Laziness does not exist

Amazing piece


Maybe I’ll read it tomorrow.


My usual reason for not doing something is, paradoxically, the fear of not doing it. I don’t understand it, but I realize our brains are not logical.


I don’t think laziness exists either, but I wish there had been more prosaic examples in the piece.

In second year I had French class at 8am, because someone in psychology had decided people learned languages better in the morning.

I also had a night school class of American Modern Literature the night before, because someone else in psychology (or hey, maybe it was the same person) had decided night classes would have better discussions if they were a mix of full-time and continuing education students.

So I’d get home from Am. Modern Lit at 10:30, wait until the relative I was living with finished watching the news at 11:30 – because the TV room was next to my bedroom and shared an air vent – and then listen to my aunt get ready for bed, because she could never be arsed to keep quiet, since it was her house. That pushed it to midnight. Then I’d have to get up at 5:30 to make it to French on time, because the aunt also refused to consider changing her morning routine so I could get more sleep.

I missed at least 1/3 of my French classes that term, and got treated to many lectures about laziness – from the aunt.

My grade average went up 10% the following year when I moved out.


Thanks to E Price, and to you, @ChickieD, for posting.

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling the past few years, and I am aware I am this person the world sees as lazy to the n th degree.
I could offer a multitude of reasons, each which compound the next, all wrapped up in chronic/familial depression and health problems, but it would be a goddamned book.
So, at the very least, I want to thank everyone for being patient with me and for knowing I really do want to do well as an artist, and create great paintings for you. I’m trying my best to get through this mess I call a life.


I guess because I’ve read my 3 for the month, I can’t access it at all.


Right click on the link and open it in an incognito window. That should work.


OoooOooh, aren’t we sneaky - that’s a slick trick, thanks so much!


My pleasure. I got tired of being referred to NY Times and Washington Post articles all the time, only to find myself out of views, until I had a “Doh!” moment, because I knew about incognito browsing…


I knew about it, but for some reason, I never made the connection as you did.


So, thanks to PatRx2, I was able to read the article.

I wonder how much my depression has impacted my ambition? Migawd, when I think of all my teenage drinking and the depression and how little we knew - ach! Because it’s hard to feel ambitious when you’re depressed; i just feel like an ugh-slug. However, being broke is a marvy motivator, IMNSHO.


I found the piece very interesting - not exactly illuminating for me, because I lived this myself, and dropped out of grad school. Like the example student from the piece, I hide my reasons to avoid people thinking I’m using something as an excuse - and so I get called lazy (including to my face by my thesis advisor, who is an asshole, and himself lazy in the sense that his ambition is to get paid for doing the minimum amount of work, but that’s another story). Absurdly, being seen as “lazy” is actually more acceptable to society than someone using their mental health as an excuse.

There is an aspect of procrastination that isn’t really touched upon in the piece, that of just plain tedious work. I am (or have been) an extreme procrastinator for all kinds of identifiable reasons (not all apparent to me when I was in college), but now it’s primarily because of tedious, repetitive work I need to do. Yet there are billions of people in the world who do far more tedious and repetitive work day in and day out. Am I not more lazy than them? I’m pretty sure I am. If I was suddenly forced into that situation, I’m not sure I would survive.


Very good article. I need to figure out who to send it to at work. Seriously.

I note all the time that I am lazy, but it’s not how people think. It’s the fact that I don’t like doing more work than necessary, so I will always a) look for an easier way, b) listen when someone offers to show me an easier way and c) if I am doing things the hard way, it’s because there is a damn good reason (i.e. the “easy” way now makes it much harder later, or it’s to set things up to make subsequent iterations easier).

In other words, the things people perceive as lazy are usually due to barriers, as the article says. But true laziness is a motivator for efficiency, which mostly gets seen as a good thing. Usually, you’re not even called lazy, but an innovator. :stuck_out_tongue: Hell, I have even been called productive for some of ny laziest shit.

The things people actually call me lazy for, are something else.


There was an article about software developers saying just that – the best ones think, “how can I write this so it’s not a lot of work to maintain?”

Laziness is what other people call someone when they aren’t doing what they think they ought to be doing. Especially if what they are doing is self-care. I got called lazy by my family all through high school. I was chronically underslept and anemic.


I missed half my calc classes in high school because the bus was late, and the place for tardy slips had already closed. More of a bus-schedule issue, but everyone thought I was lazy.


Oh I agree so much. I hate doing things more than once! I’d much rather spend the time figuring out how to do something new. I despair of getting my model railroad up and running, because I’ve already done some bench work, and some track laying, and some scenery (on an older layout). I’d much rather figure out how to use an Arduino for animation, or 3D printing to make a customized sign. But that takes time, so I end up spending a year on just one project. I don’t know what to do about that, except try to enjoy it.

But house maintenance? Blehhh!


I like the model railroad example because obviously it’s something you like and care about. I’m the same way with my hobbies - I want to be really good at things but I also want to skip the boring parts. I mean, I think that’s a reasonable impulse, but of course I know that any illumination a hobby (or actual paid work for that matter) may provide will come as a result of doing all the boring stuff - it’s important groundwork. But the boring stuff is hard to find motivation for, even if one doesn’t have mental health issues or anything. Also, there does come a point of diminishing returns when doing the boring stuff, which makes things much worse.

As an aside, I love the idea of model railroads, but I know I’d be lazy about it too and probably never complete anything. I would love to do, though, a model underground railroad. Some of it would have the ground (and the buildings) be either wireframe or made out of clear plastic so you can see underground, but there would be solid parts too - it’d be like a cutaway diagram. And also the control system would have to look like a real subway control and train tracking system, so when the trains go into the solid section you have to control them using limited information, so it will take some skill to get them out the other side again. I’m from NY but I’d probably make it be 1940s London which would provide a lot of opportunity for interesting model-making. (And yes… it’d probably run on Arduinos and a lot of it would be 3D printed!)

Edit to add:

Anyway, I think laziness in some sense of the word is real, and I think that there are lazy people and less-lazy people. I think the concept of laziness is far more complicated than is generally considered (i.e. the point of the article) but I think it’s a fundamental part of many people. Like @MalevolentPixy was saying about finding ways to do less work - that’s laziness. Other people are able to just mindlessly do the manual work. Us lazy people struggle with that, but will happily spend tons more time than it would have taken to just do the work coming up with solutions to avoid the work.

Then you look at e.g. prolific authors. These are people who would probably not be able to do a mindless job, but are also able to power through the procrastination and do the hard work of writing their books. They are both lazy and not lazy. I think that’s how you need to be to be really successful, in anything, but very few people are like that. I think you can train yourself in some respect, probably.


I see what you did there!

Especially when one is at an age where “what can I do with the time left?” becomes a factor. Alas.


:sweat_smile:, yes; you know, I think I may be the youngest member of this board (certainly one of them) but I already have this feeling regularly. I guess that’s a good thing.


From your picture, I’d guess about 2? :thinking: