April 16, 2024 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: What laziness actually is

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Are you a bit lazy? Are you sure?

I was having a chat with some students the other day, and I want to clear something up.

I want to talk about laziness.

This is something that I hear people often self-identify with. “I believe I could do more, but maybe I’m just lazy.”

But think about laziness for a sec. What images come to mind? What is it? It’s like someone sleeping in til way past 10am. It’s someone zoning out on the couch in front of the TV. Its someone driving to the shops when they could have walked.

Stuff like that right? That’s the commonly agreed definition right?

But none of these things are inherently bad.

In fact, some students need to do more of these things. They’ve been burning the candle at both ends and they’re starting to stress themselves out… and the people around them.

“Mary, you need to take it easy for a bit. You’re next task is to watch the Three Body Problem series on Netflix in a single weekend.”

The problem though is that society has built all these structures of shame around “laziness”, and then defined laziness as being pretty much the same bundle of activities we call ‘relaxing’.

And so some people can’t “relax” because they feel they’re being “lazy”. This is a huge problem. If you can’t relax, you can’t rejuvenate. And if you can’t rejuvenate you’ll burn out. And if you burn out, you’ll never get far.

So we need to distinguish laziness from relaxation.

How do we do that?

By recognising what laziness is.

Laziness is when you lack the willingness to do the things that you yourself know you should do.

The most important thing here is that you yourself set the benchmarks that define laziness – nobody else.

So it’s laying on the couch when you had blocked time out for study.

Or its staying in bed when you promised yourself that you would get up and do some early morning exercise.

Or it’s watching trashy TV when you had planned to research some deals this weekend.

Laziness is when you are unwilling to hold yourself to the standards you set for yourself.

That is, it’s about integrity. It’s about an alignment between what you say and what you do.

And in that way – and this is the really important thing – you can be lazy AND frenetically active at the same time.

You could be cleaning up the house when this is the only quiet hours you have to do some study.

Or you could be putting extra hours into your day job when you should be researching deals, etc.

In my eyes, this kind of thing – which we often call procrastination, is an important form of laziness.

We just don’t recognise it as laziness – being out of integrity with our word – because we’re brought up to believe that laziness has to involve a couch or a bed.

It doesn’t.

Laziness is about integrity.

How does your schedule look when you look at it like that?