The Case for Being Lazy and Working Twice as Hard

When I was a wee lad, my father imparted a distinctly memorable piece of knowledge upon me, a maxim that, if my memory serves me correctly, hailed from some Asian philosopher and roughly translated to “the lazy man works twice as hard”.

For context, I am a quite unbelievably lazy person. And my father, knowing this undeniable fact, tried, in imparting the aforementioned maxim onto me at a young age, to, in a sense, scare the laziness out of me. And for a while, I took it to heart.

Did it help?

God no.

As I said before, I am a naturally lazy person. Not in the sense that I procrastinate per se-I’m rather good at getting things done- but in the sense that I absolutely hate the process of struggling through learning new things-even though I would like to learn them.

This is, I believe, what prohibits me from learning to play musical instruments, in spite of the fact that I, at least think that, I have a pretty musically inclined mindset.

So for years, I took this maxim to heart, but instead of overcoming my laziness in the pursuit of working less, I began to resolve to simply not work at all. And this resolution brought me a great deal of unhappiness, as I never really progressed in any skill or talent as a result of my unwillingness to pursue them.

I believe that this largely stemmed from my user experience obsessed mindset, which is like an incredibly severe, highly specific form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s kind of like this little voice inside your head that tells you when something is wrong design wise- when something can be improved- like a strangely materialistic evolution of fight or flight.

Anyways, instead of actually sitting through the struggle of doing or learning something, I tried to find ways around doing or learning these things, ways that directly triggered this weird user experience obsessive compulsive disorder so deeply ingrained in my psyche.

Instead of just bearing the brunt of hard work, work that had been learned and carried out in the same way for centuries, I had the seemingly foolish, but, in my eyes, quite genius intuition to ask, can’t this be better? Can’t I improve this user experience with the knowledge I already have without having to suffer through all this? Why build swim across the rapids when you can build a bridge?

Obviously building a bridge is much more challenging and time consuming than just struggling through swimming across the rapids, but I’d rather do it, and besides, if you build a bridge, than you make the work of the people who come to cross the river after you exponentially easier.

And, upon my acknowledgement of this fact, came my acknowledgement that, I am, indeed the lazy man, and I should just own it.

I enjoy the work of being the lazy man more than I enjoy the work of suffering through something, even if it means working twice as hard.

And the real meaning here is derived from the fact that I actively try to dispel the notion of the existence of time, something I see as a wholly artificial and nonsensical human fabrication.

Time is, in my eyes, the enemy of enjoyment. Live in the moment, don’t worry about getting things done quickly (the destination) worry about doing them right and having fun while your’e doing it (the journey).

These two beliefs, when held together pushed me to accept my status as the unabashed definition of the lazy man. And there is no shame in that acceptance.

I would rather work twice as hard at something I enjoy than work one half that at something I do not.

Modern society was made by lazy men like me.

Steve Jobs: Didn’t wanna learn to code: built his own graphically operated computers.

Henry Ford: Wanted a more refined, albeit slower production process: invented the modern day assembly line.

Those are the only two off the top of my head, and, in order to keep in line with my self imposed restriction of not using the internet to source any info for these posts, I will leave it at that.

But there are plenty more, trust me.

To conclude, society needs lazy people to make technologies usable. If necessity was the mother of invention, laziness was most certainly the father. And, as such, I am proud to say that I am lazy, even if it means I work twice as hard.

1 comment

  1. Laziness is undoubtedly the father of invention, and also the most natural state of being for the unhungry. Even a dog, when his bowl is always full and scraps from the table in constant supply, will settle to fatness, farting, and a zen-mastery of napping.

    “Time is the enemy of enjoyment.” A great and true observation… and yet our minds are in bed with that enemy, speeding time up as our enjoyment grows.

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