The Insidiousness of Laziness

I’ve always been very lazy. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know this. From my earliest memories of hating to do chores to my current search for a new career, laziness is always at the forefront of my mind. It is the biggest hindrance to my life. Why? Because it is so hard to overcome once you allow yourself to be enveloped by it.

It’s a problem of momentum. The trajectory you’re on right now is probably the direction you’re going to continue on for the rest of your life, assuming that nothing powerful comes along to change it. If your trajectory is low, you’re probably going to continue along a lower path unless maybe you win the lottery, which has the potential to shift your trajectory if the change is enough to get you out of your own way. Most people can’t and end up wasting the opportunity. How many times have you heard about lottery winners who were poor again in just a couple of years?

That’s the hard part. No matter what comes along in your life, you need sufficient external force to alter your path. It could be becoming overweight and finding out that it’s going to kill you early if you don’t do something about it. Perhaps you lose your comfortable job and now you have to figure out what you’re going to do next. It might be as simple as deciding that you don’t like how your life is going and you find the strength within yourself to do something more because you can’t bear the thought of wasting your life. Fear can be a powerful motivator.

The problem for people like me is that if you can’t seem to find a way to truly care about anything, it’s very hard to motivate yourself to put in the effort to change the trajectory of your life. The insidious part is that every time that attitude is rewarded, your laziness is reinforced. You subconsciously accept that you don’t really have to do anything different because life is going to happen regardless of what you do, so why try? You don’t really put in any effort, but a job lands in your lap. Why would you put effort into self improvement? You lose a relationship, but another one is right behind it. What did you learn from your previous experience?

Change is hard. The momentum of our personal lives is as real as the momentum of physics. We are creatures of habit and those habits define us. We can be changed, but it requires a monumental effort to do it. Most of us just aren’t up to the challenge. We want to take the path of least resistance because we’re trapped in that insidious snare of laziness. It’s built into our biology. We always look for the quickest and easiest way to get what we want. Hard work is admirable, but if you can get what you want without it, why would you waste the effort?

For myself, I don’t know where my trajectory is going. I would love for it to shift into becoming a professional writer, but I don’t see how it could happen. Too many years of being shoehorned into traditional jobs has stunted my imagination and I can’t see myself doing anything else. Previous attempts to get books published and noticed were failures, and I don’t know how to fix it. Creative attempts at online video creation were stifled by an inability to maintain interest in it. Even this blog suffers from a lack of focus and the ability to see where I want to take it. It’s hard to put effort into something when you don’t know you will be rewarded for it.

That’s the difference between those who succeed and those who fail. Being willing to put in effort even if you don’t know what will happen is the first requirement to becoming a successful person. It’s the reason why only a small percentage of the population are able to realize their dreams. They have the capacity to have a dream and fanatically put all their effort into it even if they know they will probably fail.

The rest of us simply can’t comprehend that. We need security. We need guaranteed results. Even as we consciously know that there is no such thing as security, we cling to the idea that we need it. Each of us could lose our job at any moment and find ourselves unable to provide for ourselves and our families. We take as much risk as the dreamers, yet we reap none of the reward. We just can’t push ourselves to act on that knowledge.

Why? What is it about us that forces us to remain stuck in jobs we hate and remain fearful of what might happen tomorrow? Laziness is my reason. I have this big wall of uncertainty that has been clearly scheduled for several months from now, and while I should be putting in time and effort into finding something new, I just can’t bring myself to put in the effort yet. The situation isn’t urgent enough. The effort isn’t worth it yet. Laziness has me in its grip.

Fortunately, my life experience has provided me with the ability to overcome this when it becomes vital to my survival. At some point I know I will finally kick it into overdrive to find a replacement for my current source of income. The problem is that by waiting it will be yet another job I can’t stand because it is all I could find. Rather than putting effort into finding something more interesting and getting started with that before my current job ends, I will end up doing what I always do and wait until the last minute and scoop up whatever opportunity passes by. It’s a terrible and self-inflicted cycle.

So what is the point of this post? Mostly it is to share my condition with others so that the many people out there to whom this applies can know that they aren’t alone. I think most of us are like this. It’s why most people feel stuck and unfulfilled. We are a world filled with dreamers who can’t fulfill their dreams. Don’t feel like you’re the only one. It’s most of us.

Another point might be that in writing this down, perhaps it will cause some sort of change in my own trajectory. Maybe it could be the first step in dragging myself out of the laziness. Perhaps putting this out into the world might attract some sort of external force that alters my trajectory, even if just a little bit. Who knows what opportunities can arise from simply putting yourself out there?

At my heart, I am a writer and a reader. I love movies and have spent a lot of my life doing that. For the last few years I’ve made feeble attempts to get back into reading and writing, and to be honest it is the career I think I would find the most fulfilling. These blog posts are partly to share my opinions on certain things and provide logical arguments for why things are the way they are, but they are also a hope that maybe it could turn into something more than just an occasional post about some random topic. Maybe it could turn into my life.

Here’s hoping for the future, and the will (and luck) to change my own trajectory. It can’t be done alone, and I hope that I won’t have to try it that way. Perhaps I can find help in getting to where I want to go. It would be an amazing thing.

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