Laziness is often misunderstood and unfairly used to berate people or oneself. Often used in a sweeping comment, it is loaded in consequence and a source of shame, when it is, in fact, the visible symptom of deeper issues.
I am yet to come across someone I thought was genuinely lazy. Most people I know are lazy in one area or more of their lives. This is a very important distinction, one that many people don’t make when they brand someone ‘lazy’.
Being lazy is defined as being unwilling to work or use energy, characterized by a lack of effort or activity, showing a lack of care or being slow-moving. However, rather than being a character flaw, laziness might be a choice for instant rewards instead of long-term ones. In an economy now providing instant access to anything, a wide range of activities that guarantee high levels of dopamine available immediately and delivers convenience in almost all areas, it is not surprising that leisure becomes the preferred choice Even last century, sociologist and economist Ludwig von Mises, had already made this conclusion.
“Not to work is considered a state of affairs more satisfactory than working. Leisure is, other things being equal, preferred to travail (work). People work only when they value the return of labor higher than the decrease in satisfaction brought about by the curtailment of leisure.”
— Ludwig von Mises
Psychology presents a more nuanced perspective. Laziness might be the consequence of a particular psychological issue such as a lack of self-esteem, a lack of positive recognition by others, a lack of discipline coming from low self-confidence, a lack of interest in the activity or belief in its or our own efficacy.
This is a convincing explanation for the reason why people might be lazy in some areas of their lives, yet disciplined and active in others. You may even recognize this in yourself. I know I do. I get up at 4:00 am to read, learn and write, I work with dedication, I do the house chores and can work hard in the garden, but I am ‘lazy’ when it comes to cooking. Does this mean I am a lazy person? Definitely not.