The Root of Laziness

Laziness is not a personal defect or a personality flaw. It's not because you suck or because you are lame. Even lazy people aren't lazy about some things. Nobody, except the severely clinically depressed, feel absolutely no joy or motivation for anything in their lives. Instead, "laziness" becomes an easy out for explaining our underperforming ways. It's not encouraged or celebrated to be "lazy," but at least people can understand it. Really, it's a matter of moving the impetus for action from ourselves and onto this fantasy adjective that we think happens to just "be the way we are."

I call bullshit.

Nobody is lazy when it comes time to eat. Sure, we may be lazy about cooking something nutritious but when it comes to actually shoveling food down our gullet, nobody needs to break out of their laziness to satiate their hunger. I know plenty of "lazy" people who are anything but when it comes to playing video games. The sheer diligence required to master a video game is proof against your laziness. All it proves is that you haven't found anything you care about enough more than video games.

Instead, laziness is a matter of short sightedness, not knowing what to do next, and not cultivating our own curiosity.


Short sightedness merely refers to the fact that when we're being lazy we're undervaluing the return we'd get on our efforts in the future. When you have a short sighted view of the future, of course sitting on your ass all day seems like a good idea. If my operational time view was only for the next couple hours I'd probably go buy another ice cream cone, chill out, and ignore the blog post I should be writing. But when you successfully shift your point of view beyond the next couple of hours the range of beneficial activities you could partake in increases exponentially. The helpful question to ask yourself to figure out what your frame of reference might be right now is, "What am I going to be really pissed I didn't do in about a week?" Or, even better, "What am I pretty pissed off about that I didn't do last week."


Secondly, lots of laziness comes very simply from not knowing what to do next. Actually doing the things you want to do requires enough effort. Figuring out what those things are can be more than the average (or even above average, like yourself) to handle.

That's why I try to separate the two processes.

I'll spend some time (usually Sundays) figuring out what I actually need to do to move my projects forward. That way, when it comes down to actually doing work, I don't have to waste precious brainpower figuring out what the hell I need to do. I can just look at my list of predetermined tasks and get crackin'.

When you're feeling like a lazy spell might be sneaking up on you, the thought of simultaneously figuring out what you need to do and actually doing it can be the straw that breaks the camel's back (pardon the metaphor -- you're the least camel-looking person I've ever met).


Lastly, feelings of laziness arise when we don't cultivate our own natural curiosity about the world. In the 1800's I suppose you'd have a valid excuse for not investigating what you were inherently curious about. Unless your inherent interest laid within the domain of your immediate environment, you were a bit out of luck. What's the excuse now?

If you're reading this you obviously have access to the internet and therefore could become incredibly knowledgeable on almost any topic you want. Open your mind to the possibilities of what you could be learning right now. If you honestly have no idea about what you might be curious about, hop onto Wikipedia and click on the link that will take you to a random article. Read it, and then click on another link. Continue until you've found something that piques your interest. There is literally no reason to ever be bored ever again.


Lastly, let's not confuse "lazy" with legitimate relaxation and renewal. We can't always give 100% effort all the time. We need to step back and just chill sometimes. Let yourself do that from time to time. The main difference between actual relaxation and laziness, though, is that you consciously decide to engage in it.

I worry that I've made this article about 600 words too long to truly impact my target audience. If you've made it this far I get the sense that you aren't feeling too lazy right now. We all have our moments though, so I hope you bookmark this article or keep it in mind the next time you begin to feel like a third hour of  The Deadliest Catch is the best course of action.