Smart and Driven: Two Ingredients for Success

Katy Montgomery

Katy currently serves as the Global Director of the Career Development Centre at INSEAD where she manages career services professionals across three campuses: Abu Dhabi, Fontainebleau, and Singapore. Katy previously served as the Associate Dean for Student Development at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” 

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter. Dali was known to be very eccentric and imaginative. He often wore a cape, carried a walking stick, and donned an upturned waxed moustache. He never did anything without great flourish. That is why I am not at all surprised he is credited with this quote.

Being smart is not enough. You must be driven, motivated, and focused. Have you ever engaged with an incredibly bright person who has no drive? Has that person made a difference in the world? Would you consider that person a change agent? Do you use the adjective “successful” to describe this person?

Ambition, therefore, is important, and there are a number of characteristics associated with ambition: persistence, discipline, determination, and creativity. Remember, a bird flying has a much more exciting life that the bird who sits in the nest never to leave.

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