Advertising
Advertising

Being Labelled Lazy Is a Compliment

Being Labelled Lazy Is a Compliment

How often do you use ‘lazy’ as a word to describe yourself? We tend to label ourselves as lazy because our parents would call us this if we didn’t help them do the washing up, or perhaps we couldn’t be bothered to do our homework the night before and ended up copying someone else’s work the next day.

This can then develop into adulthood when we find ourselves spread on the couch putting off the mountain of laundry that’s been piling up for days. We then deem ourselves as lazy and feel all the negative connotations it brings. But we’ve all been there. It’s certainly not a positive, affirming word we want to be associated with yet we all feel it at some point.

But what if laziness wasn’t a bad thing? Could we accept it as a good trait to have?

Advertising

Why Is Laziness Deemed As Wrong?

Laziness has always been synonymous with lack of motivation and idleness. It’s boils down to the failure to do what you’re meant to do knowing you have the ability to do it. It’s the feeling of procrastination and distraction that leads us to feel a sense of failing. And that’s just ourselves. If other people deem us as lazy, it serves as external confirmation and deepens the negative belief about ourselves.

Laziness is deep-set in our mindsets as negative because Christian tradition sees being slothful as one of the seven deadly sins. Therefore, it’s been weaved into our way of thinking from early on and we’re naturally condemned for not making the right amount of effort.

Can Laziness Be a Positive Trait?

Laziness will always exist so should we really condemn it so much?

Advertising

The idea of being lazy is very subjective and individual. Modern technology could be accused of turning us into sloths when it comes to fast-paced information. We use emojis to express emotions instead of writing out how we feel, we can share information at the click of a button, we can text someone instead of picking up the phone or meeting face to face.

But there are positive ways laziness can enhance our lives that can perhaps lead us to consider being idle as a force for good.

It’s Gives You a Chance To ‘Be’

It’s often deemed negative for our personal growth to be constantly busy and distracted from ourselves. Laziness gives us a chance to just relax and ‘be’ without the need to do the next thing on our list. There’s great power in doing nothing and if we are able to release the idea that we should be doing something else instead, it can be beneficial to our well-being.

Advertising

It Can Make You More Efficient

Having a lazy attitude does fundamentally mean you want to do less. However, this also creates a want to find a more efficient way to achieve your tasks. This is why many of the best inventors admit that their creations are born out of personally wanting to spend less time on a particular task. Ben Franklin once said he was, “the laziest man in the world. I invented all those things to save myself from toil.”

It Makes You More Lighthearted

Accepting your laziness and owning it means you can be lighthearted about who you are. The moment you start judging yourself or allowing other people’s judgement of you to affect how you feel, the negative connotation of laziness will win. Knowing you’re lazy and being able to laugh about it is a great step in acceptance and self-love.

Laziness Births Creation

Carrying on from the idea of ‘being’, once our minds are in a state of relaxation, it is naturally opened up to more inspired ideas and action. Dr Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire believes laziness and boredom is an important cog in the societal wheel. “When we are bored we look for neural stimulation. One way to achieve this is to go inwards and let our minds wander and daydream. When we are freed from the shackles of conscious restraints, we may see things differently and look at new ways of doing things.”

Advertising

You Focus on Smaller Jobs When Putting Off Bigger Ones

When we’re so consumed with the bigger ‘more important’ tasks, the smaller ones often get put off or not seen to at all. Laziness can mean turning this on its head; ignoring the big jobs by focusing on the smaller ones. While it may seem priorities are skewed, its a productive way of going about things and often clears the way for the big stuff when you eventually get round to it.

Last Minute Tasks Create Greater Focus

If you’re lazy, you no doubt put the ‘pro’ in procrastination. But putting things off to the last minute actually creates more efficiency because your mind is single-focused and time conscious. Therefore, you haven’t spent longer than you really need to on a big task or project and more energy is pumped into it over a shorter period of time.

Time To See Laziness Differently

So, perhaps laziness shouldn’t be deemed so negative. As long as you know the right time to snap out of idleness and use focus and time-shortage to work efficiently, or use it as a time for reflection or creativity, it can actually serve you an advantage. Own your laziness and use it for success.

Featured photo credit: tookapic via pexels.com

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

Trending in Smartcut

1 How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch 2 How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible (And Meaningful) 3 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 4 30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work 5 How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful and Highly Fulfilling Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next