The Hard Work of being Lazy


At times, perhaps without quite knowing why,
we slip into a resolutely ‘lazy’ mood. We’re simply not able to write anything
new or can’t face setting up more meetings. We don’t want to clean the fridge or go
out to befriend prospective clients. All we have an appetite for, it seems, is to loll
on the sofa and maybe dip randomly into a book, wander down to the shops and buy a packet
of biscuits or spend an hour or so soaking in the bath. We might, at an extreme, merely
want to sit by the window and stare at the clouds. For a long time. In such states of mind, we’re rapidly liable
to be stigmatized as profoundly (and incorrigibly) ‘lazy’ by friends or – more painfully
– by our own conscience. Laziness feels like a sin against the bustling activity of modernity;
it seems to bar us from living successfully or from thinking in any way well of ourselves.
But, to consider the matter from another perspective, it might be that at points the real threat
to our happiness and self-development lies not in our failure to be busy, but in the
very opposite scenario: in our inability to be ‘lazy’ enough. Outwardly idling does not have to mean that
we are neglecting to be fruitful. It may look to the world as if we are accomplishing nothing
at all but, below the surface, a lot may be going on that’s both important and in its
own way very arduous. When we’re busy with routines and administration, we’re focused
on those elements that sit at the front of our minds: we’re executing plans rather
than reflecting on their value and ultimate purpose. But it is to the deeper, less accessible
zones of our inner lives that we have to turn in order to understand the foundations of
our problems and arrive at decisions and conclusions that can govern our overall path. Yet these
only emerge – shyly and tentatively – when we are feeling brave enough to distance ourselves
from immediate demands; when we can stare at clouds and do so-called nothing all afternoon
while in fact wrestling with our most profound dilemmas. We need to distinguish between emotional and
practical hard work. Someone who looks extremely active, whose diary is filled from morning
till night, who is always running to answer messages and meet clients may appear the opposite
of lazy. But secretly, there may be a lot of avoidance going on beneath the outward
frenzy. Busy people evade a different order of undertaking. They are practically a hive
of activity, yet they don’t get round to working out their real feelings. They constantly
delay the investigation of their own lives. They are lazy when it comes to understanding
particular emotions. Their busy-ness may be a subtle but powerful form of distraction. Our minds are in general a great deal readier
to execute than to reflect. They can be rendered deeply uncomfortable by so-called large questions:
What am I really trying to do? What do I actually enjoy and who am I trying to please? By contrast,
the easy bit can be the running around, the never pausing to ask why, the repeatedly ensuring
that there isn’t a moment to have doubts or feel sad or searching. Business can mask
a vicious form of laziness. Our lives might be a lot more balanced if
we learnt to re-allocate prestige, pulling it away from those with a full diary and towards
those wise enough to allow for some afternoons of reflection. We should think that there
is courage not just in travelling the world, but also in daring to sit at home with one’s
thoughts for a while, risking encounters with certain anxiety-inducing or melancholy but
also highly necessary ideas. Without the shield of busy-ness, we might bump into the realisation
that our relationship has reached an impasse, that our work no longer answers to any higher
purpose or that we feel furious with a family member who is subtly exploiting our patience.
The heroically hard worker isn’t necessarily the one in the business lounge of the international
airport, it might be the person gazing without expression out of the window, and occasionally
writing down one or two ideas on a pad of paper. The point of ‘doing nothing’ is to clean
up our inner lives. There is so much that happens to us every day, so many excitements,
regrets, suggestions and emotions that we should – if we are living consciously – spend
at least an hour a day processing. Most of us manage – at best – a few minutes – and
thereby let the marrow of life escape us. We do so not because we are forgetful or bad,
but because our societies protect us from our responsibilities to ourselves through
their cult of activity. We are granted every excuse not to undertake the truly difficult
labour of leading more conscious, more searching and more intensely felt lives. The next time we feel extremely lazy, we should
imagine that perhaps a deep part of us is preparing to give birth to a big thought.
As with a pregnancy, there is no point hurrying the process. We need to lie still and let
the idea gestate – sure that it may eventually prove its worth. We may need to risk being
accused of gross laziness in order one day to put in motion projects and initiatives
we can feel proud of. Our online shop has a range of books and gifts that address the most important and often neglected areas of life.

100 thoughts on “The Hard Work of being Lazy”

  1. Pretty much all young people are lazy nowadays.
    And im 21. Im one of the only to get tired.. after work or etc
    Most of you wake up tired, drink water? Tired, walk to the bathroom? Exhausting
    Need to make food or even just pick up a phone and order it? "Ahhh ill call in 15min"
    I really dislike hanging out with anyone around my age or younger
    Most of yall really are bummers nowadays
    I somehow have more fun with people in their 30's and up
    Yall should really change

  2. Seriously, to all the "joke" tellers here
    Just know nobody likes the guy/girl who does absolutely fucking nothing
    Dont waste urselves

  3. Great Video. I guess taking a moment to stop and actually appreciate what's around you, develop new ideas and grow is not all that bad and is greatly beneficial. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Fuckin deep. Busyness everytime is biggest distraction, it will stop you from feeling life intensively. Basically you will become a dumb rat.

  5. Of all the quirks in my life I didn't think that this one would be expressed by someone else! For years– 10 perhaps– I've often felt a need to take long walks, preferrably alone– sometimes with music, often not.

    It was always to sort out my thoughts, to put the day or my mental life in order.

    Thankfully, I don't recall having been accused of laziness for it (which always sounds like a petty and mean insult anyway).

    I find that if I don't do this– 1 hour per day is about perfect, but work and kids make that challenging– I get a restlessness, a mental "itch."

    It's like cleaning the soul.

  6. Now I really understand why I love this old hillbilly song, "I got it made in the shade if the tree don't fall" especially the lyric "Well I ain't doin nuthin but I ain't quite done" Thank you Jimmy Martin!

  7. Now a drastic reality check, Prof. E.O. Wilson observed that ants are the creature we most resemble in actions and life patterns. Ants out weigh us in world mass literally and are on a constant search for survival hence food, area to dominate, expansion of their family. Come to think of it, I have never seen a Lazy Ass Ant! LOL

  8. Maybe I'm profoundly lazy to agree with this 100%… but I'll be patiently sharpening my blade until it's time to strike with the precision of a samurai, splitting an atom with every premeditated slash.

  9. The whole video boils down to 'being lazy for some time may actually be fine'. Which is quite different from 'Being lazy [with no further qualifiers] is always a hard work', as the title suggests.

  10. agreed, people can call me lazy, but ive taken the time to understand what they dont. (and consolidated these truths for others). those "busy" people are too lazy to take the time and effort.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXwwoN4Y_asb6v744K9bslc1raJYQtiCI

  11. The problem of laziness or hardworking is solved if you find a job that you love and which brings you an income. I work two jobs and both are my hobbies. One brings me an income and the other one is serving humanity. I am lazy and at the same time a hardworking guy.

  12. it suprised me because im always being accused as lazy and weird when i just staring on my wall or just chewing my food slowly.. or drink a tea while watching a moving clouds when i acctually have many thought on my head when doing that shit lol and im willing to answer your dumbest and hardest question when i doing my activity called "lazy"

  13. I feel like you should have covered how different forms of laziness can affect you. I can install how taking time to reflect on thing can be beneficial. However, being lazy by sitting and watching TV and YouTube all day seems like it would bring out the worst aspects of being lazy and busy at the same time.

  14. I feel much better for staying at home and thinking about myself and why I do the fhings I do , just reflecting on myself .

  15. What happens when we have the opposite problem? Overthinking about all this thing to te extent we fail to complete daily tasks, like studying for the exam?

  16. I understand what the narrator is trying to get out here. We need to be able to stop and take time for ourselves, even if outside Observers perceive it as doing absolutely nothing or being unproductive. But there is a fine line between taking time for ourselves and using it wisely to explore our inner thoughts and get into our heads and hearts, purses putting off what needs to be done simply because you don't want to do it. Balance is the key word here. An hour a day? Maybe two at the most. Much longer than that, and you are wasting time.

  17. Besides the necessities of life, that is food, water, clothing, shelter, no, the latest fad is not a necessity people, the things that make us truly happy are actually free.
    Sort the necessities out as quick and as early as you can and spend the many years you have left enjoying the free things.
    Oh, by the way, beluga caviar and Moët champagne, Gucci clothes, Rolex watches, etc. are NOT necessities even though they can be included in the group, beware of getting caught up in the consumerism scam and becoming an unknowing but willing slave.

  18. Dear school of life:
    You are the only voice I know of in this format genuinely fighting the insanity of contemporary productivity anti-values.
    Thank you

  19. We live in a very busy world, where we have a very expensive educational system but also very poor knowledge, learning, understanding and wisdom, where we have a very expensive health care system and very expensive gyms but also very poor health and very poor fitness, a very expensive judicial system but also a very poor justice, a very expensive transport system but also very poor transport(try getting their in time or without a trouble or a hassle), a very expensive administrative and bureaucratic system but very poor administration, a very expensive economic system but very poor economy which is in huge debt. This is the video made by one who is always very busy thinking about money and how to make money all the time, or simply put it is the video made by one who neither thinks right nor does right, although I do not see the theoretical and the practical difference between the two.

  20. Damn, his idea of laziness is still fairly industrious. Reading a book, walking to the store, running a bath? That's a full day for many Americans 🤣

  21. This is the concept I had developing in my head for so long time. I thought I was alone with this problem. Thank you, I really needed this video.

    How can I support The School of Life in a non-monetary way? Oh wait I got it 😀 I'm gonna write subtitles in my local language to this video if it isn't done already.

  22. I understand the approach but this video can be very negatively influential to most people who are actually lazy. You really mix up the terms of lazy with meditating and reflecting. Those are hard and valuable task that do take a moment to lay back and think. People being lazy, are… lazy. They do not seek to put down ideas, nor to actually achieve any of it. I have deep talks with dozens and dozen of people I know and indeed, I see them as not very productive / lazy. They are not deep thinkers, slowly reflecting on life to build something. They are usually pretty clueless about what they want or what they think about. Most pro-active people do take that little minute (you are correct that it should be an hour) and are the ones seeking progress in their life. I think you should explore more in that "there are 2 kinds of busy" busy doing the same time-consuming repetitive task, and the other ones who works from projects to projects to build something bigger.

  23. Day to day, I wish I was a "busy" person rather than a "living life" person – I am working a job I hate while doing part-time studies to finish my latest diploma and I am severely underemployed based on my actual credentials; but; I have always been more into exploring life than subscribing to the capitalist North American mindset. Yes, I do have a bit of pressure from loved ones due to my age to "stop getting degrees and start getting a career," but, I sure have enjoyed wasting my 20s in university, moving to a few new places, and in odd-end jobs off and on for both rather than starting a career at 23 and waiting until I'm 70 years old to dabble in my own interests.

  24. I seem lazy to anyone from the outside but the truth is I use all my effort and willpower trying to improve my health after recovering from a vegan diet

  25. So the next time I find myself staring into space with little awareness of how much time has elapsed, I can rest assured that my brain has actually been hard at work, gestating profound ideas. Cool.

  26. Thank you very much. A little validation goes a long way . I actually cringed with guilt when i first read the title. I did not have any room in me to be schooled on my laziness yet again…i felt a sad thinking i was too lazy and therefore not good enough to continue to identify identified with all ya'll😋. I finally decided to be a big girl and hear what you have to say facing my lazy self ( as ive been told many times by all of those who hate anything resembling lazy) . Im so happy , Im still in the school of life😍thank you.

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