Debunking the Myth of Laziness

by Kinga Lewandowska — 4 min read

Debunking the Myth of Laziness

Productivity makes our dreams come true quicker. When we organize and optimize our work well, we stress less, go further, and achieve more. After all, life is short and we have big plans, big ambitions, big milestones to achieve. Anything less than working your fingers to the bone is laziness, right? Not necessarily.

Most of our readers visit the pages of this blog for self-improvement tips and tricks. We are so grateful for all of you and we vow to always be truthful with you. Hence, we are here to tell you that productivity is not the only method to maximize your potential and chances for success. In fact, sometimes it might even stand in the way of your greatness. What will really take your game to another level is balance.

The Hustle Culture

We are constantly bombarded with messages that our self-worth comes from how much we are willing to run ourselves to the ground. Taking breaks is for the weak. You snooze, you lose. You’ll sleep when you’re dead. Hold on, with that attitude you might sleep sooner than you think.

There is a dark side to everything, even productive work can be toxic. We are pressured to maximize, amplify, and accelerate our results to the point of losing our minds, our way, and the sight of what really matters to us. Think back, have you ever stayed up late in the office merely to compete with coworkers or to impress your boss? Be careful not to get caught up in a rate race of somebody else’s choosing.

Maybe you catch yourself setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Maybe you feel restless when you go to sleep, unable to switch off your mind. Maybe you notice feelings of guilt creeping in out of the blue. Before you deem yourself lazy, consider those might all be signs of radical self-improvement fatigue.

The Laziness Disapproval

With all the stress of our advanced world, our backs have been bent for a while. As much as honest hard work is a testament to a person’s character, at some point in our history we’ve begun perceiving rest as laziness. We romanticize the grind and push time-out aside as a shameful behavior that is likely the source of all unhappiness and failure.

According to Devon Price, psychologist and author of Laziness Does Not Exist, “The laziness lie is a belief system that says hard work is morally superior to relaxation and that people who aren’t productive have less innate value than productive people.” There are three beliefs driving our disapproval of idleness (only one of which is true):

1. Your worth is your productivity

This problematic notion makes us easy to exploit. If we are willing to tie our inner value to our efficiency, we will end up taking on more work than it is healthy for us. Our shoulders have not been built to withstand the weight of the world.

2. You cannot trust your own feelings or limits

We are not machines and yet we dismiss our tiredness as if it was something unnatural. Instead of taking a nap or a break, we push through and ignore our gut feeling telling us to stop. Slowly, we unlearn how to trust ourselves.

3. There’s always more that you could be doing

Of course there is. And there always will be. This is why it’s so important to set healthy boundaries, learn to say no, and beat perfectionism. Otherwise, you will feel chronically guilty and overwhelmed, like the walls were constantly closing in on you.

The above questionable beliefs are fueled by our imposter syndrome. We feel we are not enough, we are convinced we need to measure up to some ridiculously high standards, and that only through blood, sweat, and tears can we achieve success. In this case, the perceived laziness is a fast track to burnout.

No Rest for the Wicked

debunking the myth of laziness

Self-care is NOT selfish. Nor is it self-indulgence or laziness. Proper maintenance of your body and mind is crucial to your mental health and overall wellbeing, and it is equally essential to your success as hard work. Think of it as a bicycle, you need two wheels to ride it, one of them is the grind, and the other is rest.

Yet, please, for the love of the Universe, avoid using self-care for the sole purpose of improving your productivity. Obviously, relaxation has huge career-enhancing benefits, it will recharge your batteries so you can keep making your dreams come true and that’s wonderful. But what a proper night to howl means is no grind on your mind.

All the non-negotiables such as exercise, eating, and sleeping may bring us joy, especially if cooking or yoga is your hobby, but we still run on more than that. We need strong and nurturing relationships, we need more fun, and to broaden our horizons by traveling (including staycation). We need purpose, art, beauty, intentional alone time, and nature. Life’s richness is our wealth, yet it, too, has to be earned by accepting the gift of time off.

According to Devon Price, we need to stop “measuring our lives in a conditional way”. Tear the pages of your calendars to calm down if you must Type As, but whether you like it or not, time-wasting can be healthy. Which means, even a little laziness is perfectly acceptable.

Diamonds under Pressure

The line between indolence and procrastination is blurry, yet one is more complicated than the other. While idling is avoiding work mainly due to the lack of motivation, stalling may arise from a complex set of issues involving fear and negative emotions.

Procrastination is a result of various shades and shapes of pressure. Being available 24/7 (thank you, smartphones), having a decent and consistent social media presence (which is a job in and of itself), or keeping up with all the technological advancements – it’s a lot to take in. On top of that, we grapple with unforeseeable events like the 2020 pandemic, accidents, or health deterioration. We need to cut ourselves some slack.

Of course, if you find yourself procrastinating all the time, you might want to consider reevaluating your goals and priorities. However, dig deeper to find the root of your truth. Sometimes distractions signify that your body and mind need rest. Unless you have a deadline, if your project can be improved, you can make it so tomorrow.

A very practical motivational tactic we can offer to help you unblock your potential is the do something principle. Whenever you face the urge to postpone performing a particular task, think, what is the simplest, smallest first step you can take in the direction of completing it? Is it opening your laptop? Is it googling a term? Or maybe even tidying up your space to create room for more mental clarity? Action is what activates motivation. Be gentle to yourself and do something.


Unplugging the Machine

Overworking yourself is not the way to earn respect and admiration. What we love and look up to is wholeness. Whenever you feel tired, stressed, unappreciated, or anxious, press pause and kick fear out of the driver’s seat – the world is not going to end if you take a break. Untie your self-worth from your productivity tracker, listen to your body, and never dismiss warning signs as laziness. Running on fumes will only delay your dreams coming true.

“Every living thing has worth, and we’re all part of the universe. We don’t owe a debt to society or to the universe, because we make up society and the universe.” – Devon Price

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