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UHNW: Ambition vs Entitlement

By Ultra High Net WorthMay, 2023March 18th, 20242 min read

James Clear famously said: “Ambition is when you expect yourself to close the gap between what you have and what you want. Entitlement is when you expect others to close the gap between what you have and what you want.”

Not everyone is ambitious – some people are just happy with what they have or don’t have a large gap between what they have and what they want. And that’s perfectly fine.

But what of the people from wealthy families who were “born on third base”? While they are often stereotyped as “entitled”, things are not quite so simple. They may have ambition to take the wealth they were given and do even more with it in their own way, or create their own stamp on the world.

If they are happy with what they already have (even if that is a lot and even if they did nothing to close any gap), then by Clear’s definition they are neither ambitious nor entitled. That ought to be as acceptable in society as for someone who is not of significant wealth.

Having been “born on third base” is not a choice anyone made; no-one gets to choose their parents. The choice is in how you view it. A bit of humility can go a long way.

Consider This: If you are a wealth inheritor, what are your ambitions? What obligations do you think you have simply because you were born into wealth? Do you find it harder to be ambitious because you already have a head start?

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