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“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”―Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered about what you wanted to do? I remember when I was in high school and wondered about this very question. How did people end up where they are? Why did people choose a job of doing his or that? This question haunted me for a few years until I came across the idea of enlisting in the Army.

When I enlisted back in the 80s, my first few years weren’t that great. After a short while I began to doubt my decision. Then I had a revelation. I asked myself, “Why not put all you have into this?” From the moment I decided to put everything I had into being the best soldier I could be, my military career took off.

I knew in high school that I wanted to do something I liked. I learned in the Army that what I liked is what I chose to dedicate myself to. In other words, everything I thought had an order to it, was backward. Obviously, you need some driver to get you to act. For me, the Army represented a full-time job, benefits, and the ability to support myself.

After I had decided to join the Army, it was now up to me to embrace that decision. I could have just messed around during my first enlistment, doing the bare minimum, but my thinking at the time drove me to do something worthwhile. Why waste my time in the Army, when I was going to be there anyway? So that’s what I did.

Each of us comes to a crossroads in our lives. We know we want a certain end-state. We then began scanning our environment to find the means of alleviating the dissonance between where we are and where we want to be. Our ambitions drive this part of us.

Once we have decided what we want or where we want our lives to be, we must work. We take advantage of our opportunities and do the work. Doing the work, we slowly begin creating the future we have envisioned.

When do we win? We win when we have worked hard enough, chiseled away enough of our current situation to achieve the life we want. Imagine the life you want and begin scanning your environment for ways to get yourself to that point. What do you have to do? What actions do you need to take? Once you understand what your life will “look” like it is nothing more than working your butt off to get there.

Until next time…