How to Fight Back Against the ‘Laziness Lie’
Our culture’s fear of laziness is destroying us
I’m a social psychologist, clinical assistant professor, and the author of the book Laziness Does Not Exist. My book is all about how our culture’s fear of laziness leads to overwork, exploitation, and alienation. In it, I also discuss how each of us can unlearn our hatred of laziness and build more authentic, socially connected lives. For anyone who doesn’t have the energy — or time — to read a full book about how busy and overworked we all are right now, here are five key insights from my book you can read in a single sitting:
1. The laziness lie
The “laziness lie” is my term for the set of unspoken, deeply held cultural beliefs that each of us absorbs throughout our lifetimes about the value of work and the danger of “laziness.” The laziness lie tells us that our worth as human beings is linked to our productivity, that our needs and limitations cannot be trusted and must instead be ignored, and that, no matter how busy we are, there is more that we should be doing.
Laziness Does Not Exist
Psychological research is clear: when people procrastinate, there's usually a good reason
This outlook is responsible for massive amounts of pain and suffering. It leads many of us to overwork ourselves to sickness, and it also convinces us that we don’t have to worry about people who are suffering from massive social issues such as homelessness, unemployment, or drug addiction. The laziness lie teaches us to blame society’s biggest victims for being too “lazy” to solve the problem of their own oppression.
The truth, though, is that no one would ever choose to fail or disappoint if they could help it. There is no shameful, slothful force inside us that makes us tired or checked out. If a person cares about getting something done, yet they repeatedly fail to do so, it’s clearly because there are barriers in their way—often, a variety of barriers—and they need support in removing those barriers to move forward.