Dreams and ambitions
Do you think you are an ambitious person? What was your dream when you were a child? What is your main ambition in life now? What’s your dream job? Are you the kind of person who never gives up on your dreams?
  • Centred (adj.) - self-confident, stable, and well-balanced.
  • By and large (idiom) - when everything about a situation is considered together.
  • To fulfil (verb) - to do something as promised or intended, or to satisfy your hopes or expectations.
  • To shelve (verb) - to not take action on something until a later time.
  • In the long/medium/short term - for a long, medium, or short period of time in the future.
  • The immediate future (phrase) - the period of time that is coming next.
  • To accomplish (verb) - to finish something successfully or to achieve something.
  • Goal (noun) - an aim or purpose.
  • Ongoing (adj.) - continuing to exist or develop, or happening at the present moment.
  • Scenic route (noun) - a way that is not the fastest way but that has beautiful scenery.
  • To work up (phrasal verb) - to develop an emotional or physical state that you feel strongly, after a period of effort or time.
  • Courage (noun) - the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you think you are an ambitious person?

R: I think I certainly used to be when I was younger. I dreamed about publishing books and travelling the world and having an exciting life. Now that I've achieved all of that, though, I think I'm a more calm and centred person, by and large.

M: What was your dream when you were a child?

R: Oh, to be an author. And that came true a few years ago. So that was a great feeling having fulfilled that childhood ambition.

M: What's your main ambition in life now?

R: Well, until recently, it was to be a husband and father, but I sort of had to shelve that on count of not having a partner to do any of that with. So in the short-term, immediate future, my plan is to pass my delta course, delta two is like an advanced course for language teachers. And in the long term, it's to own my own home.

M: What's your dream job?

R: Being a teacher, so I've accomplished that particular life goal. I always wanted to be one. And I was actually quite surprised at how easy it is to accomplish. So now my career goal is to be, well, it's being a good teacher. And that's sort of an ongoing process.

M: Are you the kind of person who never gives up on your dreams?

R: I wouldn't say so. But I would say I like to take the scenic routes in the course of achieving them. I mean, it took me 20 years to publish my first book. And it took me a little bit longer to become a teacher, although that was more about working up the courage to actually do it. But yes, I didn't give up but I did take a little bit of time.
M: Hey, Rory, thank you very much for your answers!

R: That's okay. Were they suitably ambitious?

M: They were.

R: Yay!

M: Because you used ambitious vocabulary.

R: Ooh, I did. Like what?

M: Like we're gonna tell you now, dear listener. So first of all, ambitious person. So if you're ambitious, it's positive. So you want to be successful in life, right? So I am an ambitious person. I want to do this and that. And I want like 50 million followers on our YouTube. Yeah? And Rory told us "I used to be when I was younger". So I used to be ambitious when I was younger, our favourite used to, but The Rory isn't ambitious anymore. Maybe a little bit. But he was really ambitious. When he was younger.

R: I was extremely ambitious. Maria knows this for a fact. Because when she worked with me, I was ridiculous, right?

M: Oh, yeah. You were just, you were a machine. Yeah, like he was going, dear listener, you know, like doing stuff. It's just...

R: Appearing on bus shelters.

M: I used to dream of publishing books. So I'm dreaming of doing something. It's not like when you sleep and you see dreams. No, I want to do it. So I'm dreaming of doing something or I dream of doing something. Rory here used to dream of publishing books. And now I've achieved all of that. Right? Oh, and also travelling the world, having an exciting life. Yeah, so Rory now has achieved everything.

R: Just about everything.

M: He's published books. Three, four books? I keep forgetting.

R: Four? Well, four officially, five or six... Look, some things have been published. That's the most important thing.

M: So he's published books. He's travelled the world. He's eaten dog, dear listener, I know, our Rory. And he's having an exciting life somewhere in the middle of Scotland. Hey, how exciting is that?

R: It is very exciting.

M: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Excited Scottish rural life.

R: It's not rural. It's seaside life now.

M: Oh, okay. Seaside rural. Coastal life. Ooh.

R: Coastal life. Coastal living, even though there's a giant construction site right outside my home right now, which is not so great. But...
M: Oh, poor Scottish Rory. So yeah, you can say I've achieved all that or I haven't achieved something yet. Right? And you can say my biggest dream is to become, I don't know, what? A film director. My biggest dream is to become, or I dream of becoming a film director. So you said that my dream came true. Right? So, dear listener, you can say that all my dreams came true. Or I want this dream to come true. Can you say like my dream was fulfilled, for example?

R: Yes, or has been fulfilled. I was just thinking though, I mean, I'm older than a lot of people who are going to take IELTS and probably they're doing it in order to move abroad or to pass like some sort of entrance exam for university. So they could probably use future forms, like my dreaam will have been fulfilled once I pass this exam, for example.

M: Oh, dear listener, did you catch that? Future Perfect. My dream will have been fulfilled once I pass IELTS in the future. Or, by this time next year, my dream will have been fulfilled. Or I hope my dream will be fulfilled or achieved or realized, okay? Next year.

R: Just put a little bit of extra pressure on the examiner and be like, yes, my dreams are in your hands, Mr. examiner or Mrs. examiner.

M: And just look at the examiner like...

R: Yes, fulfil my dreams, please.

M: And if you fulfil your dream, this is a great feeling. And Rory told us, like, my dream to become an author became true in the past. So came true in the past. That was a great feeling having fulfilled that childhood ambition. Having fulfilled? So it came true. And then Rory, like fulfilled it. So in the past, so Perfect.

R: Is it... Oh, what's that called? That's got a special name. It's a present participle clause. Having fulfilled, right?

M: You are, kind of, you are risking it, Mr. Duncan... Goodwi... Dan, dan, dan...

R: It is. It's a present participle clause. I'm right. Having fulfilled that dream, blah, blah, blah. Yeah? Right? Come on.

M: Okay, okay. Whatever you say.

R: If you want to know more about this kind of thing, sign up for classes with me, the link is in the description below.

M: So you can say, that was a great feeling, having fulfilled this dream. Even if you didn't fulfil anything, you can just use it to show off this nice structure. If our listener has a dream, is it to pass IELTS or to take IELTS?

R: Oh, yeah, because in some languages, they're the same thing, aren't they? Like Russian, right? To pass and to take an exam are the same.

M: Mm-hmm.
R: So to pass an exam is to succeed in getting the score that's required, but to take the exam is just to be in the process of writing, well, the exam.

M: So about IELTS I say, I've got a dream to pass IELTS. I've got a dream to get a high school.

R: Or a dream of passing IELTS.

M: Right.

R: A dream of getting a high score.

M: My main ambition in life is to pass IELTS, for example. Or you can say like my burning ambition, my kind of, like, ooh, it kind of it's burning inside me, fire. So my burning ambition is to buy a house or to own my own home, like Rory told us, to own, to have my own home. Home you mean a house, a flat or just home in general?

R: Oh, just a home in general, I don't really care where I live right now, as long as it belongs to me. Although, what I said was a little bit clunky. I said to own my own home, probably I should have said to have my own home. It's not a huge disaster. It's just a bit of a weird thing to say. On the subject of having things nicely balanced, I hope that you all paid attention to... Where is it? I've written it out. Yes, dream of publishing books, travelling the world and having an exciting life. So all of these end in -ing because of... What's it called?

M: Gerund.

R: It's also a parallelism.

M: Oh...

R: Yes. Which you need to be able to do in order to get a band nine. And parallelism is just balancing up all the verb forms in a sentence.

M: Yeah. And they should be the same, right?

R: Yes.

M: Yeah. Could you give us another example?

R: Well, what? I've managed to succeed in publishing a book, travelling the world and hosting a podcast. There. So all the verb forms are aligned.

M: Yeah. Okay. What did you mean, when you said, I sort of had to shelve that plan? So you had a plan, and then you had to shelve it. Like shelve?

R: Like the books behind me. Yeah. So your plan is actually like the books. You have it, but you're not using it or you're not... You don't have it right now in use. So you shelve it, you put it on there to wait.

M: Okay, so you can say I had to shelve my plan, and maybe like I'm working on it. So in the near future, my big goal is to do this. So in the near future, my big goal, my big ambition, or my burning ambition is to do something. And in the long term, dear listener. In the long term, like in the next five years, 10 years, I want to achieve this, right? Or my main ambition, my big, my great ambition or my lifelong ambition you can say, yeah? My lifelong ambition is to be a yoga instructor.
R: God, could you imagine? I did yoga yesterday and it was, it was, it was a very intense experience. It always is. Because I am not flexible. They always say like, oh, you know, just appreciate this feeling.

M: Ha-ha.

R: And everything. And I'm just sitting there like, yes, this feeling is called pain. I would like to avoid it. Obviously, I appreciate. That is not the yoga experience that they want you to have. They want you to be in touch with your body. And, oh, boy, was I in touch with it.

M: Well, Rory, you should embrace pain. You see? They say, like, if you feel pain, you just like, let it just go through you, embrace it. You know? Like, breathe in, breathe out, feel it. And yeah, it just goes away.

R: I'll remind you of that the next time you complain to me about how difficult this job is. You just have to embrace the pain.

M: Yes, I have accomplished that particular life mission. So my dream job, could be your life mission. So Rory has become a teacher, a good teacher. So I've accomplished that.

R: Yes.

M: Or you can say I haven't accomplished it yet. I haven't achieved it yet. And my career goal is to be a good teacher, is to be a yoga instructor, is to pass IELTS, yeah? Move abroad.

R: Oh, I was just gonna say about the collocation it's usually accomplish a mission.

M: And also you've used a verb to reach. So you reached that life mission?

R: I didn't... Did I reach the mission? I reached a goal, you reach your goal.

M: Oh.

R: You reach a goal or an objective.

M: And you can say like, I've always wanted to become a yoga instructor. And it was quite easy for me to reach. So in your dream job, you can look for something you are good at. Work that helps people and supportive conditions. So you can say, okay, my dream job involves supporting conditions. For example, engaging work, supportive colleagues, like a fair pay, and also work that fits my personal life. My personal, I don't know, achievements or feelings. They say that these are three most important things in a dream job. Rory, would you agree? So work you're good at, work that helps people and supportive conditions.

R: I would love to believe it's that simple. And certainly, these three things are easy to remember. And they have a lot of impact. So because I can't think of any alternatives, yes, let's go with that.

M: And you can also say that the key to a good job, to my dream job is to get good at something. At something that helps people, for example. Or you can say like, oh, I'm still developing my passion. I'm still figuring it out.

R: I'm working on it.

M: I'm working on it. Like I'm developing my passion.

R: Is it a phrasal verb?

M: Oh, it's a phrasal verb.
R: Because there's a course for that. I'm going to need to... We should have like the phrasal verbs course on the coffee cup. And then I can just bring it up and be like, yep, you can find it here. But since I don't have that. successwithielts.com/podcourses. The link is in description below.

M: So if you listen to our course on phrasal verbs, you're gonna achieve phrasal verb success beyond your wildest dreams, dear listener.

R: Beyond even what you wanted to, because there are over 300 apparently going to Vanya.

M: Yeah. So beyond my wildest dreams. So if you achieve something beyond my wildest dreams, so you achieve it like whoa. Like really achieve it. We can give up on our dreams. So I want to become a yoga instructor and then I go... No, it's too difficult. Just... Yeah, so you can give up on your dreams. And you can say no, I never give up on my dreams. I'd say that I prefer to take the scenic route to achieve my dreams. Rory, over to you. A scenic route.

R: So the scenic route is actually something from driving. It's where you take a very long path to get to a destination because the long path shows different scenes and nice places. However, it can also be used to describe doing things in your life. So if you say I'm taking the scenic route to achieving my dreams, it just means I'm taking a very long time to get there, and probably having a little bit fun along the way. So in my case, I took the scenic route towards becoming a teacher, because I travelled all over the world and did lots and lots of different things before actually biting the bullet and doing the job and getting the qualification because I was busy. And I didn't want my entire life to be about my career.

M: Bite the bullet.

R: Yes. Bite the bullet. That's an idiom. I believe we're working on a course to do with that, at some point.

M: So I had to bite the bullet - I had to do this. Yeah, I had to kind of face it and do it.

R: Yes.

M: You can say it took me the better part of 20 years to publish one book. So it took me a lot of time to publish a book. But you can say it in a more sophisticated way for a higher score. So it took me the better part of 20 years, of 10 years to publish my first book.

R: Which sounds like a long time. But I would like to point out, I started writing this book when I was in high school a long time ago. Let's not dwell too much on how long it's been since I was in school.

M: And you can say that I had to work up the courage to actually do it. So it was difficult for me, I had to work up the courage. So I had to kind of like, gather, gain, kind of collect this courage. Work up the courage and do it. Rory, are you ready for a joke? It's a rhetorical question.

R: Yes. Actually, yes. I've had my... Oh, okay. Right. I've had my coffee. I'm ready. People will see that I'm much more chipper today than I normally am.

M: So, dear listener, a joke, a joke. I dreamt of writing The Hobbit the other night. I think I was talking in my sleep. Dear listener, did you get that?

R: Wait, what? Oh...

M: The Hobbit, The Hobbit. The Hobbit is The Hobbit, yeah? Who wrote The Hobbit? Who is the author of The Hobbit, Rory?

R: J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, yes. Tolkien, talking.

M: Tolkien sounds like talking. To talk. I was talking blah, blah, blah, in my sleep sounds like Tolkien.

R: Aha.

M: Oh, come on. It's a good one. It's a good one. Come on.

R: Thank you for listening. I've changed my mind. My lifelong ambition is actually to survive Maria's humour. Bye!

M: Bye!

Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
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