Laziness is perhaps the largest obstacle on the road to success. Most people would probably blame their own misfortune on laziness, and in 90% of all cases I’m prepared to agree. Laziness, or the lack of laziness, is what makes separates the successful from the unsuccessful.
In fact, successful, self-disciplined and productive people love people who are lazy, because they are often making their money off of lazy people, by providing them with shortcuts. Lazy, dumb and/or desperate people are often the target customer for many entrepreneurs, because they are an easy source of money. I won’t dig too deep into this in this article, but I think Wall Street is a good illustration of this.
Everyone is lazy. But the few people gifted with a minimum amount of laziness are bound to succeed in life. Those who rather do something productive than something that doesn’t require any effort, simply because they find it more enjoyable, are destined to go far in career and life. If that is not commonsense to you, just take a look around you (or should I say above you?). Every person that has achieved something in life, from Bill Gates to Cristiano Ronaldo to your own boss, they didn’t get to that position while being lazy, did they?
As you are already very much aware of: Life is unfair. We are born with a certain amount of talent, intelligence and appearance. Likewise, we are also born with a certain amount of laziness. But does that mean that someone with a high amount of laziness is bound to be unsuccessful in life and career? Of course not! Someone with low musical talent can still practice to become a good guitarist, someone with low intelligence can study to become a high educated doctor, or someone with a not so attractive appearance can work out, dress well, wear a good haircut and put on makeup to become a model (and let’s not forget Photoshop). Just like all of these people can work against their own bad genes to become successful in a profession where they had the odds against them, someone with a high amount of laziness can still realize their goals and dreams in life by fighting and overcoming laziness.
1. Discovery and Acceptance
In order to overcome laziness, you must first of all discover and accept it. It’s important that you realize that you are feeling lazy as fast as possible. If you are lazy without thinking about it, you can’t consciously begin to change the situation, and you are wasting time. You must accept that laziness is an emotion that everyone is feeling every now and then, including you. Just like being happy, angry or sad, being lazy is an emotion. And when you start to look at it like a state of emotion everything will become much clearer to you.
To discover laziness as fast as possible, you should make it a habit to always question yourself what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Most people will notice that for a large part of the day, they do things without knowing why it’s useful to them. If it’s not fun and it’s not beneficial, why should you do it?
It’s also very important that you don’t justify the emotion, it’s never okay to feel lazy. Don’t tell yourself that you have the right to be lazy and work at half speed. Being far ahead in the schedule and have plenty of time until deadline is not a good reason to be lazy.
It’s the things we do and the things that are done to us, that wake up our emotions. To awake feelings of happiness, maybe you want to watch a standup comedian that makes you laugh. But what makes us emotional is individual, maybe the same standup comedy guy that made you happy will make someone else feel bored or angry. We can make general predictions how different things will make other people feel, but we can’t know for sure because the feelings are individual. So you need to analyze yourself, what is it that makes you feel lazy, which thoughts? Which actions?
For instance, I will feel lazy if I start thinking about a very big task I need to do, or when I do things that are lazy. If I lie down on the couch and watch some television, it won’t make me feel like doing something productive, instead it will leave me with the emotion to just continue be plain lazy.
Analyze what it is that makes you feel lazy.
4. Elimination of the source
Once you know what it is that makes you feel lazy, simply avoid it. This can be done long-term and short-term. For example if watching TV makes you lazy, the long-term option would be to sell the TV, while the short-term option is to shut it off.
Take a good hard look at your goals and desires, what is it that you are trying to accomplish? How will it affect you now and in the future? Let your desires fill you up with motivation. Make a list of things you want to accomplish, and what benefits it would give you. The more concrete benefits, the better. For example, if you want to lose weight, you could say that the benefit would be “to look better”, but a more concrete benefit would be “to attract a partner”. Or even better, to attract that special person in your life.
Without a good motivation, it’s extremely easy to start procrastinating. You also need to remind yourself of your goals and especially their benefits every so often or the motivation will fade.
After you have filled up yourself with motivation and you are fully aware of why you want to do this in the first place. You should then immediately take the decision to either give up to laziness or to stand up against it. Either you go in 100% or 0%, either you go all-in or you fold. Because to work on something and do something else on the side is the worst thing you can do. Working on a task while watching TV or chatting on Facebook doesn’t work, even if you might get things done at 20% speed, the work done will not be as good as if you were 100% committed to the task.
7. Falling back (Folding)
It’s okay to fall back and be lazy every now and then, after all you can’t work at 100% 24/7. When falling back, do so completely, try and not to think about your tasks too much, or you will just procrastinate the task and prolong the break. Best thing would be to take a nap or go to sleep. Even if you don’t feel like you need to sleep, a 90 minute nap will make you feel much more refreshed and energized afterwards.
There are only three good reasons to choose the folding option.
One, because you have a tired mind and/or body. (Solution: take a nap or go sleep)
Two, because you have just ate a heavy meal. (Solution: do something else for about an hour, or chose a task that you think you can still manage)
Three, because something outweighs the benefits of your task. (For example an important football game or a party you want to go to)
8. Standing up (All-In)
Unless you fall under one of the three scenarios above, you should always chose to stand up against the emotion of laziness. In other words, this should be the option you choose for the majority of time. To stand up against laziness means that you have accepted that you are feeling lazy, but using your desires as a motivation to keep on going until either you have fulfilled your desires, or it’s time to fall back and go to bed.
One more time in short:
Realize that you are being lazy as soon as possible. Don’t waste any time by being in the state where you are being unproductive, but you haven’t yet realized that you’re lazy. You can easily do this by making a habit to always think about what you’re doing and why you do it.
Accept that you are under the control on laziness, but don’t justify it. It’s not okay to be lazy, ever.
Find the source to your laziness, what is it that makes you feel lazy right now. If you can find the source, try and eliminate it.
Fill yourself with motivation by thinking about all the benefits completing a task would have on you. The more concrete benefits the better.
Once you are fully aware of why you should do the task and how it will affect you, take the decision to either fall back or stand up against laziness. Then fully commit yourself to your choice of action.