OC Emberton

The curse of the ambitious

Here’s the curse of the ambitious: you burn for success, but it never comes.

You’re certain you have what it takes; the dedication, the skill, the defining sense of purpose. And yet, as the days roll by, your dreams fade further into the foggy distance.


The truth is painful, but here goes. The skills you need go beyond the skills you have. They probably go beyond the skills you could have. Most likely, the skills you need are nasty things that turn your spine cold, things that you can barely imagine trying, nevermind being good at.

Say you’re a struggling musical genius. Your genius is not enough. What you’re missing is a brilliant series of YouTube videos to get yourself discovered, production that makes you sound fresh, fundraising, promotion, management and a tonne of other skills that to you feel somewhere between a distraction and a scorpion crawling in your ear.

Few can fulfil all the requirements for their own success by themselves. Even if you could do it all, you sacrifice what made you a genius in the first place. You need help.

The mistake is to think that this is somebody else’s problem. That you just need to wait for your break and – boom – all those other pieces will fall out of the sky. Life does not work like that. You’re responsible for your success. If someone else doesn’t come along and make your dreams come true that’s your damn problem.

So of all the skills you may be missing, aim for just one: the ability to bring the right people into your fold, and have them work to your common purpose. What skills do you lack that would advance you the most? It’s often something you don’t even like, so think hard.

The good news is if you’re half as good as you think, you have a secret weapon. Your own talent and initiative is all you need to win over others just like you.

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