6 Arguments for Embracing Hard Work and Avoiding Laziness


August 5, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Written on 8/05/2008 by Brad Isaac who writes about ditching the laziness bug & achieving your ideal life at his blog Persistence Unlimited.

Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need. – Voltaire

Other blog owners can relate to this. I checked my site the other morning and there were a ton of new ping-backs to one of my posts. That’s good news for the most part, but there’s always a few sites that ping back that make me scratch my head.

In this case, like many others, a few of the sites had copied and pasted my article verbatim to their sites.

They had credited me with the writing and linked back to my site, but I wondered why someone would copy an entire article and post it to their web site? I think there are 3 obvious problems with doing this:

  • Search engines like Google penalize sites that copy content.
  • Copied could be construed as a rights infringement if you don’t credit/link the site that owns the content.
  • Why would people visit a copied site if they can just go to Lifehacker and get the same article?

Ultimately, I concluded that the people who did this did it out of laziness. They were too lazy to create their own content. They were too lazy to study up about how search engines penalize sites that copy. And they were too lazy to look at how this behavior would hurt them long term.

That’s not to say all laziness is bad. It’s good to be lazy now and again. A lazy Sunday will refresh you after a week of hard work. But that’s not what we are talking about anyway. We’re talking about avoiding work altogether as if it is something bad. When in reality it is something good.

And to prove it, here are 6 arguments you can use to keep working if you are feeling gripped by “the lazy bug.”

  1. Laziness begets lazinessLike Newton’s law, an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted on by an external force, the same could be said of being lazy. When you are on the road of ease and non-work, it becomes that much harder to do what is necessary. Think about your last vacation for a second. When you came back after a week of sun and fun, did you do a back-flip on Sunday night because you were so happy that work started again the next day? Probably not.

The point is that even 1 week of laziness can create a situation where work becomes less desirable. If you expand that to several weeks or months you may never get back in the game. Did you ever consider why a small percentage of people who lose a job will never return to steady work? It’s simply too much work for them to start over.

  • Work puts you in the gameBy doing your work and then some, you are in the game. We all know the person who goes to work at 9 and clocks out at 5pm sharp and goes home. Will that person ever own the company? By working your job and then some, you see more opportunities because you are in the game. Those of us who have stayed late at work know that after work is when many of the prestigious assignments are delegated. If you are one of those who is working late, you’ll get the assignments. 

It’s a double edged sword because yes, you’ll have more work, but you get more rewards too.

  • Work gets easier, laziness gets harderLike Newton’s law, if you spend too much time not working, it’s that much harder to get to work. Imagine if you were lazy from high school until you turned 40. At 40 you had a great idea to start a new business, how in the world are you going to do everything needed to be done to start this business? You have too much experience submitting to gravity. The lazy bug will have you by the throat. I’m getting tired just thinking about it. 😉 

However, the person who works hard that same period can start a business in an afternoon if they want. They have so much experience working that the work becomes almost effortless. They know what leads to success, they know what doesn’t.

  • Laziness leads to a weak mindHave you ever tried to motivate a lazy person? I have and I’ll tell you, it’s no fun. One reason is you can typically motivate them for short periods but they always return to laziness. They return to ease, even in the face of overwhelming proof that their work is paying off. The reason for this return to laziness is due to weakness of mind. Excuses – even poor excuses become more important than reality.

Personal story:

I remember working with a company who had an excessively lazy co-director. However, I motivated them to try a new direction with their marketing. It involved a lot of work, but I knew that in order to win over confidence of the company, I’d have to show quick results.

I spent days working on the plan and putting together their first 3 mailings. Around that time, the boss started resisting and pushing back. “We don’t have the staff to do all this!”

I didn’t understand what she meant because I was doing all the work. Nobody else had to do anything except go along for the ride.

Only through getting the other director to intervene was I able to launch the new marketing plan. It was an overwhelming success to spite her efforts to thwart it. Results showed it 30% more profitable than their last marketing effort. AND we were just getting started…

The end result? The boss eventually won. Her consistent complaints to the others about how much work it would be and the lack of staff finally caved. And I was dismissed. My marketing plan was scrapped for the old plan.

You see, laziness, like a disease poisoned not only her perspective, but everyone around her. In the face of a shiny new 30% profit that could have gone toward employee raises for the extra work, or to hire someone else, the work (it being any work) was too much. Her weak mind could not see past the 3 hours per week of work and into the arena of working a profitable business. It jeopardized the company. The boss could avoid work and could concentrate more on complaining about the rapidly dwindling accounts and cash flow.

…Yes, laziness weakens the mind.

  • Work leads to creative solutionsLeonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest artists and inventors in history was no stranger to work. As apprentice to the artist Verrocchio, he had to do much of the manual labor required around a Renaissance workshop. This exposure to chemistry, drafting, metal working, plaster and bronze casting, leather work and such became building blocks that would eventually lead to his concepts of the helicopter, calculator, a tank and other inventions hundreds of years before the inventions saw the light of day. 

Similarly, for you, work will expose you to many different skills. To be an employee today, you’ll often learn much more than the title you hold. You’ll have to learn various computer software suites, you’ll learn selling, organization skills, writing, typing, research, privacy matters, health insurance to name a few. Taken separately, each skill might not amount to much, but put two or more of them together and you’ve got a cottage industry. Software research assistant anyone? How about health insurance adviser?

I like to tell how I learned much of system design work by washing dishes for restaurants in high-school. If you don’t have a system, it’s easy to get extremely overwhelmed. The mere sight of dirty bus tubs, frying racks and sauce spoons stacked to the ceiling will send shivers up anyone’s spine. I came up with a system and strategy that made the job much more manageable. This ability to build systems has served me well over the years. I can now design computer systems for companies. So something as lame as a job washing dishes has powerful merits when coupled with other skills.

  • Excessiveness of laziness can lead to crimeIt’s almost shocking how little the subject of laziness is related to crime. Crimes involving stealing, fraud and murder in many cases have a motive of “being lazy.” as the desired outcome. To put it another way, an employee attempts to embezzle $1.5 million from a company so he can move to the Caribbean and never have to work another day in his life (be lazy). Putting in the work toward that same amount of money is inconceivable to this guy. It’s easier to steal it. 

And how about the insurance fraudsters who fake accidents? These losers end up sitting at home doing nothing for 6-12 months to prove they can’t do anything so they can fool the insurance investigators into settling their claim. What do they want out of a settlement? To do more of nothing.

If the motivation to commit a crime is sheer laziness, then reason argues laziness can lead to crime.

Overall, successful people are known for their work, not their ability to take it easy. We usually don’t sit around marveling at someone’s napping skills. (Hey, did you see Joe the other day? That was SOME 4 hour nap he took! He’s really going places!)

And although I do not advocate workaholism, I do suggest people consider putting in more than the average 40 hour work week. Your rewards will always be in reflection to your contribution.



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