Posted On 17 Sep 2011
Wouldn’t it be good to know how to stop being lazy?
Instead of feeling guilty or beating yourself up about not exercising, lowering your percentage of body fat, finishing your book, or painting the garage, if you knew how to stop you could just get done whatever needs to be done.
As I have explained, there is no knowledge of how to bring about any future outcomes [click here for a brief explanation].
Therefore, there is no knowledge about how to stop being lazy.
It follows that I do not have any knowledge to share with you about how to stop being lazy.
On the other hand, I do have two suggestions.
First, use episodes of laziness as opportunities for increased self-examination.
What you’ll likely find is either that (i) your beliefs and behaviors are mismatched or that (ii) you have conflicting desires.
(i) For example, suppose you are at 20% body fat and want to lower it to 15%. If you don’t really believe that doing that will have much impact on your health in the long term, won’t you tend to be lazy about doing what is required to lower it? Incongruent beliefs and behaviors manifest themselves as laziness.
(ii) For example, you want to lower your percentage of body fat to 15% so that you’ll be more attractive to members of the opposite sex so that you’ll have more sexual opportunities. So you believe doing it will be good for you. On the other hand, you don’t really believe that promiscuously taking advantage of more sexual opportunities will result in your being much happier. In such a situation you are unlikely to stop being lazy about body fat reduction because you don’t really think it would be worth it.
I have argued that your work should be your play [click here for that post]. Notice that whenever your work is your play, you are not lazy.
Once I was fortunate enough to see Vladimir Horowitz in concert. Do you think that a master pianist like him is lazy about practicing? It’s what he lives for! The worst torture you could do to him would be to deprive him of his ability to play the piano.
There’s a fun book by Andrew Matthews called: FOLLOW YOUR HEART: Finding Purpose in your Life and Work. In it, he writes: “Your life is a perfect reflection of your beliefs.” Therefore, to change your life for the better, all that is required is changing your beliefs. Why? Your life will automatically change accordingly.
If you really believe the benefits of doing something will be worth it, you’ll do it. You won’t let excuses get in your way. You already understand that it is work that gets rewarded, not excuses.
How to stop being lazy? Look at your beliefs. Why are you having difficulty doing what you think you should be doing? Why are you being lazy?
The “external” laziness is a reflection of an “internal” conflict. The “outer” mirrors the “inner.”
When you are like Horowitz, when you really love what you are doing, you won’t be lazy. When work is play, you won’t be lazy. Who doesn’t like to play?
This is especially important in the marketplace, in the domain of economic warfare and relentless competition. It’s important to love what you are doing. Why?
You will be competing against some people in your field who love what they are doing. If they love what they are doing and you don’t, who do you think will have the persistent advantage?
There are many people who are financially trapped. Even though they want to, they cannot change what they are doing because changing would cause financial upheaval in their lives.
Why not avoid that kind of situation by doing only what you love to do?
Of course that’s possible! This leads to my second suggestion.
Second, stop worrying about how to stop being lazy.
That’s possible because there’s nothing you need to do. Nothing. Nada.
There’s an underlying belief that causes enormous suffering, namely, the belief that you have to do something to live well (to live a meaningful life, to live with purpose, to justify your life).
Though you may not realize it, you already are what you need to be [click here for more on this]. (Realizing it is not really a “doing” either; instead, it’s a simply dropping or letting go.)
Since that is so, if it is time to sit and watch the wind on the surface of the lake or watch the birds and the squirrels in the park or hear the dull crashing of the surf, sit!
Instead of worrying that you don’t know how to stop being lazy, just directly experience whatever is unfolding in the present moment. (A great way to do that is to use aliveness awareness; click here for how to do aliveness awareness .)
There’s no need to try to change anything or to try to force something to be different.
Let go of worrying about how to stop being lazy. Just let it be. The present moment is exactly as it should be.
You are fine just the way you are.