around you to achieve that goal. That’s where an ambitious drive comes in handy.

The downside is, in the end, we can’t control what we can’t control. All cogwheels, in and outside of the enterprise, have to click in place.

If somehow they don’t click precisely into their place, there is a risk of becoming a victim of our own ambition. Our ambition may turn against us.

Suppose an airplane set out to fly across the Atlantic in ten hours. Due to heavy headwinds, the flight will now take eleven hours. There is no use in turning back.

Use ambition as fuel, not as a brake.

junior hustle

Hey mister! That’s what I heard when I stepped out of the car. On my way to the apartment, three nine-year-olds approached me. I said: yes? Mister, if we guess your age, do we get 50 cents?

Two boys and one girl were carrying around a calculator. I asked, if you guess my age, and I were to give you the money, what will you buy with it? I hadn’t even finished my sentence, and the girl shouted out: skittles! One boy said he was saving for a Playstation.

I was intrigued and excited. These kids had mustered up the courage to come up with some scheme to earn some money. Impressed as I was with their entrepreneurial spirits, I said; fine, go ahead.

What’s your shoe size? One of the boys asked. I answered, 43. Next, what’s your year of birth? Trying to control my facial expressions, I said; wait a minute. If I were to give you my year of birth, couldn’t you just calculate my age? No, no, no, they replied. See, mister we’re adding two extra zeros to your shoe size, then subtract it with your year of birth. We don’t want to make it easy on ourselves.

Before you guess, I said, I’m going to give you the money right after but only if you promise to invest at least half of it. Invest it, mister? What does that mean? After attempting to warm them up for the concept of investing, they agreed.

Upon magically guessing my age, I gave them four euros. I just happened to have two coins in my pocket, which rarely happens. The boy seemed to be baffled for a second. The moment didn’t last long because right after they started shouting; whoa, now we have 6,40€! For the whole street to hear.

Those kids were so grateful, and the look in their eyes was priceless. Now, every time I will meet them, I’ll ask about how the investment is doing.

I hope those kids somehow felt rewarded for their guts and ambitions and slowly start to understand the principle of increasing capital.


An athlete breaking the world record for a hundred meters sprint is obviously an exceptional human being, capable of extraordinary performance. Athletes don’t get to the point where they break a world record by playing solo slim.

What about the parents that brought them to every training? The trainers pushing the athlete when they thought they couldn’t go on anymore. The physicians, the fans, a whole entourage, all assisting the athlete. When the athlete wins, the entire team wins.

I often hear: Rome wasn’t built in a day… Well, it sure wasn’t built by one person alone either.

The way to win in life is to look for synergies and keep looking for new ones as you go along.

fake it till you break it

Insincere behavior can’t be hidden. Sooner or later, it will surface. Some people suffering from imposter syndrome aren’t suffering from imposter syndrome. They’re imposters. Not an attempt at delegitimizing imposter syndrome because it’s a real and debilitating limitation for some people.

Fake it till you make it sounds cool. Perhaps one of the reasons it’s an overly popular cliché. Again, ingenuine behavior bubbles are easy to burst. That’s why pretending to be someone who already made it is terrible advice.

Faking (power) poses and non-verbal communication is something else. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, PhD explains in her “Your body language may shape who you are” TED talk; there are ways for us to trick our minds into boosting our confidence. This idea is often summarized as fake it till you make it, but the risk of misinterpretation is substantial.

I prefer people around me behaving sincerely. However, at the very beginning of launching a new product or service, there is some room for faking.

Aiming for a billion users certainly shows ambition but won’t happen overnight. That’s why there is absolutely no use in replicating Facebook’s infrastructure to serve one billion customers. Still, the image of your company should exude that very same ambition even though it can only, temporarily, serve ten customers.

Fake it till you break it.

There is no need to over-engineer the infrastructure and (production) processes from the start. Keep your company as lean as possible up until the point it is about to break. However, a clear vision and some preparations should be in place to jump to the next level at the very moment it’s required.

good views ahead

Perspective is all we need. Sorry, Beatles. Whether it’d be an entire population during a pandemic, talent on the verge of signing a contract with a new employer, or a traveler navigating a city for the first time. A clear vision goes a long way.

It’s the reason we get out of bed. Goals. Ones we can move towards while anticipating improved circumstances down the road.

The ability to show a “you are here” roadmap, with the different paths that lead to success, is crucial. Without it, nothing happens.

very very long term

It’s not necessarily a problem if the people surrounding you don’t fully grasp what it is you’re trying to get at. While it’s certainly not a nice feeling to be misunderstood, it’s potentially powerful. All great innovators were ridiculed at some point, only to be revered later.

Don’t be discouraged if your entourage doesn’t understand what you’re trying to achieve. As long as you know, have a crystal clear vision and roadmap towards that vision, it’s all good baby baby, as Biggie said.

Years later, they will say, I was with them all along. I was a fan of the first hour. I always knew they would make it.

That’s your aim. Play to win in the long run.


A goal so ambitious, it becomes paralyzing. Many entrepreneurs thrive on ambition and understand the importance of setting goals. However, setting extremely ambitious goals may have adverse effects.

The other end of the spectrum isn’t much better. Michelangelo allegedly said: “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Too ambitious is blocking. Not ambitious enough isn’t very rewarding. Goals shouldn’t be carved in stone. Set a goal and adjust it along the way.