Without Ambition, We Are All Butt Dust

Posted on 29 July 2019


One particular Sunday at church, the minister began his sermon with ‘Dear Lord’, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. ‘Without you, we are but dust…’.

He would have continued but at that moment one very obedient daughter, who was listening, leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly in her shrill, little, four-year-old girl voice, ‘Mom, what is butt dust?’


Hello tremendous tribe! Although school is out for summer, yours truly has been up to her eyeballs in writing and rewriting my dissertation research on the Theory of Motivation. I interviewed 28 individuals who went through a merger, which turned into a crisis. Part of this study is about resiliency. If you are an innately resilient person, external events don't matter much. You can do a merger a day, no matter how chaotic, and remain grounded. If you're not resilient, it’s all bad, no matter the reality. Anytime we are faced with something outside our comfort zone, we have two options: to become excited or to become entrenched.


Anytime we are faced with something outside our comfort zone, we have two options: to become excited or to become entrenched.


They say change is only welcome from a vending machine and leadership literature backs this up. Here’s an insightful read outlining the fact we would rather die than change. What does it take to view obstacles as opportunities? One word: ambition. In the Gospels, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love, and love is active. Without ambition, love becomes lazy; vows become void; talent goes untapped. I read a great joke signifying this truth a couple of weeks ago:


A group of junior-level executives were participating in a management training program. The seminar leader pounded home his point about the need to make decisions and take action on these decisions.

"For instance," he said, "if you had five frogs on a log and three of them decided to jump, how many frogs would you have left on the log?" The answers from the group were unanimous: "Two."

"Wrong," replied the speaker, "there would still be five because there is a difference between deciding to jump and jumping."

Enthusiasm makes a difference


In my father’s classic, Life Is Tremendous, the tagline is Enthusiasm Makes a Difference. It sure does! He built his legacy on catching people’s attention and causing them to sit up and take notice. The word enthusiasm derives from two Greek words: "En," which means IN, and "theos," which means GOD. So enthusiasm means "in God" or "God in us." And any of you who met, read, or heard my father, saw this poured out repeatedly.


The quality of your life is directly related to your mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, you're butt dust. If your mindset is growing, your butt will be dust-free. Remember, if you’re not fired with enthusiasm—you’ll be fired with enthusiasm! Talk is cheap; hope is not a strategy; and 'coulda, woulda, shoulda’ need to be eliminated from our vocabulary.


Ambition is what makes life grand and defines our time on earth. So whatever you do, do it with gravitas, with excellence, and with purpose.

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2 comments

  • jeremy: August 01, 2019

    It does take ambition to do things one has never done, this can be a type of double edged sword, though. People stuck working under a chain of command that does not know how to manage, the ambition is not there for the employee to go into “work”. A person can be a manger or supervisor over a group of people, but not know the first thing about leadership. Managing and Leadership are two separate things. Most people cannot have ambition if they " have to do as they are told" or listen to stupid managers.

  • Phil Hess: July 30, 2019

    Tracy, what a timely post. I was awake most of the night; I must admit praying for guidance on a change in my life, and low and behold I read your post today. What a meaningful message for me. I hope you turn your dissertation research into your next book. We all need more of your guidance and humor. Good luck on your dissertation . Thanks and Continued Blessings. Phil

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