Clarification on definitions

In my previous post, I had originally used the word aspiration rather than ambition.  I thought the change warranted investigation (see below).  There is a slight difference in these two words.  Ambition is “a strong desire to achieve something” whereas aspiration is “a hope to achieve something”.  This dictionary shows the words as synonyms, but the connotations are different enough that we use these words for slightly different purposes.  Motivation is “the reason for doing something”.  In this case, motivation is the reason for having ambition or aspiration.  

Perhaps we want future leaders to have aspirations (hope) rather than ambition (desire) because it feels less self-centered (or because it makes us feel less threatened that we do not have ambition).  However, hope may not be enough to drive someone to the uncomfortable place of leadership–to show “determination” and to do the “hard work” as is also part of this definition.  In order to have leaders, we might need to accept the connotations of the required desire, determination and hard work of ambition.  

We probably need to get over our own problems, and not worry about whether it is aspiration or ambition, but we actually need to examine the reasons for their aspiration or ambition. The motivation needs to be more for the group than for the self.  

ambition–a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

“her ambition was to become a model”

synomyms: aspiration, intention, goal, aim, objective, object, purpose, intent, plan, desire, wish, design, target, dream

aspiration--a hope or ambition of achieving something

“he had nothing tangible to back up his literary aspirations”

synomyms: desire, hope, dream, wish, longing, yearning

motivation–the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

“escape can be a strong motivation for travel.”

synomyms: motive, motivating factors, stimulus, incentive, stimulation, inspiration, inducement, incitement, spur, reason

Jonathan Shaver