I spend much of my time trying not to be lazy.
I’m writing this blog post when I could be asleep. I study statistics material for my A.I. even when I don’t feel like it. I go to work every day. None of this is anything special. We’re all familiar with this daily battle against laziness.
So we often see it as the enemy. It’s even listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins: sloth.
But laziness can be a good thing, too. If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is surely the father. How many machines have been created, how much software written, because somebody got tired of working and wanted an easier way?
The perfectly disciplined swordsman loses to the lazy warrior who invents a gun.
On a personal level, this means that self-discipline is…complicated. If I don’t feel like practicing Spanish on Duolingo, it generally means I should suck it up and do it anyway. But if I find myself getting lazy about Spanish practice all the time, perhaps that’s a signal I should be doing something else. After all, laziness evolved for a reason: to keep us from expending energy on tasks that don’t feel valuable.
(Not that I’m quitting Duolingo, by the way. It’s still fun. That was just a hypothetical.)
Laziness isn’t the only thing to manifest this vice/virtue duality. As I’ve said before, even vagueness can be a good thing.
The key, as in so many areas of life, is balance.
When you’re feeling lazy, how do you know whether to fight it or embrace it?