Sunday, February 17, 2019

Is laziness a thing?

I've been reading some things lately saying there's no such thing as laziness.  I mean, definitely people can be unproductive and not accomplish a lot.  But the word "lazy" suggests a voluntary, moral quality, whereas many people who aren't getting things done are actually doing the best they can.

They may have very low energy due to health problems.
They have have executive dysfunction.
They may be depressed.
They may simply have different priorities than other people think they should have.

It would be wrong to call these people "lazy," because their problem can't be solved by being shamed for not getting more done.  And it can be very comforting to look around at the stuff you've done and realize that maybe it actually was your best on that particular day.  I've had a lot of days like that, when I felt terrible about not knocking out my to-do list, only to realize that the reason I didn't accomplish more was because I had a crying baby hanging on me and was operating on five hours' sleep.  That's not laziness.  That's inability.

That said, there is one thing which I think is properly called laziness.  That's when people don't put forth effort when it benefits other people, only when it benefits themselves.  You know the type: holds down a job just fine but leaves boxer shorts all over a shared apartment, trusting that the roommates will put up with the mess.  Or a person who lives in their parents' basement rentfree and won't get a job, but they accomplish all of their own goals just fine.

Now it's okay to prioritize yourself in addition to others.  For instance, I sometimes use my limited time and energy writing books instead of cleaning, because writing the books is important to me, and the rest of the family doesn't mind my spending time on them.  If they didn't support it, I probably wouldn't, because I don't want to let people live in a trashed house so I could pursue a dream they don't believe in.  As it is, I think everyone in the family is okay with the balance I'm setting, so I don't feel selfish about it.

Next time you feel like you're being lazy, ask yourself why.  Are you unable to do even the things you truly want to do?  That's not laziness.  Do you just not want to do them because your neglect won't affect you?  Then maybe you should work on seeing things from other people's point of view.

1 comment:

sleep said...

Laziness is am value judgement and so are priorities. So having different priorities could easily be defined as laziness.

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