You're Not Lazy. (You've Just Been Taught To Think You Are).
Updated: Aug 23, 2022
Have you ever had a day where no matter what you do, you can't shake your bone-deep feelings of tiredness, or a total lack of motivation? Maybe you've even had weeks or months that feel this way. And, if you're like most of us, you probably respond to those feelings by berating yourself for being 'lazy.'
Except—feeling burnout is normal. Tiredness is a warning sign from your body and brain that you are pushing yourself too hard. But because of the way our society views productivity, toxic relationships with work and rest have somehow become the norm. And along the way, the vast majority of people have learned to see tiredness not as a symptom of burnout or overwork, but as proof that they are somehow innately, shamefully lazy. Author and Social Psychologist Devon Price calls this the "Laziness Lie."
What Is The Laziness Lie?
Price states, "The laziness we’ve all been taught to fear does not exist. There is no morally corrupt, slothful force inside us, driving us to be unproductive for no reason. It’s not evil to have limitations and to need breaks. Feeling tired or unmotivated is not a threat to our self-worth."
In other words, if you feel tired or burnt out—you are NOT suffering from some heinous, evil inner laziness. More likely, you're struggling to survive in an overly demanding, workaholic culture that mocks you for having the most basic needs. You don't have to consistently push yourself beyond the limit, ignore your body's warning signs, and blame or even punish yourself when you eventually succumb to the desire to rest. You don't have to go without breaks—or spend every break you DO take feeling lazy and guilty.
You don't need to be afraid of laziness. Because laziness does not exist.
Says Price: "Wasting time" is a basic human requirement. We can begin to build healthy, happy, well-balanced lives once we accept this and stop fearing our inner "laziness."
Your Worth Is Not Defined By Your Productivity
You've been taught to tie your worth to your productivity. But once you take a step back from this idea, it becomes immediately, painfully obvious how damaging it is. Tying your self-worth to your productivity will not bring you happiness. This viewpoint doesn't value forming relationships, doing activities for pure joy rather than productivity or profit, or rest. Worse, it forces you to attach your happiness and self-worth to your achievements—and it's been shown that the satisfaction people feel about reaching these kinds of milestones is incredibly fleeting.
The Laziness Lie tells you that you must never be satisfied. You must keep chasing new opportunities, no matter how many victories you already have under your belt. And even if you've accomplished all of the goals you once set for yourself, there will always be new goals to replace them.
Learning to let go of the Laziness Lie is incredibly important, particularly if you suffer from feelings of shame or guilt whenever you take a break. But unlearning these feelings will probably require a much deeper understanding of why laziness truly does not exist.
To learn more about this, and how you can undo the damage caused by the Laziness Lie, we highly suggest reading Price's book, "Laziness Does Not Exist." Or, if you'd like to learn a little more first, check out his article on Medium.