Mistakes of ambition

Mistakes of ambition

Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, politician and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He’s widely recognized as the father of modern political science. And while I don’t share all his views (like his assertion that “the end always justifies the means” for example) I do wholeheartedly agree with him here,

Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.

That quote is from his masterpiece, “The Prince.”

When we make mistakes attempting bold things we build much more than just strength. I believe we do at least three other very valuable things.

  1. We build the confidence to try again. When we try and fail at something big we are encouraged. If we’ve never attempted it before, there is a much bigger grace window. We can cut ourselves some slack. Plus, having attempted and failed at least gives us an idea what the next attempt will consist of. Our confidence builds.
  2. We challenge ourselves to be bolder, more ambitious next time. When we develop the strength and boldness to take a leap of 2 feet today, we develop the confidence to try for 5 feet tomorrow. The reverse is also true. When we stop trying, we lose confidence and even the small leap of 2 feet seems unattainable.
  3. We give others an example to follow. It’s all about leadership right? We should always have those in our lives (our children most of all) that we are mentoring, training, and leading toward the big bold things in life.

As you walk out your journey on this planet, develop the strength to do things much more valuable than just suffer.

Take the big bold step.

Then go do it again…bigger and bolder next time.


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