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

the unknown and her demons

It’s hard to trust. By it’s nature, when we don’t know how things will turn out, it puts us on edge. Yet we need to somehow trust ourselves enough to be able to handle the unknown as it comes. But it’s unknown, maybe you’ve never experienced it before, so how can you trust you’ll be able to handle it?

Part of dealing with the uncertainty of the future is realizing that we are going to have to deal with it one way or another. We can’t control the future and completely eliminate the chances of something unexpected, and even if we could, that sort of boring life would drive us crazy. Not knowing is natural. Maybe we don’t know what’s coming down the road of life to greet us, but we know other people and can see how they’ve turned out. Sometimes they turn out alright, and sometimes they don’t. Much of the difference is in how people handle their stress and troubles.

You will be stressed in the future. You will have troubles. These are natural and can even be good for us in the long run! But most importantly, you can change how you’ll handle these difficulties! It is hard to trust yourself, but take the risk. Trust yourself, the alternative is boring. Here’s a little list of things to remember to help you through tense times:

  • Communicate with people about how you’re feeling. Be honest, but tactful if needed.
  • Don’t take too much on! Assume you will only accomplish half of your to-do list, and give yourself time to rest.
  • You can still do amazing things, just realize that the best things take time! Be consistent and let your little efforts build up.
  • Take care of yourself! Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s making sure you’re the best person you can be for others.
  • You are loved, and it’s never too late to change for the better, so start as soon as possible!

the cruel words we say

Contempt is one of the biggest indicators that a couple will break up eventually. It’s termed one of the Four Horsemen in respect to divorce. The other three are criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling. The other three also make more intuitive sense. We critique those we love because we want them to be the best they can be, but taking it too far means not really loving them for who they are, but who we want them to be. Defensiveness is a sign of distrust; we find tidbits offensive and feel the need to defend ourselves without realizing that they possibly didn’t mean offense at all. Stonewalling is refusing to engage with the person you’re angry with at all, sort of hoping it just goes away without you dealing with it. All of these make sense because it deals with mistrust and miscommunication.

The Four Horsemen are popular fellows, not just in romantic relationships but all relationships. There’s different theories to why we react in such ways to people who are close to us, but I would guess a lot of it comes from uncertainty. We criticise because we are afraid they will see the flaws in us, so we remind them they are flawed too. We are so uncertain about what they mean, we find things to become defensive about. We stonewall because we don’t know how to deal with the emotions and hope it just sort of resolves on its own. There might be a whole slew of why we do these things, but it’s not healthy to act in these ways because we aren’t solving anything– we’re making it easier to give up.

Yet contempt is a funny emotion, one we don’t know a lot about. It makes sense to have problems trusting another person because you want to but also don’t want to be hurt. The question with contempt is, why hate someone you are in such a close bond with? What’s the source there? Is it mistrust? And yet we can trust people and still loathe them. Contempt, if I might suggest, could be a result of a non-confrontation. If you ridicule someone who matters to you, you’re doing it for a reason. It might not come to one’s mind easily, most certainly isn’t the petty little thing want to call out, but it is there.

In terms of contempt, I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself. Being cruel doesn’t solve a relationship’s problems, no matter who is in that relationship. If you can’t seem to stop yourself, then ask yourself why you’re still there. It’s important to be able to trust and communicate with others, and that’s never going to stop being a challenge. However, you also need to trust yourself and know where the line is. It’s simple to be contemptuous, but the best bonds aren’t simple; they are strong.

Forming ice

Thanks to Radiolab, I learned today that pure water doesn’t actually freeze at “freezing point”; instead, in most instances, it needs a ‘seed’ to help the water molecules structure themselves into solid form. The seed can be a piece of dust or bacterium, but when that seed is introduced, that is when fluid gains form. 

Like water, we need a seed to start out with. We think we can structure ourselves under the right circumstances, no big deal, but we end up needing to depend on an outside force. It can be a strong wound to pride to accept that you need help. Afterall, we want to think of ourselves as competent. Needing others means that you can’t make it on your own, and needing others means you need to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is embarressing. It’s revealing the ugliest, worst parts of yourself, knowing that you can only hope people won’t leave you after. It’s hard to depend on people. However, it’s even harder not depending on anyone. 

When we depend on others, and use that support to form something bigger than you both, that’s important. One of the most amazing things about water is this solidification. Whereas every other molecule grows heavier and denser in solid form, water grows lighter when it turns into ice. The very fact that ice floats means so much to our environment, allows for so much life. We can’t see what we can become if we don’t become vulnerable and accept support from others. Furthermore, without accepting support ourselves, it’s hard to give support and help that others need. Don’t be fluid, find your structure, find your seed. It’s worth it. 

When we trust our phones more than people

We depend on our phones as an extention of our memory. The “youth of today” are not as capable of doing basic math in their heads because what’s the point when you have a calculator with you at all times? We don’t need to remember the author and title, we just need to remember enough key words to find a source again. While we might not like to admit it, a majority of us in the industrialized world rely on smartphones to augment our cognition. It’s external storage of knowledge. Whether this is bad or good or both is besides the point however; the real question is why can we rely on our phones and not other people?

The easy answer is that it’s less work. Phones don’t demand emotional support, and even their “alone time” of update installations only takes about 20 minutes every few months. The cellular device operates in a manner that optimizes it’s usefulness to the individual owner. Relationships are much harder. Relationships involve emotions and a wide variety of factors we can’t easily pin down all the time. Relationships also involve humans, where the effort is expected to be reciprocal. 

We rely on phones because there’s very little chance it will come back to haunt us. People are difficult to deal with, and so it’s much easier to just rely on something without any extra baggage. But frankly, we need the extra baggage of dealing with people. Our relationships are important, more than any material thing. When we rely on people, it makes us vulnerable. But we need to be vulnerable or we suffer alone. So talk to those you care about. Forgive petty arguments. Take the time to listen to each other. Depending on others is uncomfortable because it means you can’t be selfish, and that’s frightening, but it’s worth it.