Naturally, there are periods of time when it seems like we have given up on everything we ever desired.
At it feels as not just procrastination but laziness.
As for me, laziness seems to dominate these days. After major summits or completing significant projects, I experience a sense of apathy. I struggle to focus on new tasks, and that’s perfectly okay. Currently, I am seeking refuge in my river house, distancing myself from social media and news, and indulging in daily hikes. It’s a slow pace. During these moments, the world around me becomes tranquil—the unmoving walls of California redwoods, the melody of birds singing. Not much is happening, and this break is intended to help me replenish myself after four incredible but chaotic years of expedition living. It’s a period of rest before my next significant endeavor.
Simply put, laziness is a conscious choice to rest before the beginning of a new task.
Here are some other situations that should not be confused with laziness:
Our temperament is innate and cannot be easily changed. If you have a phlegmatic nature, for example, your choleric mother may perceive you as lazy. It’s important to manage your life, business, and personal activities in accordance with your temperament and accept this aspect of your nature.
Reaction to stress
When faced with adversity, our natural response can be fight, flight, or freeze. If you experience something distressing, freezing may be your response—wanting to withdraw from social interactions and hide away. This is not laziness; rather, it indicates a need to address the underlying problem rather than labeling it as mere laziness.
Anxiety can hinder our ability to take action and work on tasks. Simply relying on willpower is not the solution; instead, we must confront our fears and address any underlying psychological issues that may be contributing to our inertia.
Apathy seldom appears in isolation; it is often accompanied by other issues such as pessimism, low self-esteem, self-criticism, or ambivalence. If you were once highly active, diligent, and sociable, but suddenly lose that drive and become “lazy,” there is likely an underlying reason that needs to be explored.
Fear of taking responsibility
The fear of shouldering responsibilities can manifest as laziness, often accompanied by feelings of guilt. If being too responsible triggers a sense of guilt due to fear of making mistakes, it’s important to recognize and address this fear.
Protest against parental expectations
This process can extend over years as an attempt to assert independence from demanding parents. For example, a person may work diligently for six months, then succumb to laziness and apathy for the next six months as a way of rebelling against excessive demands. Similarly, someone may keep switching jobs as an adult because they to protest their parents.
Personal activity cycles
Personal cycles can span months or even years. Have you ever noticed that there are quiet periods before significant life changes? Moments of passivity or stability when you feel uncertain, unready, or hesitant to embrace change. And then, suddenly, everything shifts and you find yourself swept off your feet. These quiet periods are cycles of energy preservation, preparing you for the next move. Intuitively, you sense impending changes and the need to gather resources, just as animals rest and preserve energy in winter. Beneath the surface, there may be numerous psychological changes occurring, unbeknownst to yourself. It is crucial to understand and honor these cycles as they are a preparation for the future.
Laziness is a form of rest – for people who are results-oriented and constantly striving for productivity, laziness can be seen as a natural response to pause, slow down, and replenish. It serves as a protective mechanism, preventing burnout and illness. A mother experiencing burnout while caring for young children, for instance, may need to listen to her body’s signals early on to prevent further depletion.
Therefore, laziness can actually be beneficial for individuals who are primarily focused on results rather than the process. It is important to pause, reflect, and consider how you want to shape your life moving forward.
These moments of tranquility serve as opportunities to stop and contemplate.
Treat laziness as a companion that signals you to reassess and potentially redefine your path.
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About the author:
Olga Koroleva is a founder and CEO of Capital Brain, a company that builds AI-powered products. She is also a high-altitude mountaineer who likes to climb mountains with double-digit death rates, University lecturer, and a public speaker on leadership and risk taking. Sign up to her self-leadership newsletter at https://capitalbrain.co/blog/