Tutor: Who Are You Ambitious For?

Are you a Star Wars fan? I have to admit that I haven’t loved any of the modern movies, but, then again, they weren’t created with me in mind. That said, I’ve been enjoying the gritty, cynical Andor series quite a bit. One aspect of the story of a burgeoning movement to fight back against a cruel totalitarian Empire has been the spotlight on the power of ambition.

Ambition drives this entire interwoven narrative, and not just in the interest of freedom. Ideological aspirations both clash and intermingle with striving and self-interest to prop a regime up on one hand and tear it down on the other. Gripping drama, really.

Don’t think that ambition is just the stuff of fantasy. What is education, after all, if not an extension of human aspiration to learn, know, and grow? Whatever urge drives a person to struggle through ignorance, persist through failure, and break through plateau after plateau on the path to emerging mastery must be recognized as a flavor of ambition. Either you really want it or someone else–a parent, coach, or teacher–wants it badly for you.

We all, as educators, love those intrinsically motivated learners. We love the academically ambitious strivers, the ones who set their goals sky high and climb the ladder of success two rungs at a time. But do they see the same hunger in your eyes? Are you ambitious for them?

Are you ambitious enough to strive for the massive success of your students?

Are you ambitious enough to relentlessly seek out your ideal clients?

Are you ambitious enough to craft the optimal structure for your educational practice?

Are you ambitious enough to continually question, refine, and, as needed, destroy your methods in favor of better ones?

And if you aren’t ambitious about those outcomes, how do you expect them to happen?

Returning to Andor, where the series applauds ambition for good or ill, it also indicts the lack thereof. Characters without a burning desire to accomplish something strong and specific risk being swept along passively, buffeted by forces they neither control nor comprehend.

Humorist Frank Tyger put his proverbial finger on what makes ambition such a potent force for change when he opined, “Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose.” Enthusiasm doesn’t need to be reminded to practice or put in the hours. Enthusiasm is willing, relentless, indefatigable energy. Ambition determines the direction towards which that energy is pointed. If your career and outcomes as an educator are not driven by your own ambitions, they may–almost certainly will–be driven by those of someone else.

— Mike Bergin

Tutor Tips, Tools, and Thoughts

Forgetting Is Natural, But Learning How To Learn Can Slow It Down
What two simple learning strategies are the keys to success?

How to Read People and Decode 7 Body Language Cues
Pick up your students’ nonverbal cues.

Scrutinize your life priorities with a “time audit”
You’d be amazed by the opportunities a time audit uncovers.

The Self-Inflicted Mental Wound That Holds You Back
Don’t let perfectionism be the enemy of your good work.

Zone of Genius
Are you operating inside your Zone of Genius?

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