Leaders With Ambition to Develop

Ambition to Develop

If the title of this post interests you or resonates, kudos! You are in good company. When we look back on Leaders With Ambition to Develop we see common threads that made them great. Putting action toward ambition, facing struggle and eventual triumph these leaders invested and developed themselves. The payoff was enormously beneficial for the world.

Every great leader struggles on the road to greatness. Let’s look at three examples of Leaders With Ambition to Develop

Gandhi was an angry young man with a hot temper until he developed himself. At first he followed and din’t lead. It the classic mistake of any new leader–following what others did. Trying to be a better version of the same thing. Eventually he uncovered his purpose, stopped following and began blazing his own trail. 

Louis Fischer interpreted Gandhi’s journals and wrote most of what’s out there about Gandhi’s life. Fisher writes, “Gandhi was a terribly passionate young man full of anger and at times had a bursting, hot temper. But Gandhi trained his inner being, guarded his heart and transformed his passions.”

“I have learnt through bitter experience,” Gandhi says later, “the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.”

Gandhi never held office; never had a position or a title but by developing himself he transformed himself and his country leading India to independence. He is among those great Leaders With Ambition to Develop.

Abraham Lincoln is also among Leaders With Ambition to Develop. He taught himself to read and he taught himself the field of law by borrowing books. His father saw no need for books and education. He wanted big strong Abe to be a farm hand. While Lincoln taught and developed himself, he dodged insults and affronts from his father.

As a young professional attorney Lincoln started out following. Lincoln and his contemporaries criticized others, wrote nasty articles ridiculing opponents, commented publicly about trivial human frailties and elevated back biting to a new level. Eventually after much turmoil, Lincoln found something in himself. He discovered his true power, his essence and began leading himself. He became a model leader who created and lived by the quote, “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

Benjamin Franklin had ambition. It is difficult to discuss the origin of America without mentioning the self-taught Franklin.

What is not well known is that Franklin struggled early on. A young Benjamin Franklin, was a follower. He was full of arrogance, was headed for an unsuccessful future and social isolation due to his social blundering, arguing and habit of criticism. A family friend who cared enough saved Franklin, pulled him aside and gave him some “awareness” stinging with truths and candid constructive criticism.

This Quaker friend said Franklin was too proud and it showed in frequent conversations. It wasn’t enough to be right in his arguments. Franklin often was overbearing and insolent.

From this feedback Franklin developed into the leader and diplomat we know today. He created “rules” for himself and he developed and lived into the quote, “I will speak ill of no man.”  Franklin’s Personal Rules appear below:

*Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues to cultivate and live by were:

  • Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trivial conversation.
  • Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others; or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  • Industry: Lose no time; always be employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  • Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  • Humility: Imitate Jesus or Socrates.

*From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 

All these great leaders took criticism, feedback and information and applied it to the ambition to develop. They did not disparage what was current today. Rather they used it to mend and develop toward creating an improved tomorrow. They were open to feedback and development. They understood there is much to be learned.

We are all benefactors of their toil to develop themselves and create a better future for everyone.

The leaders who succeed at greatness truly are the unselfish few who recognize that the ambition and effort of development is dwarfed by the value created.


If you want to develop your ambitions call Brian or see his Coaching Programs.

Tools to blaze you own trail are here.


© Brian Braudis, 2018, All rights reserved

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