Mortar 1, Ambition - Bottom of the Ninth #129

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Bottom of the 9th - Ambition

Ambition - Mortar 1, John Wooden's Pyramid of Success by Keith Wahl

While many people are familiar with the bricks of Wooden's Pyramid of Success, fewer people are familiar with the work Wooden continued to do on his seminal work. As Wooden continued to learn, he continued to add to the Pyramid through the "Mortar" qualities - the things that flow between the bricks. Wooden said this:

"To hold a structure of bricks (or blocks) together, the mason applies mortar around each layer. In the Pyramid of Success, character qualities bond the 15 building blocks, thus symbolizing mortar. These character qualities actually run throughout the Pyramid and help us advance toward the apex."

The first of these Mortar qualities is Ambition. In athletics, Ambition is a very important quality. Without it, you will be unable to achieve anything in sport. Someone with more ambition will outwork and beat someone with little to no ambition 100% of the time. This is a given.

The New Testament speaks to the danger of Ambition on a couple different occasions. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Later, James says this in his epistle: For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:16)

The Bible speaks about the heart - our drive, our motivations. It warns us against the things with which all of us struggle. It speaks to the dark side of Ambition because we will all, at some point or another, fight against selfish ambition. Wooden's advice here is simple - keep your goals noble. The only proper goals and ambition focus on others. Wooden says this:

"If our ambition is to be highly publicized, receive a lot of recognition, attain a position of power or prestige or make a lot of money, we do not have noble goals. If we are focused away from ourselves and on the team, God and others, we possess noble goals."

Let's work this week on keeping our goals focused on others and live with noble ambition.

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