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Why Being Lazy Helps You Create Things That Really Matter

Why Being Lazy Helps You Create Things That Really Matter

“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness – to save oneself trouble.”

– Agatha Christie

As a child, we were always taught that hard work is the ultimate key to success, but as we grew up we were baffled to see the hard workers hustling their way for the race of success only to see their lazier mates ahead of them.

No matter how much we may decorate perseverance, it’s like the phrase – the early bird may get the worm but the second mouse always gets the cheese – because the first mouse tries too hard and often gets killed in a trap or injured, leaving the second with very little to do in the pursuit of cheese.

If we ponder upon it, we can find many instances where the lazier ones among us have found the answers way earlier and with much less hard work than our workaholic counterparts. This is because hidebound hard work is not the only answer, most of the times our wittiness and common sense do the trick, saving us from trouble. Of course, we can volunteer to our vociferous laziness the ism of practically preparing our mind to do nothing.

Laziness is regarded as curse in our society and often a taboo; however, if we are cool enough, it is actually a blessing in disguise to help us create things that actually matters.

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Below are some good reasons why lazy people are often able to propel ahead of their hard working mates, despite their immense reluctance to the concept of “work”.

1. They pay attention to the tiniest of details.

Promptness is a quality that every worker should adhere to. You take a job and work your socks off because that’s what our conventional work ethic demands. However, when the hard workers channel most of their intelligence and energy in the work they are doing, they completely ignore the subtle nuances – and more often than not, these are the things that actually matter.

Being lazy gives the lazy bones all the time in the world to just contemplate about the job they are given over and over in their tiny little brains. The chances of missing tiny subtleties are extremely less. While their hard working partners sweat in stress, they can leave their common sense to take care of the situation.

2. They can think outside the box.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”, said Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Obsessed with their ultimate passion of having as little as possible to do, the lazy people always find a simpleton solution of getting out of even the toughest predicaments.

They simply cannot help it. Chances are, their solutions will be unorthodox and a complete heresy to the conventional, but it would certainly work in a bizarre yet beautiful way.

3. Their methods of saving time innovates something.

Automobiles were only invented because men were too lazy to walk. Airplanes were only invented because men were too lazy to drive or sail. The lazy people focus on creating things that can give them the maximum number of days off.

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When we look through history, we can find numerous examples of laziness helping in famous inventions. McMillan invented bicycles to spare him the trouble of walking. Programmers invented loops to save tedious hours of typing commands over and over. It’s like the saying: “If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father.”

4. They think of life hacks that normal people wouldn’t.

It’s the nature of hard workers to honestly walk over all the lengths and breadths, but the lazy people always choose the hypotenuse. Hard workers work like clockwork to fill and empty the water vessels, but lazy people develop sensors so they can control the mechanism with their remotes while lying on a couch watching TV commercials.

In a way, the minds of lazy people are controlled by a giant indolent monster which always puts oblique thoughts in their mind.

5. They make machines do their work.

“Human beings were supposed to work less, not more, following the rise of the machines”, according to John Maynard Keynes. Working less does not mean the work has to be less effective. Lazy people try to automate things as much as they can. Even for the simplest of tasks, they devise a system to relegate themselves from physical work. They make use of different shopping cart software instead of just relying on human efforts at their retail store.

Lazy Facebook page owners will just schedule the task for a week and relax, the thing they intended would still be there, and out of nowhere, they have freed plenty of time for themselves. They make maximum use of resources near them in an attempt to avoid any physical labor.

6. They make money even while sleeping.

Lazy entrepreneurs often develop an enterprise that will generate them income even when they are dreaming. If KFC produces chicken, lazy social media geeks put up a page and hooks them with consumers (for a charge of service, naturally).

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While the hard workers work relentless office hours for a specified sum of money, the lazier minds come up with solution to earn money while doing things they love most – virtually nothing at all.

7. They believe genius happens in the moment.

Hours of rehearsals and preparations is not enough for most of the people to eradicate the nervousness of the moment. Meanwhile, those with an arrogant eerie of laziness do wonders just right at that moment with minimal preparations that put days of hard work to shame.

Lazy people are strong believers of carpe diem (seizing the day). They believe it’s the moment that creates something magical and not the days spent stressing over it. This way, they can juxtapose their perpetual idleness with a sense of accomplishments.

8. They are lazy because they are clever.

Our society does not trust lazy people with big responsibilities because they are full of mischiefs. Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, the German Army Chief before the second World War was puzzled by the fact that all of his officers were either clever and lazy, or stupid and diligent. However, it was the former who qualified for higher posts because they possessed intelligence and composure to come out of difficult situations.

They avoided pointless staff meetings and formal derogatory talks, but when they were in battlefields, they were true talismans.

9. They are often too lazy to be lazy.

What if you like watching TV, but you are too lazy to actually go to the power socket and switch on the television? Sometimes the lazy people are so lazy that they say, “Darn everything! I am going to amuse myself” and that’s just about when they create something actually productive.

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Yes, they procrastinate things, and snooze their alarm, but in the moments of their mild epiphany, they are unstoppable. It’s something like the best political satires being written at times when press and media freedom lack the most.

10. Their ultimate goal is to create a lazier society.

Development works like induction – you develop and you beget further development. The lazy people actually contribute in creating a lazier society, where humans have to do less work. However, since the bars are always high, they contribute even further.

Conclusion

In addition to contribution for social development, they also can make time which they can spend with their families and friends. It is certainly better to chill with a beer and your friends, or enjoy barbecue with your family, than wasting your intelligence on hard hours at the office. Isn’t it?

Featured photo credit: Bill Gates, speaking at the UK-hosted GAVI immunisation Alliance pledging event by DFID via flickr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on June 27, 2019

How to Use Observational Learning for Your Best Improvement

How to Use Observational Learning for Your Best Improvement

Someone walks over, introduces themselves and raises their hand out in front of you. How do you know what you’re supposed to do next?

If this were the first time you saw this behavior, you wouldn’t have a clue.

If you were from an Eastern culture, you might go to bow toward this person. But you know what to do because since childhood, you’ve observed many adults shaking hands.

Observational learning is a learning theory in psychology that describes how we learn by watching and imitating others.

In this article, we will look into what observational learning really is and how it helps you learn and grow.

What Is Observational Learning?

Children learn many of their behaviors and expressions through observation. We pick up things as fundamental as walking, playing, gestures, facial expressions, and body postures via observational learning.

In the 1970s, psychologist Albert Bandura outlined a four-stage process of how observational learning occurs:[1]

  1. Attention: Notice something in the environment.
  2. Retention: Recall what was noticed (memory).
  3. Reproduction: Copy or mimic what you noticed.
  4. Motivation: Get reinforcement from the environment for completing the behavior (or punishment for not).

Pretty simple, right?

Neuroscience provides further evidence. Mirror neurons fire when one animal acts and another animal observes as if the neurons in one brain are mirroring the patterns of another brain.

The result?

You make a funny face at a baby. And the baby makes the same funny right back at you.

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What Influences Observational Learning

Observational learning doesn’t always occur, so it’s essential to understanding the conditions in place when it does.

So when are we more like to imitate others? It happens when:

  • You doubt yourself and your abilities.
  • You are confused or in an unfamiliar environment.
  • You’re in a position of authority, like a boss, leader, or celebrity.
  • Someone is similar to you in some way: interest, age, or social class.
  • You see someone getting rewards for their behavior.

For example, let’s say four people go out to an upscale restaurant. One person frequents this type of restaurant while it’s the first time for the other three individuals.

The person who is comfortable in this environment knows what to do: when and where to place the napkin, how the place setting works, and how to communicate with the wait staff. Because he knows what to do, in this situation, he’s the authority.

The rest of his company are in an unfamiliar environment. And when we don’t know how to behave, we tend to look around and observe the behavior of others.

Somehow, we know who to observe by picking up subtle cues. So without having to think about it, the rest of the party subconsciously looks around and begin to discern who the “expert” is and what he’s doing. And this sort of process frequently happens throughout our development and the rest of our lives.

Performing Your Best with Observational Learning

Observational learning usually occurs subconsciously in social situations. That is, our basic need to belong, or “fit in,” drives us to adapt our behavior to the actions of others.

But the real power of observational learning comes from making this process active and conscious.

What does this mean?

Once you understand how observational learning works, you can choose to apply it in ways that support your personal and professional development.

Modeling

Modeling

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is another term for observational learning. Let’s say you want to become an expert presenter. No problem. Find a few presenters that you believe are highly skilled and watch what they do.

Pay attention to everything:

  • How do they hold themselves?
  • When do they pause?
  • How do they emphasize specific points?
  • Do they use slides? Imagery? Sounds?
  • What gestures do they make as they communicate?

Modeling the success of others is perhaps the fastest way to elevate your game and make rapid progress in your development.

Shadowing

In the workplace, observational learning is often called shadowing.

By shadowing an experienced employee for a period, you’ll naturally learn how to perform the tasks this person does each day. This process works effectively in sales environments too.

Apprenticeship

If you study the masters of any field, you quickly learn that they had great teachers or masters from whom they learned.

In Mastery, author Robert Greene points out that those who reach the level of mastery in any field submit to a rigorous apprenticeship to absorb the secret knowledge of those with many years of experience.

Similarly, in The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle highlights that anyone who cultivates talent has a master coach who knows how to break things down and teach things in a way that accelerates learning.

So if there’s any area of your life that you’re seeking mastery in, with who can you form an apprenticeship?

Here in this article, you can learn more about apprenticeship at work: What Is an Apprenticeship and What Value Can It Bring to Your Career?

Hijacking Your Behavior

Our brains, in many ways, are like sponges. We absorb what we observe.

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While this observational learning can be a powerful tool for our personal growth and development, it can also be a destructive force.

How?

Consider all of the bad behavior we witnessed when we were kids (and still today):

The list goes on. And yes, we observed and absorbed these behavioral patterns too from our parents, teachers, family members, and friends.

We also adopt behavior we observe on television and in the media. Studies show, for example, that teens who watched a lot of sexual content were more likely to start having sex soon after.[2]

Does this mean that watching violent movies will make you act violently? Not necessarily, but these images are imprinted in our unconscious and often later express themselves under the right conditions.

Here’s the bottom line:

Be very conscious of the media you consume and with who you spend your time. Our minds are like computer hardware and what we observe is like the software. So choose positive and life-supporting software if you want your brain to mimic it!

5 Ways to Use Observational Learning to Your Advantage

Here are five tips to make observational learning work for you:

1. Be Highly Selective on What, Who and When You Observe

Remember, observational learning is taking place whether we want it to or not. To harness this powerful force, consciously select who you are observing and in what context.

For example, if you know someone who’s highly productive in their work, ask to shadow them as they work.

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But this individual may be an entirely different person when they aren’t working. So be mindful of what behavioral patterns you’re absorbing.

2. Pay Attention to the Details

Those who achieve mastery in any area of their lives do so by mastering the fundamentals and then continually improving on more subtle levels. To the inexperienced eye, it’s often difficult to notice what they do differently.

In the case of negotiations, for example, a skilled negotiator knows how and when to disarm the other player. Sometimes these skills express themselves instinctively, so you may pick up on details in behavior the individual doesn’t even know they are doing.

3. Maintain a Playful Attitude

Many of us are conditioned to believe that seriousness is a valuable quality for learning. Psychologist Abraham Maslow, however, found that self-actualizing individuals,[3] or individuals with positive mental health, tend to have a more innocent, playful attitude when they are learning and developing.

Research also shows that we learn up to ten times faster in the areas that interesting to us.[4] So stay curious, open, and ready to learn.

4. Rehearse What You Observe in Your Mind

Studies show that rehearsing specific patterns of movement in our mind’s eye can help our brains encode desired actions and behaviors.[5] Many peak-performance athletes and musicians use this form of creative visualization training.

Visualization practices are extraordinarily powerful when you do it right before bedtime so your subconscious mind can process in the images while you sleep.

5. Don’t Just Observe, Do

To make observational learning stick, you must also do whatever it is you’re observing . Many companies combine shadowing experienced employees with hands-on training to accelerate the learning and development of new employees.

The Bottom Line

In the personal development space, observational learning is often called modeling the success of others .

Perhaps as you’re reading this, you’re already getting ideas of who you can start modeling.

Here are three questions to help you get started right now:

  1. What skills and behaviors to you want to learn?
  2. Who already possesses these skills and behaviors?
  3. How can you start modeling these individuals right away?

Now, make it so!

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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