What would you guess, is the one thing all my different clients have in common, when asked why they don’t pursue their passion? People from diverse backgrounds, education, interests, passions… What is the one thing they all say about themselves?
They all call themselves lazy.
I would be hard-pressed to come up with another thing practically everyone has in common. And that’s astounding, especially considering how untrue the statement is. People are in fact far from lazy. They get an astonishing number of things done, only they fail to count those and dismiss them as “normal”. Some run an amazing household. Others kill it at work. They may spend lots of quality time with their children or pets – or indeed, any combination of the above.
All these amazing people share a nagging feeling that they should be doing more, that they should be on top of things and have it all figured out. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, one of them being how easy it is to compare ourselves to others these days, especially on Social Media where everyone emphasises the positive aspects of their lives. The impression one gets from scrolling through friends’ status updates is that they are all at the top of their game, and we are somehow… lagging behind.
Sign up to receive “10-Steps: The Pleasure Principle Checklist”, as well as weekly Coaching magic, exclusive offers, and insider news:
Why we think we’re lazy
When we think about why we aren’t doing everything we want to – when I, for example, ask someone what keeps them from pursuing their passion – we quickly jump to the conclusion that we’re simply lazy. After all, not every minute of every day is taken up by different tasks. We often even sit in front of the TV or the computer doing nothing but wasting time! If we weren’t so lazy, we’d be out exercising, or crafting, or pursuing some other passion, right?
Wrong.If we weren't so lazy, we'd be out exercising, or crafting, or pursuing some other passion, right? -Wrong. Click To Tweet
You see, the assumption that every moment of our waking time should be filled with some productive activity, is simply wrong. It’s also completely against anything we’re equipped to do from an evolutionary standpoint.
I’ve read several accounts of anthropologists (anthropology is one of the subjects I studied at university. Did I mention I’m a multi-passionate?) who went to live in tribal cultures that haven’t been touched by technology. They all observed that there’s no “laziness”, no reluctance to work or do things, in these cultures. Very rarely, there might be someone who doesn’t want to work, and they’ll be regarded as sick and left alone, until they “feel better” and come to join the others in their chores again.
Isn’t that interesting?
A lot has been said and written about the fact that our modern lives aren’t particularly suited to our human nature. We get overstimulated by media, advertising, traffic, noise, artificial light, and a myriad of other things. We have access to practically all information available to humanity, at our fingertips, and more opportunities to work, practice, create, and do whatever we please than we ever had before.
A lot of these things are marvellous, but they also carry the danger of constant overwhelm. To go back to the example of tribal societies: One thing they seem to have in common is that the pace of life is slow. There is a lot of work to be done, but people aren’t in a rush all the time. The phenomenon of stress is unique to our “civilised” culture.
So maybe, just maybe, we aren't lazy at all when we scroll through Facebook instead of writing a novel? Click To Tweet So maybe, just maybe, we aren’t lazy at all when we scroll through Facebook instead of painting a picture or writing a novel? Maybe sitting on the couch munching a takeaway, rather than going for a run, doesn’t make you a bad person, but is simply a symptom of a life full to the brim with impressions and stimulation already? What’s more, we all have different tolerance thresholds and different needs for rest, which makes it even more pointless to compare ourselves to others unfavourably.
Isn’t it perhaps time to let yourself off the hook for your “laziness”? Beating yourself up isn’t going to solve anything. At the same time, you shouldn’t just accept that you’ll never get to pursue your passion or live your dreams. When you think you’re lazy, it’s a sure sign that your life is too full. It’s time to de-clutter, simplify, downsize.
One thing Coaching does for people is to make them feel better about themselves because they go into action mode. Humans aren’t supposed to do it all by themselves. In tribal societies, people always work with at least one other person.
Get the support you need, sign up for Coaching, join a Mastermind group… You’ll be surprised how motivated you suddenly are to make the changes you wish for.