You’re not lazy, you’re not unmotivated, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
I’d like for you to really hear that, because it’s true. You’re not lazy, you’re not unmotivated, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
A struggle with laziness is really just the result of a lack of clarity on your priorities. That’s all it is. When you have this sorted, everything else falls into place.
1) You’re not lazy.
It’s just a fact that you and I won’t do anything that’s difficult that we don’t have to do.
Isn’t that true? I could say “Hey let’s go to Egypt and build a new pyramid.” We could even agree that it would be a “good thing to do” especially compared to browsing Reddit or YouTube all day long. But that doesn’t mean we’ll go and build that pyramid.
So why not? I say that it’s because we don’t have to. There’s no need, no necessity.
So does this mean that you’re lazy? No. Perhaps we can agree on that.
“Can I do this tomorrow?”
Now check this out:
When I was in school, like most students, when I received an assignment I’d tell myself that I’d go immediately home and get to work on it in order to get a good grade. But when I make it home, open up my laptop and get set up, I’ll ask myself a question: “Can I do this tomorrow instead of today?” … and the answer of course would be yes. I have 3 months to do this after all.
So every single day I keep asking myself that question. Can I do it tomorrow? And the answer is still yes. … Until the answer is NO! And now I have 8 hours to write this essay from beginning to end!
Does this sound familiar?
We will always delay doing what we don’t believe we need to do.
Perhaps you’re really frustrated with yourself for continuing to delay your most important work until it’s too late. But realize – despite how traumatic and stressful it is when you do this, it works. You do get the thing done, to a high enough quality that you can keeping making it to the next episode.
It’s not your best, but it’s enough.
You’re not lazy; the truth is that you unconsciously know exactly how much time you need to do the bare minimum to get your work done and move onto the next thing.
It’s efficiency that has been handed down from countless generations of ancestors that survived by knowing when to conserve and when to expend energy. There’s deep intelligence in it.
2) It’s not a motivation issue, it’s a priority issue.
Suppose you set your alarm to get out of bed at 6am. Maybe you’ll get out of bed, maybe you won’t. But suppose at around 6am your house is on fire. Will you get out of bed then? … yes. Yes, you will.
You don’t lack motivation, you lack good reasons.
Ideally we don’t need to wait until time has run out on our assignments, or until our house is on fire. Ideally we figure out how to bring the intensity and the immediacy of our priorities into our habits, so that the only real option is the correct one.
Take a moment to figure out what your highest priorities are.
It’s good be as clear as you can possibly be on what’s most important to you. Why are you doing any of this? Suppose you want to learn a language, an instrument, learn to code, or you want to put a good diet or fitness habit in place… why? What’s important about this?
Is it important enough that it will be worth the effort? Can you decide now that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to establish these habits and reach these goals?
Maybe you’re hesitating a bit here. That’s understandable. But asking from a different angle, Would it be acceptable to you to go your whole life without accomplishing your higher human potential? Would you be cool with it?
Probably not! I’m right there with you.
Consider this though – that if you decide that you’re going to get up at 6am in the morning, you’re doing this in order to accomplish your higher potential. You’re getting up at 6am so that you can put other habits in place so that you can have more energy and health in your day so that you can get more done so that you can accomplish your greater goals.
Therefore if you choose not to get out of bed, you are effectively saying that you’re happy to NOT accomplish your highest human potential. Instead, you choose sleep.
No judgements, no critcisms. That’s your choice. Plain as day, and undeniable. Potential, or sleep.
When you arrive at this level of clarity, it soon becomes apparent that there’s only one option. Get out of bed. Just like if your house were on fire. Laziness doesn’t even enter the picture anymore.
Therefore get clear on your highest priorities and link them clearly to the necessary daily actions, so that you can see that there is no progress unless you do what you need to do today.
3) What to do to start getting in control.
Here’s how you can actually take this advice and use it in your life:
1) As mentioned before, get clear on your highest priorities. What is most important to you? Money? Grades? Losing weight? Being attractive so that people want to have sex with you? Growing a business in order to leave your job? No wrong answers here.
2) Ask yourself if you’d be alright with NOT accomplishing these things. Arrive at a firm answer.
3) Ask yourself if you’ll whatever it takes to accomplish these things. Arrive at a firm answer.
4) Assuming you got “No’ and then “Yes” for those questions, choose a single activity that you can do every day that will bring you the most benefit. We’re looking for a small-effort, high-benefit thing like getting your sleep schedule on track, or 20mins of daily cardio.
5) Choose this habit, and decide firmly that this is required in order to move toward your priorities.
6) Figure out the time of day that you’ll do it, what you’ll do specifically, and for how long.
7) Commit to this habit for a set period of time, like 14 days. After this, reevaluate.
… And that’s all!
And for what it’s worth, I think we should accomplish our goals with the least amount of effort on our parts! Let’s be lazy AS we accomplish our highest potential! That’s the real shit there.
Let’s all get on top of our lives and get strong together. More support here if you need.