laziness doesn’t really exist

Why are people lazy? Actually, let me rephrase that. Why do people give up on their goals and settle for the minimum? “Lazy” is a term we hear over and over again, but what human genuinely desires to put in the least amount of effort? Theoretically, if we care, we will put in the effort.

That theory doesn’t always hold up though. There are plenty of situations where we do care and technically have the time but we still take the ‘lazy’ option. It’s terrifying to think about how often we become okay with the minimum. And we are okay with this minimum because it’s exhausting to go above and beyond.

This is a bit of a radical position, but I’m here to defend it: few to no people are actually lazy.

The main distinction between those who are determined and work hard versus those who slack off is that those who work hard have figured out how to handle their own emotions. Everyone has things they have to do that they don’t want to, and we also all have things that we care about. “Lazy” people, of course, have things they care about. It’s rarely a lack of desire and more of a lack of self-trust. To put yourself out there takes courage. It takes drive, and it’s risky. Doing the minimum feels safer.

Self-discipline and self-trust are emotional skills, and they take time to build up. One builds up self-discipline by doing things. Doing things takes commitment and being okay with failure. Self-trust is the same, it takes commitment to yourself and again, being okay with failure.

Whatever we do or don’t do is a result of how we feel. Sure, rationality is an important mediating factor, but we will find a way to justify our actions in some manner, no matter what route we take. Even if you are trying to go after the most ‘rational’ answer, you are beginning the search with an emotional basis and social context. We should research what we can, make sure we have the full picture of the situation, etc., but our emotions aren’t something to fear. Having emotions is what gives us the drive and purpose in our lives in the first place.

When it comes to laziness then, “Oh, go pull yourself together”, isn’t going to be useful advice for most people. Learning to trust yourself and follow through on the promises you make to yourself is a pretty massive undertaking. It requires confidence and acceptance of risk. It’s a big deal, especially for those who don’t have the highest self-esteem to begin with.

If you have difficulty being self-motivated and getting things done then, try to look within yourself. Forgive yourself. Be patient with yourself. Start with little things, and build up your own trust in yourself. Change is difficult but worth it.


Photo creds: Enya Callibuso

act like James Bond

I was just watching Sean Connery in one of those old James Bond movies, and frankly, his character seems like a psychopath. Of course he is suave and cool under pressure, but it’s legitimately frightening once you start seriously considering how many people have died around him and his constant “cool”. He shows affection towards his coworkers, but it’s more respect than genuine connection. He almost dies and is surrounded by danger all day, every day, and yet he doesn’t show severe psychological trauma as a result.

But even so, there is something intangibly fascinating with his character. His intellect, cunning, charisma, the gadgets, the fact his efforts make a difference– James Bond is cool because he seems to be the version of ourselves we want to be: exciting yet put-together. In most instances, we have to choose if we want to be responsible or want to have fun, and neither will make a difference like busting a diamond-smuggling ring. Compared to that mirage of 007, our lives seem to pale in comparison.

The key then, is to stop comparing. While there are definitely key aspects of the James Bond myth that are unreasonable and lacking, one of powers Bond seems to have is the power to act. Being a psychopath should absolutely not be our goal because it doesn’t make us cool, it makes us lonely. However, he thinks on his feet and goes with it. He gets things done. People are flawed, even fictional characters are flawed, but if we learn anything from a flawed James Bond, it’s that we can always do more than we think if we just go after it.