I don’t mean to be rude, but let me ask you – are you lazy? I am – at least, I have a streak of laziness. The Warrior Within me battles this stuff more than I’d like to admit – although, of course, I just did. It’s a stormy good battle, too.
There’s no room in a Warrior’s world for laziness – you have too much to do. Trouble is, one of the goofy things about laziness is that we often don’t recognize it in ourselves – although we easily spot it in others, bless their lazy hearts. Or, we often cover it up with the flavor of victimhood, as in “I didn’t get around to it because I didn’t have a fair chance – circumstances or people got in the way.”
The sign of laziness is that we don’t want to be stirred up – all we want is a peaceful day without pressure, yes? Uncertainty drives us bonkers. We look on uncertainty as a bad thing. We like to know accurately what will happen next – look at the popularity of weather apps! (As an aside, this is one reason why we fall in love. “Oh, when I’m with ________, I don’t care what happens next, as long as we are together!” Well maybe, but perhaps it’s that the beloved Significant Other is just removing the sting that accompanies uncertainty, not the uncertainty itself. Ah, romance…)
Perhaps deepest of all, laziness lurks often in our craving for the proverbial “mountaintop experience.” If we can’t do exciting things then we can’t do anything. All our focus is on that mountaintop, everything else is boring, so we do nothing.
What to do about the stuff?
The first suggestion depends on how bold your Warrior heart feels today. Since we can detect laziness in others so easily, others can detect it in us, yeah? Why not simply ask others if they see any laziness in you – and be gentle on yourself when they answer. Could be the start of a good discussion, or, of course, a fight, but we’ll leave that to you two. (See “Romance” above.)
Next, search yourself for that “mountaintop experience.” Be very gentle with yourself on this one, too, because who you are and what your calling is are formed largely by such experiences. We live in the valley, yet the cure for mountaintop-induced laziness is to live your ordinary day in the light of what you saw on the mountain top. So be easy on yourself, and make a distinction between “laziness” and “vision.” Remember what you saw on that mountain top, remember that God keeps His promises, and instead of waiting for the vision to become real go and make it so.
Happily, if you make your decisions on what you saw there, you will find that there are now no ordinary days! Your desire for that goodness will overcome your laziness.
And finally, if you feel some prodding about laziness – from yourself or somebody else – check to see if your “laziness” is actually lethargy. If you’ve just finished a pounding workout, or had three sleepless nights in a row, or have been under pressure for two straight weeks at work, then maybe you’re experiencing some lethargy – a natural reaction to being worn thin. Be easy on yourself, get some rest, retreat, relaxation and recovery. What’s the difference? Simple. Laziness is prior to action, lethargy is after.
Your Lazy Body
Would you rather have a root canal than go to the gym? (Well, maybe not, yeah, Dr. H?)
Check if the following describes you:
- You are habitually inactive.
- You’d rather be a passive observer than an active participant.
- You’re a master excuse-maker.
- You find shortcuts in order to avoid the long haul.
If that’s you, don’t get down on yourself. Remember – some of what you think is “laziness” could be “lethargy.” Let’s look at some things you may call laziness in yourself, and look at some cures. Go over this list and see if you are lazy – or just lethargic. Here goes:
1. Sleep Deprivation: When you’re short on sleep it’s easy to become unmotivated, which quickly turns into laziness. Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep each night in order to maintain enough energy to get you through the day. Some experts even say that ten hours of sleep each night is what you need to function at your best.
2. Caffeine Abuse: Starting your day with a jolt of java may help with your initial alertness, but the dip in energy that takes place a few hours later could be the reason that you become lethargic later in the day. Avoid the rush and crash of caffeine and instead rely on your steady supply of natural energy. (Hmmm. I’ll have to try this myself – some day.) (Which is kinda like joining the Procrastinator’s Club only to find out that they haven’t gotten around to a meeting yet.)
3. Bad Habit: At some point being lazy simply becomes a habit. If every night after work you head straight to the couch, it soon becomes automatic and not a conscious decision. Breaking the habit of laziness is actually quite easy. Simply take yourself off of autopilot and make the conscious decision to do something productive instead—like heading to the gym rather than the couch.
4. Inactivity: If your job keeps you in a chair for hours at a time, and you don’t exercise when off the clock, then your body is just accustomed to inactivity. It’s time to wake up your under-used muscles and to reacquaint yourself with the joy of motion. A simple way to get back into the swing of things is to go on a 30 to 60 minute walk either before work or after you return home. Once you’ve broken yourself in with consistent walks, contact me to get started on a fitness program that will quickly get your body back into great shape.
Laziness begins when you ignore that little nagging voice in your head. You know – the one that reminds you when you should take action on something rather than sit by and let the opportunity slip away.
Make today the day you kick laziness to the curb…the day that you will take action toward achieving your goals…the day that you will listen to that little voice of reason. And do it now!