It is indoctrinated into our minds that:
Being ambitious means you’re goal-oriented and have positive drive to create a better future.
Being lazy means you’re not actually motivated to attain any goal in the first place.
The inspiration to succeed is NOT bond to your ability to work hard and be a go-getter. The inspiration, rather, is bond to your ability to create success and it possible to instead of working hard, just think in innovative ways (laziness is the mother of innovation) or get other people or machines to do the work load for you.
What if I told you that if you spend your day sitting on the couch, playing video games and watching movies, you can also be ambitious?
What if I told you that ambition, contrary to popular belief, has absolutely nothing to do with a good work ethic?
What if I told you you can be “lazily ambitious”?
You can be COUCH Ambitious.
Seems kind of like an oxy moron, doesn’t it?
Well, let’s dive into it.
Because laziness in modern culture is generally regarded to be complete inaction, bumming around and doing absolutely nothing, while ambition is commonly considered to be embracing a hardworking, active, and driven lifestyle, it is often surmised that laziness and ambition are polar opposites of the same spectrum and you are either one or the other. This couldn’t be any more false and misguiding.
The opposite of ambition is actually lack of focus. As long as you have focus and know what you want, you are ambitious. As long as you make progress, you are ambitious.
Hardwork is one method of making progress, but is not the only path one can take to reach their objective.
Just look at every invention ever, since the wheel, and you will see that progress was created by the desire to eliminate work, not design more of it.
You can choose to either work hard and rush toward that focus (end goal) or passively pursue it by moving calmly and slowly toward where you want to be and perhaps creating better, more effective and less effortful methods of attaining that goal along the one. One involves more action, the other involves more strategy and innovation.
By working hard you practice repeating tried and true methods, but by laying lazy, you are doing new things that get rid of the grinding nature of whatever you practice. Building a car is hard work, but a factory line machine, while definitely more lazy, is also more practical.
Either way you can obtain your goal, and you can choose if you want to be a laboring grunt or an innovative (lazy) genius. Personally, I believe there is no sense in creating extra work for yourself (or others for that matter).
You can work smart and not hard; you can eliminate as much effort and work as possible to achieve the same results as someone working their ass off, perhaps even more than your hardworking peers, and that’ll make you ambitious.
Ambition is simply the appetite for success. You can crave success just like you can crave a pizza. Cowabunga!
Laziness is simply the act of minimizing effort to increase your own leisure and comfort, while simultaneously maximizing the results of your effort. You can minimize effort and maximize results in any aspect of life.
Using the pizza example, you can press a few buttons on your phone in app to get it delivered to your door within minutes or you can go to the store and pick up raw ingredients to make it from scratch: roll the dough, mash the tomatoes, add spices, grate the cheese, top the dough with the sauce and shreded cheese, then bake it the oven. Either way, you satisfy your hunger for the pizza, but clearly one option, is quicker and more efficient (though lazier).
You can apply the same principle of minimizing effort and maximizing results to your real goals. You have a hunger to achievement and wealth and you can either “make it from scratch” and do everything yourself, no holds barred or “press a few buttons” and streamline the labor you don’t want to participate in.
Now one could of course argue that making a pizza from scratch may be healthier and maybe even tastier
You can of course slap that argument right down and say there are plenty of local pizza shops that have quality ingredients, and maybe you’re not the best cook anyway, so no matter how high of quality ingredients you are using, your skills only allow you to cook a pizza as good as Domino’s.
That’s part of couch ambition, “lazy ambition” is knowing your strengths and weaknesses as well as your wants and desires. You know you do not have strong cooking skills or you know that maybe you can actually cook but you don’t like to do it, so you choose to order form the app instead.
Or it could even be quite the opposite: you love to cook and enjoy creating your own recipes and experimenting with flavors, so you decide to cook your own pizza. It doesn’t feel like work because it’s a hobby and not a chore; it’s something you want to do.
A couch is not necessarily a physical sofa in your living room but a metaphorical word used to describe a place of comfort and contentment. So to say you have couch ambition is to say you put your own wants and needs first.
Focusing on what you both want to do and have the skills to do and avoiding those in which you do not is ambitious. You want to increase the amount of leisure and hobbies you do and decrease the amount of work and chores you do, all while moving towards your goal.
As another example, you may find competitive gaming fun and have the goal of making a living as a competitive gamer, but someone, a more casual player, may find it tedious to memorize maps, optimizing stats, and practice timing down to a tee.
In the Pokemon series (all of the games) there’s a “secret” stat called an IV that each Pokemon has. An IV is basically the creature’s max “potential”. The higher the IV, the more powerful they can become. The IV is not displayed anywhere in the game interface, but it can be calculated based on a formula that takes into account the stats that are displayed (attack, HP, level, etc). Not all Pokemon of the same type have the same IV. One Charmander can be stronger than another of the same exact combat level because of a higher invisible IV stat.
It is not necessary to know the intricacies of IVs in order to play Pokemon, but by knowing your IVs and calculating them, as well as optimizing your moveset and items to create the most effective takedown method, you will be more efficient than a player that “works hard” to train their Pokemon, simply because your stats are better and more efficient at taking down opponents.
All this stat optimization can be tedious and way over the head of and for the casual player; it may seem like a lot of “hard work” to them. But to the Poke-fan, it’s just playing; it’s fun and competitive.
You see, work is relative; it is completely subjective as to what the definition of work is. What you may find to be work, may not be for another, and vice versa.
Ambition is not hard work at all though. Ambition is focus. It’s direction.
The Merriam Webster definition of Ambition reads: “an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power ”
By the very definition, ambition has nothing to do with hard work and has everything to do with a deep, passionate, desire to attain something.
Laziness is not idleness. Laziness is leisure
The Merriam Webster definition of Laziness reads: “disinclined to activity or exertion : not energetic or vigorous”
Again, looking at the literal definition of the word, laziness has nothing to do with the unwillingness to achieve and everything with saving energy and avoiding the exertion of too much effort
So when we describe someone as being “lazily ambitious”, we are describing someone who is focused on their own leisure, their own wants and desires that make them content and happy. Someone “lazily ambitious” is someone who is inspired to do things that feel like no effort and avoid things that do. This creates comfort, your "couch" and thus you are practicing "Couch Ambition".
The phrase: “feel like no effort” is used here because, again, effort is completely subjective. Someone can mine coal and feel like it’s no effort. The idea is that you follow the path of least resistance by doing what you want, instead of what you feel obligated to do, instead of what you feel requires a lot of effort.
A diligently ambitious person, on the other hand is focused on work for the sake of work. While they have the goal of perhaps a promising financial future and career, they rely on the vision of someone else’s plan or roadmap to get ahead and will do whatever they are told, even if it is not in line with what they enjoy doing, even if it feels like a lot of effort for them to actually do. They just suck it up and do it anyway, instead of finding a way to out-source it through technology or human talent of someone else.
Sometimes you may “have to” do things that you do not like in order to continue down the path of obtaining what you actually want.
A diligently ambitious person will just stride right through those obligations, those subjectively effortful tasks, relentlessly, and likely burn out at some point after consistently trudging on. But a lazily ambitious person will find a way to either innovate, automate, or delegate those tasks s/he doesn’t like so s/he doesn’t actually have to do them him/herself.
When you think of people with ambition, go ahead and name a few, you’re going to be thinking of leaders, innovators, and creators. You’re thinking people that have inspired others through leadership or art or have invented a technology to make lives easier.
These are people that got other people to do work for them, that made a living off their leisure (hobby), or have streamlined work flow to require less manual input and labor.
You don’t necessarily think of a coal miner or the construction workers as ambitious, despite how “hardworking” they are. Certainly, they are diligently ambitious in schlepping long hours in a dangerous environment.
But that type of ambition is not what we correlate with success. We correlate success with the leaders, creators, and innovators, those who either create, delegate, innovate, and/or automate to avoid the hard labor.
Ironically, we are told the to use the wrong type of ambition in obtaining that sort of success.
If you are diligently ambitious, then you are likely only ambitious for someone else’s goal. If you want to be ambitious for your own goal, then you must be lazily ambitious.
You can either have Work Ambition or Couch Ambition.
We are only taught that hard work goes hand in hand with ambition, so that the lazy elites can have a population continue to work for them. But the couch can also go hand in hand with ambition.
This is the secret that successful people never talk about
While there are those who have created a plantation of corporate slaves, there are also those who have escaped and realized that laziness is what got them there to success.
Silence is sometimes just as hurtful as the actual slavery.
So no more silence: Lay down and embrace your couch ambition. If action speaks louder than words, then inaction speaks even louder.
In next week’s blog, we’ll take a look at how exactly you can apply Couch Ambition to your lazy lifestyle.
Take it easy. Take it reeeaaal easy.
Dreaming About Money by FreePik