I understand that there are people who suffer from a variety of health-related issues that sap them of their strength and energy. Seek medical attention for these symptoms. Most of us, however, suffer from old-fashioned laziness. These suggestions are for those of us who are… lazy.
I would have written this years ago, but… I’m lazy. So this comes from the perspective of a lifelong practitioner and subject matter expert.
As a child I always figured the easy way out of most everything, especially school work. I would put assignments off until the very last minute and then throw something together. I was smart enough to get by but occasionally I’d be embarrassed. Not embarrassed enough to change my behavior, just embarrassed. I’ll empty the trash… later. I’ll mow, pick up my room, walk the dog… later. I graduated 434th in my high school class of 435. Go figure…
I also got in the habit of never finishing anything I started. It’s easy to get started, but it takes character and resolve to finish most any project. Quitting is a symptom of laziness.
My Time For Change
Things began to change when I became a Christian at age 18. As I read through the book of Proverbs in the Bible, it began to dawn on me that I more resembled the fool than the wise man. Ouch… I was the fool. But until we come to grips with reality, change for the better will not likely occur. Part of that realization was that laziness was not only occasionally embarrassing, it was harmful and therefore sinful.
A curious thing I have noticed over my past 45 years as a believer, is how few mentions of this all too common character malady there are in sermons. Oh maybe an honorable mention here and there, but almost never head-on and at length. I had to search YouTube for an example of an entire sermon dealing with this topic.
There was one exception to this and that was an old fashioned preacher I sat under for the first several years after becoming a Christian who would rant and rave about quitting. He hated quitters and communicated that very clearly. He had an expectation that his hearers would stop sinful/undesirable behavior and begin to live a new life after placing their faith in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Not all that common anymore. That made a lasting impression along with gradually recalibrating my decision making to align with the instruction manual (The Bible). I eventually decided that this issue in my life needed to change… later. That’s right, the problem itself prevented speedy resolution. However, God is patient and progress was made…gradually.
And so for the last 45 years I’ve been chipping away… It’s a process, not an event.
In regards to preparing for certain unseen events that may or may not occur, the principles are universally applicable. Sloth in preparing will lead to an undesirable outcome. Laziness in any part of our lives, whether it is our job, relationships, finances, education, spiritual life, prepping, etc… will cost us a price we will ultimately be unwilling to pay. But pay we will. Consequences can be positive or negative. We cannot control everything, but we can do something.
Some Practical Suggestions
Here are some very practical suggestions that have helped me and that I hope will be helpful to you.
- Ya gotta get tough and make a decision. I’m not going to keep doing this anymore! Say it out loud!!! See Bob Newhart: Just Stop it!
- Stop deciding whether or not you “feel” like doing something. If it needs to be done, then “decide” to do it. Nobody brushes their teeth because they “feel” like it. They do it because it needs to be done. This is huge! “Decide” instead of “feel” your way through decisions. All of them…
- Make a list, keep it realistic, and then attack it. Mark off what you have completed and develop an appetite for “accomplishment”. This is big. Really big.
- Live by a schedule (list) and plan ahead for activities that need to happen. Marking them off as you go will help develop a sense of accomplishment.
- Read every verse in the book of Proverbs in the Bible that deal with laziness/slothfulness, or just foolishness in general. Google it. This may hurt, but it will help calibrate your attitude to reality. No point in lying to yourself about yourself. OBTW, God knows, so don’t try to represent yourself to Him that you are something you’re not. Might as well be brutally honest. Saved from what? Yourself…
- List problems caused by your laziness. Seriously, get out some pen and paper and write down a list & then sit back a look at that for a while. This will likely provide surprising motivation.
- List ways these problems could have been avoided. Basic cause and preventative corrective action and then write down the path forward (list) to undo, alleviate, and avoid those negative consequences. Root cause is tough because it requires honesty.
- Manager counseling a young employee: “You’ve been late your first three days on the job. Do you know what that means?, he asked. Response: “It’s Wednesday?“ Negative consequences are mostly our own fault. There, I said it!
- Get tough and Do Something! I mean step out, get off the couch and get started. Years ago, when I finally did, the results were… rewarding.
- Limit sleep. Sleep on a realistic schedule. Eat better to avoid drowsiness (don’t overeat). Nobody needs 10-14 hours of sleep a day! Stop it! Get up and do something!
- NEVER hit the snooze button! NEVER!
- Understand that laziness is SINFUL! It isn’t ok. It will damage your life and the lives of those around you who depend on you. Oh, and laziness-slothfulness will bring you to poverty and all that goes with it.
- Watching television-video games, Facebook, surfing the Internet, reading and YouTube are fine in very small doses. These are otherwise huge time-wasters. Warning: As our society becomes distracted by social media, it will become easier and easier to respond to problems in society in an impersonal way. Read… narcissistic. We need to interact at a personal level. We just do.
- Keep an active list of things to fill in dead space in your schedule: learn something, plan something, write something, build something, memorize something… something!
- Watch/listen to a sermon on laziness on YouTube or search online for sermons on this. There is a lot of gobbledygook/psychobabble out there on this issue, but looking for something or someone to blame it on will just make you a victim. A lazy victim. A poor discouraged depressed victim.
- Ask for help. It’s called prayer. He knows our condition and is delighted to assist us in changing direction (repentance). A change in direction that aligns with the instruction manual (Bible).
- We all struggle with laziness from time to time, but “NEVER-NEVER-NEVER surrender”.
- Develop a list of quotes, jokes, Bible verses, pithy statements about laziness and review often. See it for what it is. Undesirable.
- Think on purpose. Don’t be lazy in your thought processes. Think it through, research it, study, learn, question it and always calibrate (align) to the instruction manual (Bible). Don’t fire half-cocked. Proverbs 18:13 tells us to get as much information before we respond to prevent embarrassing yourself.
- Clean up-dress up-and… here it comes… the “E” word… exercise. If you feel better and have more energy you just might act better. Discipline and self-control are the enemies of laziness.
- Don’t bother getting discouraged, depressed or disappointed. Those things aren’t on that list you are going to make! You will be too busy for all that. If you genuinely don’t have anything to do, go do something for someone else.
- A psychiatrist will just help you find someone or something to blame and then prescribe a psychotropic drug that will make you feel good about being lazy. Remember Nancy Reagan; “Just say no!”
- List the financial advantages of being lazy… it will be easy, there are none!
- The opposite is true also. You can learn how to buy, fix, and sell investment properties yourself. The IRS and all the people you hire will appreciate the effort. You will also learn something, earn something and get free Exercise.
- Don’t be a spectator, jump in and participate. Don’t live vicariously watching others live.
- Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may not transpire the way you think, so all we really have is today. Let’s not squander it. “If you’re not where you’re at, your nowhere” Bob Roy, Retired Pastor and Missionary.
Laziness and Preparedness
So as this applies specifically to preparedness, there needs to be some sense of urgency, since we never know what is around the next corner. I’ve tried to address what is probably the most common impediment to being prepared at some level for things to come.
I remember waking up, getting my morning cup of coffee, turning on the news and seeing that overnight, seeming out of the blue, Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and was a serious threat to Saudi Arabia and world oil supplies. The lesson was unmistakable; change, sometimes Big Change can happen while we are locked in normalcy bias.
We can’t anticipate everything, but something is always better than nothing. Our world appears to be changing fast, and not for the better. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs and do what we can. My intent is to be encouraging, however blunt and uncomfortable my approach may have been. Change and progress is possible! Oh… and most important of all, Know the Lord Jesus!
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:20.