Having Sense Enough to be Lazy

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy. – Milan Kundera

We seem as a society to place a great deal of emphasis on the merits of ambition. Just follow any set of bullet points, and you will be living the life of your dreams—you will finally be … a success.

These attitudes often strike me as a bit arrogant and aggressive, for they seem to imply that it may actually be considered deviant, to want nothing more than a tranquil life populated with the few interests, work and handful of people that give one joy in living. Is this not where life’s at?

Another thing, why the blind adherence to the perfect execution of our dreams (source of many ambitions)? What about questioning the dream, subjecting it to a little constructive critical scrutiny. What is it really all about? What is it we believe is going to fundamentally change? Why are we not happy now? Are we running away from something we need to face? Where are we heading with this? All I mean to say is that just because we attach the word dream to an idea or ideal, doesn’t mean it should automatically be sanctified.

And let me be clear. I’m all for tapping into god-given potential, but let’s keep it cheap and fun! Let’s play around with the variables instead of turning it, masochistically, into some project that promises perpetually-down-the-road-around-the-next-bend fulfillment, at the expense of what we are blessed to enjoy that is right in front of us, NOW.

Ambition can be a fine thing if it is a thoughtfully and intelligently informed one, but in my opinion Milan Kundera also makes a fair point – perhaps there is more sense in being lazy, in honouring the fallow spaces of our lives, and appreciating ‘what is’ on a much deeper level than we are usually inclined.

Lack of fulfillment then, may be nothing more than the neglect to cultivate sufficient depth and intimacy with ourselves and life at its most basic. There is much to be appreciative of (and fulfilled by) if we but take the time to slow down a little, and allow life to reveal her secrets to us.

Ambition, at the end of the day, is over-rated. It often promises more than it delivers and, in the process, obscures native enjoyments for the prospect of future, more glorified ones.

How much sense does that make?