“ If you ask me which is the real hereditary sin of human nature, do you imagine I shall answer pride, or luxury, or ambition, or egotism? No; I shall say indolence. Who conquers indolence will conquer all the rest. Indeed all good principles must stagnate without mental activity.” -Johann Zimmerman
You know the feeling you get when you do not want to do ANYTHING. Where you’d rather be a couch potato – sitting there, mindlessly watching TV while the rest of the world passes you by. Laziness – we know deep down it is bad and somedays we feel guilty about it.
Having one or two lazy days is okay but it becomes a problem when you allow it continue for too long.
Especially when you have something of importance you should be doing, Agreed – we always have something we should be doing and can not stay “turned on” (get your mind out the gutter) for too long. Your body needs rest when you have exerted yourself.
But let’s be honest – when last did you really exert yourself? – push your body to the limit, it’s stretching point? – exactly.
Confession, I am working on being less of a lazy person – and if you are like me, you probably know you could be doing a lot more with your time. No one is inherently lazy as laziness can be attributed to many sources.
Low energy levels
Having something to do you’d rather not
Fear of the unknown etc
To stop being lazy, you have to understand it. Understanding why you think you are lazy is a big key to being productive in your day to day activities.
Laziness is a symptom and not a cause. This is good news as symptoms can be changed once you understand and manage them. If you understand your body well enough – you can correctly identify the different symptoms for a common cold or a full blown fever. And while it is not advisable to self medicate – most of us do it.
You have a symptom and you know what is coming – You get drugs to feel better. You can do this when you are feeling lazy if you can understand the symptoms of laziness, what they are trying to communicate and dealing with them immediately.
Here are the 8 “symptoms” of laziness or rather the 8 voices of laziness and what it is trying to say to you.
The 8 voices of laziness
These 8 symptoms of laziness are feelings you get when you want to do something productive or active and these voices keep you in a state of inertia. Understanding them is key to dealing with being a couch potato all week long.
This voice arises when you want to take on a new task, The voice tells you “you do not know what to do” or “you do not know what you are doing”. When this comes up it can feel overwhelming and you start to rationalise the sh*t out of it. Self acclaimed perfectionists suffer from this a lot. You want a finished process or result but you stay there too scared to even start.
The trick is to get started and figure it out along the way. You learn from the mistakes as you grow.
At its root, a neurotic behavior is an automatic, unconscious effort to manage deep anxiety. This anxiety comes with a feeling that “you just can’t” – while this is a feeling and not necessarily fact. We most times allow this to be fact.
Once you listen to this voice, you would rather do anything than the task in front of you. Instead of reading the book or taking the course that would get you forward, you stay stuck. Doing nothing.
But I bet there are times you have felt like. Especially when you start something new and you have excelled at things you never could do before. Think of those times and use that as fuel to get started.
We have covered the importance of a growth mindset in our previous blog posts. A fixed mindset means you are afraid to make mistakes and grow. You are scared you would look
A growth mindset is the cure to this – understanding that you can grow, change and be better at anything you work consistently at even with lots of mistakes would make you a better person.
Whenever you hear this voice tell yourself this – “ i’d make mistakes and learn from them “.
Feeling lethargic means a lack of energy and enthusiasm. This voice constantly lies to you. You set an alarm to wake up at 5am and work out, there it is telling you to take an extra 15 minutes. Your mind says you are too tired and you should just procrastinate.
This is sadly false. But it is a voice of laziness and a symptom you should look out for.
A cure for this is telling yourself “just one more”. Feel tired after doing 20 pushups tell yourself “just one more” – doing just one more would prove to you ( and to your mind) that you have all the energy and enthusiasm you need to do what needs to be done
A feeling of apathy is one of the symptoms of laziness and can be seen in your mind telling you it lacks energy. Intertest or concern with what you have to do. This feeling of not caring about anything is a way to avoid negative emotions and not address them.
This is still just a feeling unless you allow the voice to win and it becomes a fact. Because in truth, you care about something. Everyone cares about something and the only reason this voice resurfaces is because we feel we cannot do anything about how we feel.
Finding what you care about and working on it or using it as fuel to do what needs to be done.
E.g You love to scroll through IG pictures, do something you have to do on your to do list for a required amount of time and use scrolling through IG as your reward.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. This voice comes up after you miss an opportunity that presents itself again. Do not listen to it.
You can start now. You still have so much time. What would you rather do? Wish you started
The two greatest words on earth are “I AM” – because anything you say after this statement defines you. I learnt this from Joel Osteen and it is true. Anything you say after those two words defines you.
There really is power in your words. Be careful how you use them.
And if you do not believe in the spiritual and you are more scientific – there is something called “confirmation bias” – once you think you are lazy, everything around you happens to confirm that fact.
Say you are tired and your mind starts finding reasons to confirm your bias
The last voce on the list is shame – When you realise you are being lazy and instead of doing anything you start thinking about how you shouldn’t be this lazy while still not doing anything.
This would go on and you are still not doing anything. Mark Manson calls this kind of rationalising the feedback loop from hell.
You get angry, now you are thinking – why am i angry, now you are angry that you are angry – you’ve been here haven’t you? – we all have. Understand this voice and do something.
Each of this voices tries to tell you something
Accept them without any judgement
Learn to identify each voice.
And when you do identify the voice you can know what next to do.
PS: For you workaholics – lazy time is good for your body and mind too. Find some time to rest to avoid burnout.