The wisdom of laziness

I used to think that "lazy" was just about the worst thing one could be.

Lazy, to me, didn't just mean "lacking energy;" it meant irresponsible, childish, and bad.

By contrast, good, responsible, worthy adults worked hard and did what they were supposed to do, even when they didn't want to.

For many years, I have tried hard to be a good adult, but this week I gained a new appreciation for the wisdom of laziness.

It started when I noticed that I kept putting something off that I thought I wanted to do: submit course proposals for some local adult education programs. A number of people had suggested I do this, and it seemed like an obvious next step for someone who wants to get paid for leading workshops.

The problem was, it had been on my "to do" list for months, and each time I thought about doing it, all the energy just drained out of me. I had started judging myself as lazy, and feeling pretty ashamed that I hadn't yet done this relatively simple, straightforward thing.

What gives? I finally asked myself. Do you actually want to teach these classes or not?

And I realized that I didn't.

What I really want to do, it turns out, is offer classes for people who are already working together, and/or who share a common goal. I think I can make more of a long-term difference that way, not to mention that teaching during the day is much more appealing than giving up more evenings and weekends.

So, as of this week, the old action item is gone, replaced by some new activities that I'm actually energized to do.

I also have a new appreciation for this thing called "laziness," which I'm seeing less as a fatal character flaw and more as a source of wisdom, helping me recognize what I actually care about -- and what I don't. 

It's not like I'm lazy about everything, after all. I'm just lazy about things that don't matter that much to me. Laziness helps me prioritize my activities in a world where anything is possible, but everything is not.

From here on out, I am no longer going to use the word "lazy" as a weapon against people -- including myself -- who don't prioritize activities the way I think they should.

I don't deserve that judgment, and neither do you.