Last week in twitter of a friend-of-my-friends’-friends I found a very good food for thought. The tweet read approximately: Laziness pops up when you want to achieve something but do not understand what for.
We all experienced that – ourselves, our friends or colleagues, business partners etc. are great examples of this truth. In this article I’m going to talk about the mechanism how this happens.
Human beings are social creatures, we cannot live outside of society. But this also means that every day we have to face the moral of the society around us. This moral is imposed on us by many means: mass media, social media, ads, networking, work, hobbies etc. This is what I would name an external moral.
An example: a society around me is crazy about achieving social success, say, in business. So, becoming a successful businessman is an external moral for me.
If this external moral resonates with you, you are okay. Even more, you can harness the environment around you to achieve what you want. But what if not? This case will beget significant problems, including laziness, and it will be the topic for further discussion.
External Moral Which Is Not Truly Mine
Let’s take a virtual Mr. X. And let’s assume that society around him strives success in business or career. But Mr. X himself would prefer to become an artist. This desire, at least partially, contradicts to the external moral. And now Mr. X has 3 main choices:
- To go and achieve the success in business or career. Unfortunately, in the end he will find out that it was not his way to success. And many people subconsciously know that. Plus it is very hard, in many cases almost impossible to succeed in such circumstances.
- To reject this external moral. A very smart move, probably the best one, but you need to be bold to do that!
- To make a compromise.
Since the first two ways are very hard, the majority of people opts for the 3rd one.
Compromise With External Moral
So, our Mr. X proclaims that he strives a success in business or career. But he proclaims that just for the trade-off with the society around him, i.e. without real motivation to achieve what he proclaimed. This is the real source of laziness.
But now Mr. X has a problem: he needs an alibi in order not to feel guilty for not doing enough to achieve the goal which he really doesn’t want to achieve.
A term “alibi” with regards to behavior like this I have heard from a great business coach Vladimir Tarassov. This word in my opinion is the best one to describe the nature of such actions, so, I’m going to use this term further.
From my experience, people typically do one of two: either faking actions or getting rid of any practical possibility to do anything.
Coming back to Mr. X’s situation. For Mr. X faking activities mean attending different events, seminars, trainings, social networking etc. – everything what imitates business. The delusion of actions will allow him to not feel any guilt for non-taking real actions to make business.
Another “great” approach for Mr. X is to put himself into the circumstances where he physically cannot do anything. For example, he can immigrate to another country. Now he has to pay rent and to bring food onto his table, so, now he cannot build businesses.
And, of course, you may see any combination of these two approaches.
Price Of Alibi
On a plus side of making such alibis you find a great excuse for not doing anything. And a great deal of psychological comfort (either forever or temporary – it will depend on the level of your awareness).
Unfortunately, the list of minuses is longer:
- wasted time;
- lost or diminished energy;
- a crisis sooner or later (often we can call it a midlife crisis);
- a reputation of procrastinator or a lazybones;
- absence of achievements.
Instead of Conclusion
I hope I was able to shed a light on why we can be lazy, why we or some other people sometimes promise or proclaim something and never do real actions on that.
How to avoid such traps? My own recipe is very simple. I just constantly ask questions like:
- Am I dreaming my own or someone else’s dream right now?
- Am I pretending or really doing?
- Am I trying to make an alibi for myself?