7 Movies About Ambition For When Times Get Tough

We are all on a journey. Whether it is a pursuit of better health, more wealth, or a deeper understanding of self, there is something we are all striving for. With any journey, there will be bumps in the road and times when you think about giving up. The wonderful thing about modern technology is that there is no shortage of mediums through which we can express ourselves or seek solace in times of need. In the entertainment industry, there is no shortage of stories being told every day about real-life struggles and perseverance. So, here are some films with important lessons for when you feel like straying from your path.


The story of Joy Mangano and the Miracle Mop should serve as a tribute to the power of perseverance and determination. In this movie, Mangano is a hard-working mother trying to make a new life for her large family and stumbles across million dollar idea in the most common way. Her story is inspirational, uplifting, and at times heartbreaking, but it proves that inspiration can strike anywhere and there’s nothing you can’t overcome with a little hard work.

Lesson: In the words of Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me!”

Iron Man

There are many lessons to be learned from the witty repartee of Tony Stark, but what is best derived from Stark’s devil-may-care persona is the power of choice. In Iron Man, Starks starts out as merely a man with money, lots of money, and fate sees fit to put him in an unusual position with extraordinary circumstances. While others may have concerned themselves with only their own predicament and dealing with the medical necessities at hand, Stark saw an opportunity to use his new condition and assets for good. Sure he indulges in a little arrogance, but his choice to help others and rise to the occasion demonstrates the power each of us has in the choices we make every day.

Lesson: In the words of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, “"It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Almost Famous

For every aspiring journalist or creative that has ever wanted to pursue their dreams with reckless abandon, this one’s for you! The story of William Miller’s journey through the seedy, weird, wild, and sometimes angsty world of rock n’ roll will make you laugh, cry and cringe. The lessons he learns along the way are priceless and the friendships he forges are hard won. William Miller is every kid who ever had a dream, only to learn the hard way that sometimes what you need is for the thing you wanted to go awry.

Lesson: In the words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need.”

Pursuit of Happyness

For every person who’s ever thought about giving up, this emotionally tumultuous and beautiful story of a dedicated father will break your heart then lift your spirit. Starring Will Smith and based on a true story, This film follows the story of a single father struggling as a salesman to make a living for his son. They experience homelessness, food shortages, closed doors, and numerous other trials. You’ll shed tears of sadness, but end this tale of unyielding spirit with tears of joy.

Lesson: To borrow more wisdom from Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest time. If one only remembers to turn on the light.” Always keep fighting.

Legally Blonde

Never let anyone make you question your abilities. This is the lesson we learn from the flouncy and fun, yet strong-willed story of Elle Woods. Despite being perceived as brainless, buxom blonde, after being dumped by her long-time boyfriend Warner for a more “serious” pursuit at law school, Elle buckles down. Instead of rolling over and sulking in the pain of her loss for too long, Elle picks herself up and begins her mission to be taken “seriously.” Sure, her intentions begin a bit shallow and submissive, but watching Elle discover and surprise herself at law school, you can’t help but admire her persistence. No matter what anyone says or does, Elle, with the help of some friends, manages to find a way to stay true to herself and use her own gifts to shine in an otherwise drab and unfabulous atmosphere.

Lesson: Never let anyone steal your shine and anything is possible.

The Devil Wears Prada

Sometimes the worst thing to happen to you is actually the best. Meet Andy Sachs, a simple girl who just wants to be a writer. Watch Andy meet Miranda Priestly, a stoic, ice queen editor-in-chief who terrorizes the office of the Runway where Andy now works and acts as her second assistant. Watch as chaos ensues and Andy hates her job and general existence. Through her experiences working for MIranda, Andy learns more about how the world of publishing and fashion works, and how everything is about networking. Despite the torments she endures, she learns and adapts, becoming more creative in the process. By the time the end of the movie takes place, you’ve watched Andy discover more about herself and not only the kind of writer she wants to be, but the kind of woman as well. Feel her triumph when she finally frees herself of the shackles of fear and doubt that plagued her.

Lesson: In the words of motivational speaker Steve Maraboli, ““Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”


You’re never too weird to be successful. In Superstar, comedienne Molly Shannon plays the eccentric Catholic schoolgirl Mary Catherine Gallagher. In the movie, Gallagher is raised by her grandmother who forbids her to dance because her parents were killed in a dancing competition, but Mary Catherine can’t be swayed. She is determined to win the school talent show and then affections of school heartthrob Sky Corrigan, played by Will Ferrell. In her pursuit of superstardom, Mary Catherine makes a motley crew of friends who are just as strange and quirky as she is.Despite the fact that this is an outlandish comedy, there is a great lesson to be found in Mary Catherine’s persistence and dedication to her goals. She even finds someone who appreciates her more than Sky by the time it’s all said and done.

Lesson: As best put by author Mandy Hale, “So you're a little weird? Work it! A little different? OWN it! Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!”

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