Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Goal and Ambition

Goal vs Ambition

“Goal” and “ambition” are often used interchangeably as many thought that both contain the same meaning. Although both terms are used in the same context, they are completely different from one another.

A “goal” refers to the specific result, destination of the ambition, or effort. It can be also called a specific target, aim, or objective that serves as the focus of achievement. Goals can have a variety of descriptions including; success, distinction, or achievement.

“Ambition,” on the other hand, refers to the determination in reaching a goal or any of its relative terms. Aside from the inclination and determination, it is also referred to as the process of achieving something. In having and fulfilling an ambition, the result will often bring personal satisfaction and advancement for the person.

Both “ambition” and “goal” can be specific in nature. Specific goals refer to specific results while specific ambition can refer to specific choices or decisions regarding the course of attaining a goal.

Ambition, as a process, requires more action and planning while a goal can be static and function as a descriptive label that can also be quantified. In contrast, “ambition” is harder to define or quantify.

To compare, “ambition” can be said as the means while “goal” is the end. “Goal” also refers to the development of the mind. In contrast, ambition is the development of the future.

Goals are characterized as possibilities that are possible to happen but not necessarily achievable despite all one’s ambition and determination.

In terms of time and duration, most goals are classified as short-term or as long-term goals. Ambition is technically a long term because it involves a process and all the possible consequences and unforeseen events of the course in pursuing a goal.

Ambition can also change depending on the realities and circumstances in the process. Ambition greatly affects the development and potential completion of the presented goals.
Goals, meanwhile, can also change either in a small or large scale depending on what development happened in the process.

In terms of word function, “ambition” can be used as a noun with adjective and adverb derivations. On the other hand, “goal” is only used as a noun.


1. “Goal” is the specific destination or result of ambition. Meanwhile, “ambition” refers to the determination and process in reaching a specific goal. In a sense, a goal is the fruit of ambition.
2. Goals can function as nouns while ambition can function in three ways; noun, adjective, and adverb.
3. Ambition is the process whereas the goal is the end or product of that process. Also, without ambition, a goal cannot be fulfilled. Without a goal, ambition has no direction.
4. “Goal” and “ambition” both strive to earn or achieve a specific station or state after it has been completed. After completion, both a goal and ambition give a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and pleasure to the person.
5. A goal’s emphasis is on the definite objective while ambition can also refer to the level of determination that is applied for the pursuit of the goal.
6. Goals are measurable in a specific period of time. Goals can be short-term or long-term. Both classifications can also be used independently or at the same time. However, “ambition” can be measured in the duration of the process. Ambition is usually long-term because of the duration of the process and consequences of the efforts within the process.
7. “Goal” is characterized as the development of the mind while “ambition” is the development of the future.
8. A good standard of a goal follows the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, results-oriented, achievable, and time-bound.

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