Is procrastination over laziness

Laziness: fact or fiction?

Source: Laziness is a Skill / Flickr

Immortal Dagwood Bumstead addressed this issue generally, once claiming, "You can't teach people to be lazy - either they have it or they don't." so what is Laziness anyway? Is it about doing something slowly (what we usually call? Procrastination)? . . . Or do something slowly? . . . Or about not doing it at all? . . . Or is it ultimately not enough want something to do? And if this last alternative is true, when we call someone lazy, are we really talking about that person being sluggish, sluggish, or sluggish? Or is there still something going on that has not yet been recognized?

What I'm going to discuss here is my own, somewhat unorthodox, view of laziness. Because I believe (my apologies to Dagwood who otherwise appears to be one of the world's leading authorities in the field) the whole idea of everyone's Being naturally lazy - or "being lazy" - is basically a myth.

My experience as an individual and as a therapist has led me to conclude that laziness is practically useless as an explanation of human behavior. Referring to - or rather, derogatory or even dismiss- A person who is so lazy seems to me a slick and overly simplistic way of explaining a person's apparent disinterest or indolence. And when I resort to this term to categorize a person's inactivity, to me it is more of a descriptive laziness than the person being described. In short, I consider this derogatory term "standard" most of the time when the person being talked about is not particularly well understood.

What I want to consider here is a more useful - and psychologically correct - way of understanding people who are not doing what we believe should do. And my thesis is simply that what we commonly consider laziness is not really a lack of mobility as such, but a lack of motivation.

What disturbs the motivation

As I reflect on laziness and its various effects, I will examine some of the factors that I believe may decrease or undermine the motivation required to face and overcome life's various challenges and troubles. So far, at least, I've come up with the following to clarify the various reasons everything of us may at some point fail to start or complete a task.

Lack of a sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that we are effective when we focus on something. Without enough confidence, however, we cannot believe that we are able to to make something successful so that we don't end up trying. Without a "can" attitude, we unfortunately limit ourselves to only doing what is already in our comfort zone. And in the future we are limited precisely because we have such a restrictive view of ourselves. Another possibility is that even after doing something successfully because we still have doubts about our self-efficacy, we continue to delay, hesitate, vacillate, etc.

Lack of adequate emotional support. We may need some kind of "cheer" section to deal with what might otherwise overwhelm us. Without enough outside encouragement, we simply cannot motivate ourselves enough from within. As adults we shouldn't need "Attaboys" anymore! or "attagirls!" staying determined to get a job done. But many of us still rely on others for the motivation - or inspiration - to do what we should be able to do technically independently (without being "cheered" on by others).

We need - but don't expect - others to acknowledge us. When we devote ourselves to something, we usually do so with the expectation of a reward - whether material or emotional, internal or external. If we're still in a developmental place where we have to expect "strokes" from others in order to feel motivated enough to begin a task, then is missing Any hope that we will receive such recognition can leave us without the motivation to do so. If our application and diligence in the past have not given us the positive feedback we have longed for, how realistic is it to believe we still can care for such care in the future?

Lack of self-discipline. It may be true that we can do almost anything we set out to do. But when our minds are our worst enemy, we just can't believe this otherwise inspiring (and motivating!) maxim. That is, any fears we might have about failure, as well as our poor sense of self-efficacy, can either keep us from starting a task or prevent us from getting it done. And even if we end it - because it's a job requirement, for example, and we absolutely have to - our delay pattern will persist. Unresolved self-doubts (programmed deep within us) are not automatically removed by an expedient act and will reassert themselves (through a kind of delay) the next time we have to do something.

In my experience, people who lack self-discipline also lack basic self-esteem. And here the latter deficiency seems to flow directly into the former. That is, significant deficiencies in our self-image undermine our confidence in our abilities, and this lack of self-confidence negatively affects the development of self-discipline - which, of course, is necessary to achieve the very things that would do it improve our self-esteem. Psychologically, this has to be one of the most vicious vicious circles.

Lack of interest in the company itself. If the task or project feels boring to us (i.e. not adequately challenging), we probably want to avoid it altogether. If it matters that we do it, we probably will - but one way or another we will "act out" our displeasure by hesitating or doing a half-hearted, mediocre job. When we denigrate someone as lazy, it is often who we are Really Relating to it is a task the person finds so boring or boring that they simply cannot bring themselves to tackle it. After all, it is only human nature to avoid such things as are considered bothersome or distressing.

In general, what causes us to withdraw from work is not really laziness, but the fact that work is not enough imperative to us. Imagine you are working on a puzzle. If the puzzle is fun to delve into, we'll be happy to get into it. But if, to be honest, we are not very attracted to puzzles - that is, such pursuits do not present an interesting challenge to us - then we will consider such a "game" as work and (unless we feel we can have) participate) try to get out. All of this means that what motivates some people does not motivate others. and in no case says anything about a person's "laziness". Because what could be a task for one person could be an absolute joy for another.

Ambivalence - or a lack of confidence that the action is worth the effort. When certain of our priorities or values ​​are in doubt, we may lack the clarity to move forward. Our conflicting motives - to approach or avoid - can be weighted equally and cancel each other out, leading to a type of behavior disorder. We may not be convinced that the action we are considering - or that has been suggested to us - will be so useful, valuable or satisfying to us. We cannot therefore commit ourselves to doing this. Without a belief that a certain act or company will somehow improve the quality of our lives, it is difficult (if not impossible) to develop the initiative necessary to achieve it.

Fear of failure. This declaration of not doing something overlaps with the lack of self-efficacy discussed earlier. While an inadequate sense of self-efficacy decreases our motivation because we don't believe we can complete something successfully, the fear of failure is much more focused on our lack of emotional resources to cope with the potentially negative outcome of our efforts become. There is an old phrase, "nothing dared, nothing gained," which insists that if we are ever to succeed, we must at least be willing to try. But when our self-esteem is so weak, so weak, so vulnerable, that very much risk If we fail easily, we trump every other consideration; we are weakened.

Even if the chances of success are actually quite good, we may still not be able to move on as we will nervously foresee how bad we would feel if our efforts were unsuccessful. Without the internal resources to "catch" ourselves, we should fail and without the ability to unconditionally validate ourselves independently If that fails, we will not be able to start the project at all. In short, our negative programming--not our real ability-- makes us unequal to the task.

And it should be added, absolutely none of this has anything to do with laziness. In addition, though what we label Postponement may simply refer to poor timing, the act of procrastination can also be mainly motivated by fear of failure. And such delaying tactic (commonly viewed as a kind of "laziness") generally dates back to our childhood learning that when our performance was somehow flawed, we weren't good enough. So, of course, we learned that it is better not to take on anything if we are not sure in advance that we can do it well. Much of what we are describing, in fact perfectionism The result is that we grew up in a house where our parents subjected us to unrealistically high standards, which resulted in us being constantly criticized when we couldn't meet them.

Fear of rejection or rejection. If we need help to achieve something and we fear that the person who has to help us might refuse our request, for that reason alone we might decide not to start the project at all. Second, as far as our fear of rejection is concerned, when we depend on others to feel good about ourselves, there is nothing we can do that could lead to someone else becoming frustrated with us, judging us, or maybe even rejecting ourselves altogether .

Feeling discouraged, hopeless, futile, etc.. All of these feelings, moods, or states of mind can take us to that listless place of apathy where we are no longer concerned with getting things done. This is a painful, discouraged state in which our will is paralyzed. And practical in such a state no The task seems to be worth it. Because it is impossible to imagine that it would help us to feel better about ourselves or about life in general.

And so our lethargic avoidance - which seems indistinguishable from laziness to an outsider - in fact has nothing to do with laziness and practically everything to do with depression. DSM-IV (the psychologist's diagnostic bible) indeed Are defined Depression as characterized by a "markedly decreased interest or enjoyment in all or almost all activities". Whether it's a work or pleasure related activity, the overwhelming impulse is to avoid it. In such a state, just getting out of bed in the morning can feel like an almost insurmountable task. What we might estimate here as arousal of our minds seems to be almost synonymous with what the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron (in her article "Looking into Laziness") calls the agonizing "heart loss" experienced in this state.

An attitude of pessimism, cynicism, hostility, or bitterness. A final reason for explaining our lack of motivation to devote ourselves to a task or project has to do with being so exhausted that our efforts only benefit others than ourselves. Or We have become so skeptical of our future prospects that we no longer believe it makes sense to press us to do it something.

This is what I would call a rebellion disguised as "laziness" - kind of "hell no! Me not." want to do it and i am not walk to do it! "Underlying this self-controlling orientation is the discharge of anger (or rage) from past disappointments, which drive us into resilient negativity. Due to the depth of past psychological wounds, we are discouraged, disillusioned, and disappointed. And pervertedly, we only experience our strength in reactive, oppositional willpower . So we refuse to do what we could otherwise achieve without much difficulty. And here, too, our resistance to doing something, even if it's really in our own name, has nothing to do with laziness.

I had originally considered calling this article "The Many Motives of Laziness". But in the end it seemed less meaningful to put the word "motives" in quotation marks than to put those quotation marks around the word "laziness". Hopefully after reading this article, in their own life, readers will begin to wonder if they would like to reconsider some of their previous assumptions about this simplistic concept.

After giving Dagwood Bumstead the first few words of this post, I felt it appropriate to give the last to an even more zanier humorist - WC Fields - who once stated, "The laziest man I've ever met has popcorn in put his pancakes to make them turn over. " over by itself "(!). I have to admit that this quote describes true laziness more than anything I have described before. But we still have to wonder whether Fields' portrayal actually reminds us of someone we ever did have known.

What ultimately makes Fields' joke so funny is his exaggeration. It is doubtful that we can identify ourselves or anyone else in this ingenious, intriguing (but not ultimately revealing) one-liner. To the extent that anyone could have it tries To get popcorn to flip pancakes, such a novel approach would reveal more about the person's creativity in service, making a task less routine and fun than an expression of some biological tendency to indolence.

---Remarks? Ask? Criticism? If you are sufficiently motivated, I would be happy to receive replies to this post.


Unfortunately, this piece had to completely ignore the subject of overcoming laziness because such a focus would have led me in a completely different direction. When I review what is related to this equally important topic on the Internet, I can refer readers to at least two articles, even if I do not necessarily agree with all of the suggestions they contain. They are: "11 Tips To Combat Laziness Without Becoming a Workaholic," by Scott H. Young, and "10 Ways To Make Laziness Work For You," by Leo Babauta

There is actually a book called The myth of lazinesswhich I should probably mention, although it has almost nothing to do with the thesis of my contribution. Written by the pediatrician Mel Levine, these are so-called "lazy" children who, due to their "output error", are unable to reach their innate potential. These errors are caused by a variety of biological, neurological, and psychological deficits. Obviously, my post is not intended to address such performance-impairing deficits - which Levine sees as internal factors such as motor skills.Long-term memory, oral language skills, mental energy dysfunction, idea generation and organization; as well as external factors related to family patterns, socio-economic background, and negative modeling.

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© 2008 Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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