Lifestyle, eating habits, irregular sleep patterns, too many choices and information load on the brain, overuse of gadgets, TV and internet are causing laziness in human psyche increasingly.
Dangerously, laziness is a latent contributor behind many mistakes repetition. Lazy attitude weakens ability and willingness to be aware and actively catch mistakes at run time, learn from it, and avoid repeating. We don’t remain aware and alert and at times don’t want to be. As a result, we don’t feedback brain with outcomes of mistakes and the trigger-behavior-mistaken reward vicious loop continues for ages.
Laziness is a proven slow poison for deactivating talents, stale raw energy, ensuring mistakes repetitions, and making a dull, boring and uninspiring life.
Laziness is not a substitute for rest or relaxation
Remember, laziness is not a replacement for deep rest, which becomes even more difficult to achieve with lazy attitude because one cannot be blessed with deep sleep working insufficiently during the day, we all have experienced and know this well.
Another point to note is, we can avoid work but cannot clear it out from the mind unless we deal with it or schedule it in calendar, hence unfinished and unattended work accumulates in mind as increasing burden and eventually mind tries to do things mentally and feels overwhelmed and lives mostly in future doing tasks mentally. This causes stress and compulsive thinking around necessary work. To solve this we engage in useless time-consuming engagements and easy cosy procrastination but that adds to frustration and makes us repent later for losing time and growth opportunities.
In reality, we need deep rest and replenishment which comes when we are done with necessary tasks and relax in our being, the center of human consciousness. We feel relieved and satisfied post finishing our duties and relaxing at the center cuts mental projections of future tasks and secures natural restful awareness that comes with sustaining our stay at the center. We should take a few breaks and rest in between necessary tasks, then we save brief silences which energise the mind and body and is kind of mini-meditation.
These tiny relaxing breaks are essential to achieving a striking balance between rest and activity and will effectively address the laziness triggered from tiredness and stress.
Five forms of laziness
- Inactive tendencies – tendency to postpone necessary tasks and being stuck in an inactive mode.
- Fast mode / Active laziness – powerlessness to stop once started, compulsive behaviour, restlessness with silence and non-doing dispositions. These fast modes sometimes extract more energy than needed for tasks, stress ourselves and we lose the sense of direction and purpose.
- Creative laziness – unable or disinterested towards finding passion and living it. Doing work for only bread and butter and performing mechanically, depending on lazy entertainments for fun. Pushing further what we feel important and remaining busy in mundane and seemingly urgent ones is creative laziness, an avoidance for deep work, which requires focus and total participation.
- Spiritual laziness – We feel lazy, burdened, unconcerned or disinterested to address our deeper needs and emotional issues e.g. anger, hatred, impatience, non-compassionate attitude, arrogance fits, hesitation, jealousy, unhealthy competitions, comparisons, depression, negative outlook, hopelessness etc. We feel inner lack but don’t inquire why? We keep tolerating such negative states and do not show courage and curiosity to go beyond it. This kind of dirty endurance is spiritual laziness.
- Priority Dilution – Another area of laziness is when we have chosen our creative field and targets or realised the importance of spiritual needs after due analysis but do not discipline and show commitment on the execution part, and pay insufficient attention to means. We are being effective but inefficient i.e. the choice is done properly but not exercised with sufficient precision. Because of our paying importance to distractions, switching to less important choices along the way. Changing choices weakens our laser focus and hampers productivity. It’s like digging well at multiple places but not deep enough in one place to reach water level. Such a procrastinating tendency on the main thread of work is called priority dilution.
Causes and solutions
Causes clearly for all types of laziness are the lack of energy, stress, unhealthy habits, complaining attitude, negativity, selfishness, fear-greed driven choices, loose focus, fears, self-doubt, and overlook of deeper needs – peace, inner strength and love. The greater challenge is identifying these during in-progress state and lasting elimination.
Tiny breaks and super small beginnings
Inactive and active laziness can be handled effectively if we take timely short breaks, as explained above. Breaks balance the mode ( fast and inactive) well and bring space and energy needed, gives the distance from the task, in case we got in addictive doing mode.
Ability to attach and detach at will is what we all must target to develop to be comfortable in doing and being mode.
Super small beginnings help in creating the movement which is the first and foremost requirement when we are feeling lazy and stuck. It doesn’t matter how small or easy but important point is unblocking self from the stuck mode. Moreover, initiating anything needs extra energy, technically termed as activation energy, so choosing small and easy to begin makes initiation possible.
Build productive morning routine
Mornings are full of fresh energy and so avoid checking emails, whats app messages, making or receiving phone calls, and reading or watching the news.
Rather, utilise morning energy and mood for finishing prioritised tasks, life-changing long-term habits and pursuits.
Build few solid habits
Thirdly, build some 2-3 solid healthy habits like eating well, regular exercise, early rising etc. Possibly one from the not-to-do category – drop the most pinching one. However, value your wisdom while planning changes.
Encourage self to look for faults within
One peculiar reason which makes us creatively and spiritually lazy is negativity. It destroys and disturbs the environment in which something higher, something new and fresh can flourish. Negativity mostly gets activated and nourished when we are not able to protect ourselves from others negativity or take the negative interest in others lives through complaints, fault-finding, evil-eyeing or jealousy.
This deep-seated tendency can be controlled by searching for faults where we have control i.e. within. Make it a first thumb rule of life. This is a forgotten art of protecting positivism and restoring mental wellness. People avoid this tendency, probably because of fear of getting suppressed when they see too many faults or because they don’t know how to deal with or because in past they might have lost many battles eliminating those. So looking for faults within might be seen as an intimidating task.
However, if we approach patiently and curiously and learn not to overwhelm with seeing faults no matter how many we see, then we have developed a very powerful tool for reinventing self. The advantages are countless, everlasting and the approach of elimination is many times effective than adopting any additional actions in a busy routine. Undoing an unwanted pattern saves time, space and gives a lot of encouragement to take up fresh challenges. Some encouraging findings in elimination approach –
- As soon as we are able to catch our faulty tendency at run time, it loosens its grasp over us, and eventually leaves us when noticed a number of times.
- For stubborn bad habits don’t be in hurry to drop, rather bring mindfulness first in practice. Deny those deeply from inside while it may linger for some time externally. Refusing to accept the joyful justification of it is an inner decision like cutting down the trunk of habit, and external factors are like leaves and branches, which may appear green but since the supply is cut so bound to disappear in some time. There is no real joy in bad habits, if it appears then it is our unconsciousness which can be overcome by mindful take. Stitch this negative constructive feedback to brain every time when repeated. Gradually trigger-behavior-mistaken reward cycle changes to the trigger-behavior-clear understanding of results.
Keep this thumb rule active in mind – whatever fault we see in self that gets away from us and whatever we see in others we invite those of in us, though unconsciously. Thus, fault finding in self, become our greatest tool in our growth and a mood setter to battle with stubborn and lazy mental patterns which hide facts under misconceptions of the joy of laziness.
This fine tuning of fault-finding and using it at the right place is the cornerstone of success in solving creative and spiritual laziness. Few scenarios for clarifying –
- Creative laziness is postponing fulfilment of needs of the heart, job satisfaction, winning drudgery routine, converting work into play but we can catch such finer faults in self by self only. If others point to us then that may sound too offensive and we are intellectual enough to shield us with a number of excuses and justifications.
- Spiritual laziness is postponing purpose, meaning, fulfilment, compassion and creative service in life. All this fulfils our heart deeply and makes this world a beautiful place to live. But how can we grow spiritually if we hide our laziness, reminder negligence and non-acceptance of how wrong our lifestyle or attitude is. This is possible only when we look within and catch such subtle faults. If others tell us we might be misled to believe that others have some hidden agenda, some kind of self-seeking, vested interests or compulsiveness in getting on to their way of thinking or believing.
- Curiosity and courage are requirements of creative and spiritual growth but faking it is the big blocker, and such a subtle fault can only be caught if we look within for faults.
- Hesitation is a hindrance to creativity but suppressing or hiding such fears or hesitation is even bigger.
So all such hidden issues causing spiritual laziness can be uprooted with introspection effectively.
This one easier to notice but difficult to rein. We need to experiment a lot and build and deploy processes that work for us. Few suggestions –
- Simplify-Simplify-Simplify – Simplify life, your to-do lists, not-to-do lists, commitments. Decluttered environment lets us prioritise easily. Without selective attention, it’s impossibly difficult to balance and achieve anything of significance. Keep less and important items in focus.
- Understand and accept deeply this mindset- Focus is today’s IQ.
- Do not target over efficiency. Do things one by one, and slowly. Keep some buffer for distractions and unwinding yourself.
- We tend to overestimate what can be done in a day and underestimate what can be done in a quarter or year. Consequently, we pick up a lot in today’s plate but skip beginning on small and long-term tasks like 10 min daily meditation, 20-30 min daily exercise, 10 min daily journaling. So, pay more importance to long-term habits than never ending urgent streams.
- Learn from all sources but primarily depend on your own life lessons, experiences and insights. Doubtlessness is important and one can be sure of context when he/she learns from his own experiences and insights.
- Do not be greedy to learn everything, pick up too many projects to work, see every motivation video, try to grasp everything. That’s a new way of distraction in the 21st century. With such a scattered focus learning is never deep nor useful. Further, it distracts from the main pursuit, delays, and thus we lose focus and tempo. Actions give real experience, so, begin as soon as possible. Don’t postpone.
- Spend some time in solitude. Free some time of day as less as 20 min doing nothing, be comfortable with non-doing. Carve out some dedicated moments of purposelessness and solely for soul’s solace. This can begin with coffee/tea initially. This helps in evaporating some ongoing mental threads, although don’t desire or expect much from this. Desire brings efforts and effort brings expectations in such delicate processes. Just sit and spare some free space for self without any guilt. This is the no. 1 habit of many creative artists and mystics.
I am feeling unsatisfied to put important enough notes on solutions for various types, quite many are left in my heart unexpressed. But pain is there inside to dissolve all forms of laziness for myself and my fellow beings. Because laziness often remains hidden and unnoticed, particularly in the form of procrastinating creative pursuits, spiritual inquiry and sustaining focus on priority. I hope and trust you to put in your smartest efforts to drive it out fully and pass on your best wishes in silence for myself too.