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Business English – Ambition

Monday, March 4, 2013 @ 01:03 PM
posted by Jo

This is the preparation material for a Business English topic about Ambition. Ambition is a desire for personal or professional achievement, usually requiring determination and hard work to achieve success.  For some people, ambition gives them a purpose or a goal to strive for. Many people think that a life without ambition is an empty life, while others think that inner happiness can be found without an ambition to achieve a high level career or a high paying job.  Ambition is not just a desire to achieve, but it also involves the action or method of getting to that desire.

Audio Discussion

Download audio discussion about ambition

Download transcript of audio discussion

  • The speaker expresses her view that money is not the most important consideration and that enjoyment of a job is more important. To what extent do you agree with this?
  • The speaker talks about turning her wish into reality. How do you think she could do this?


Nouns Adjectives Verbs
























Vocabulary in Use

The only way to achieve success is to be ambitious, be it in one’s personal life or professional one.  The desire to be the best at everything seems inherent for some people, while others are happy to remain indifferent. Not me. I prefer to be driven toward a goal. When I worked in lower management at a bank, for example, I greatly desired promotion to upper management. I was eager to complete any task I was given, came up with industrious solutions to problems, and aggressively motivated my team to strive for excellence. I became known as a reliable employee, and was able to attain a few increases in salary. The monetary incentive sure did help to elevate my social status. But by the time I returned home each day, I was tired and incompetent. I was exhausted from the effort I was putting in at work. I had to remind myself to aspire to be a good spouse and to save some energy for my personal life. Now I resolve not to overachieve in only one area, but to be accomplished and productive in all of them.

Phrasal Verbs 

Phrasal Verb Explanation Example
Embark on To begin something I am eager to embark on my new business venture.
Forge ahead To make progress quickly Sally is forging ahead with her plans to expand her business
Get ahead To progress and achieve success I am determined to get ahead in my career
Keep at (something) To persist I am determined to keep at my goals until I have reached them

Practice Questions

  • What are you currently forging ahead with?
  • What is the last project you embarked on?
  • Do you feel that you are getting ahead in your career?
  • Are you the sort of person to keep at something?

Conversation Questions

  • How would you define ambition?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an ambitious person? Why/not?
  • Do you think it is important to have ambitions?
  • What ambitions do you have regarding your career?
  • Do you think that ambition can be taught or do you think we are born with it?
  • Does ambition always bring success?
  • What are the positive results of being ambitious?
  • Are there any negative results of being ambitious?
  • What do you think is the difference between an ambition and a dream of doing something?
  • Who is the most ambitious person you know? How are they ambitious?
  • Name three famous people whom you admire for being ambitious.
  • Why are some people determined to succeed at any cost, yet others just about lack any drive whatsoever?
  • What do you think causes a person to be ambitious - family, genes, or the culture in which he/she is raised?
  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  • Do you think someone can lose their ambition? What do you think could cause this?
  • Do you think younger people are more ambitious than older people?
  • Do you think one's social status as a child, whether rich, poor, or somewhere in the middle, affects his/her ability to succeed later in life?
  • Who possesses a greater amount of ambition, men or women? Why do you think so?
  • Which nations have the greatest number of ambitious people? Why do you think so? Are there any countries which lack overachievers?
  • Which races are the most ambitious? Why do you think so?
  • Imagine that you're a parent. How could you instill a healthy sense of drive in your child?
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