The Historical and Modern Importance of Goals and Ambition


Angie Torres

Goals can be applied to any field in life and can boost motivation to succeed.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

Goals are an ever-present influence in our lives. Graduating high school is a universal motivator for kids and parents around the nation. Especially in a rigorous and competitive school like Yorba Linda High, an incentive towards excellence is important, and setting goals is an efficient way to do just that. Here are some historical and modern examples of the benefits of goal-setting and motivation.

Goals set by world leaders throughout history have also helped to change lives today. The famous French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, renowned for his Grand Empire of France, held sky-high ambitions of conquering Europe. In his path to do so, in which he joined his territory with Austria, Spain, and Prussia, Napoleon spread throughout Europe his Civil Code, which were heavily influenced by the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment ideas included many modern concepts, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and capitalism. Enlightenment ideas are considered important because they propelled a change from the conservative, agrarian societies of the Middle Ages to the progressive, urban nations in modern Europe. 

Another profound example of the beneficial effects lies within the economy and in one of the richest men in the world: Jeff Bezos. As the famous founder of Amazon, Bezos started out the online-shopping giant as a minor online bookstore. But his desire to improve Amazon into a more profitable company led him to add more items to the online catalog. As a result, Amazon has developed into an online marketplace with over 2.5 million sellers active in the marketplace, and a million new sellers joining per year. The world around Bezos has also developed, as the use of online shipping and selling has improved convenience of buying and selling right from your laptop or phone.

A big tradition of the West is the use of New Year’s resolutions, where people try to set goals for themselves to develop a good trait or get rid of a bad trait at the turn of the New Year. Popular resolutions include resolving to eat healthier, develop a better diet, or to quit smoking. New Year’s resolutions frequently focus on the positive benefits on health, and can provide the motivation to significantly improve yourself for the new year. 

Amber Han (10), who has been positively benefited by goals set for herself, says that “goals allow [her] to reflect upon [herself] and not be stuck in one mentality.” Amber says that “[she has] been able to guide [herself] into a more positive mindset than how [she] was six months ago.”

Goal-setting can greatly improve motivation and focus for numerous tasks of importance. As historically shown by people like the late Napoleon and the current Jeff Bezos, this motivation to improve their own lives also inadvertently affect others as well, and students can take the opportunity to change themselves for the better and keep up with the rigorous curriculum of Yorba Linda High by setting and fulfilling goals.