There are people who know so much and do so little because they are comfortable doing little.
There are people who know so little and do so much because they are driven.
And there are people who intensely desire to achieve so much but rarely get anything done. This third category of people are the ambitious but lazy ones.
You know people like that; or you may even be someone like that. You have big dreams. You share your ambition to whoever cares to listen. From your external expression of your ambition, people around you have high expectations of you. But deep down, you have a strong resistance to do what it takes.
You are constantly torn between wanting to go out and conquer the world and having an extra hour or three on relaxing activities. You are one of the most ambitious people you know, and constantly dream of becoming incredibly successful at something significant. Yet, you are also one of the laziest people you know.
How can you deal with being ambitious and lazy at the same time? Is it possible to harness these conflicting traits to achieve the success you desire?
Interestingly, if you study people who have achieved significant success, you will realize that many of them are ambitious, smart and lazy people. In fact, ambitious and lazy people are behind some of the great innovations that have made life easier for us.
Take for example two people who decided to start a business. One is a hard worker who does almost all the work in the business, because he can’t trust anyone to do a better job. He is ambitious and hard working, we can give him that. But he fails to build a system around him business so that the business can function without him. The harder he worked, the harder he needed to work to keep the business going. He can’t afford to take a break from the business, even if he wanted to; because he had built a business that is dependent on him.
The second person is ambitious but lazy. He is driven by his ambition to become a successful business owner. But he understands that if he is to succeed, he has to build his business in such a way that it does not depend on his will power. He has to build a system that runs like a machine without obstruction. And to achieve this, he has to learn how to work with people smarter than him. He works hard and smart today so that his life will be easier tomorrow, not harder. He is good at getting other people to do for him what he does not enjoy doing. He has used both his ambitious and lazy nature to his advantage.
You see, the primary driving force for all industrial revolutions is the human need to work less for more not harder. The technology innovations that become successful are the ones that make life and work a little bit easier. And that’s because we have the inherent nature to be lazy.
My point is that you don’t have to feel defeated for being ambitious and feeling lazy at the same time. Being ambitious and lazy can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage. It all depends on how you employ these two sides of your personality. To be fair, I consider myself an ambitious but lazy person. Although many people who know me will thing of me as hard working and resilient, but a lot of times, I just want to do nothing work related. I just want to do things because I enjoy doing them. Understanding this about myself made me to carefully choose the kind of business and money making activities in get involved in. It’s why I deliberately chose business models that yield passive income; that is models that will continue to generate revenue whether I feel like working or not. It’s why I’m working hard today so that I won’t have to work hard as I get older.
I hope you are beginning to see that being ambitious and lazy is not such a bad thing after all. If you consider yourself ambitious and smart but lazy, let me give you 3 tips to help you become more productive.
1. Make your ambition more important than it really is
You and I know that the problem is not that you are lazy. The problem is that you are looking for permission to go after your ambition. You are looking for validation to prove that you deserve what you desire from life. Deep down you don’t believe your ambition is that important. So you are hoping for someone to come along and approve your worthy. Unfortunately, no one is come to give you that validation for one simple reason; your ambition is not that important.
It’s just important that you don’t become a nuisance to the society. Above that, it is not that important that you achieve your wildest dream. So if you are going to pursue your ambition, you have to make it more important than anyone else can see it. You have to be so obsessed with your ambition that people will think you are taking this thing too far. There is nobody that achieved significant success that wasn’t obsessed about what they did; no one that people didn’t think was taking it too far.
Most success people have impostor syndrome; the feeling of doubt that they deserve the success they have. They have the fear that one day someone will discover who they really are and expose them as a fraud. This is because they are like you and I; doubtful, fearful and lazy. But they made their ambition so important than their doubts, fears and laziness could coexist. So make your ambition more important than it really is.
2. Aim to Work smart not hard
Laziness is a feeling that surfaces when you run out of will power. When the drive to do is not there, you feel lazy. And to be frank, you cannot build anything worthwhile from will power alone because sooner or later you will run out of it. If you want to achieve your lofty goals, you need to be smarter than that.
If you have noticed, the people that are always busy and hard-working are rarely the most successful at what they do. However, the ones that become successful are those who find easier ways to get hard things done. As Bill Gates puts it, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it” Ambitious and smart people create systems that eventually require them to work less and achieve more. This is what it means to work smart not hard. Aim to figure out ways to make hard tasks easier to do. It can be getting other people to do it for you; finding the best time of the day to do it yourself, or finding the best tool to get it done.
3. Have people hold you accountable
It’s one thing to be ambitious and talk a big game; it’s another thing to be the person that gets up and gets things done. If you are often overwhelmed by laziness, you need some external pressure to drive you into action. A simple way to do this is to get someone or some person to hold you accountable and call you out on your negative attitude. Or you can simply put your word out on your goals. The pressure to maintain your respect and integrity will drive you to go out and get things done.
There is a difference between dreaming about getting rich and actually having the skill-set to do it. So where you are lacking in skill, remember that you can always learn new things. It’s all on you.
Laziness and ambition can actually become your superpower. Laziness can lead to invention and innovation. When an ambitious, smart and lazy person finds the drive to execute, they surprise everyone including themselves.
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