Nobody I know would call me lazy except me. I have always made it a point to outwork everyone in the room. That is great, but I have always felt lazy like I was not doing enough. I needed someone to tell me, you’re not lazy, you’re normal. Doing anything has never been my problem. Starting to do something is where the problem comes in. It used to take a lot to convince my mind to do the required activity.
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I’m Telling You You’re Not Lazy You’re Normal
Has anyone else felt the same way about beginning a difficult task? For example, I need to paint the house. That is going to be difficult and time-consuming. My mind conjures up a plethora of reasons not to paint the house. It is cloudy, too hot; I might miss the second round of an insignificant golf tournament on TV, etc. The list goes on and on.
I ask myself, why am I so lazy? Then you get the paint and brushes and begin. Wives in the neighborhood see me and tell their husbands, why can’t you be more like him? He isn’t lazy. After several hours, I finish; exhausted. I have accomplished a lot of hard work but still, feel lazy because of the struggle to get started. Somebody, please tell me, you’re not lazy, you’re normal.
It’s All Physics
In reality, we are not lazy, and the reason we feel lazy is a principle of physics, the Principle of Least Action. The path you choose between two points will always be the path requiring the least energy. When I worked with explosives, I was taught that energy would follow the path of least resistance. I could “aim” the explosive blast by creating the least resistance in the direction I wanted it to follow.
Our brain is wired to conserve energy, and we will always gravitate toward the least amount of work. Choosing to watch golf would have been the least amount of work. That is why I was drawn to that option. It was not that I was lazy but that my brain was working normally. The house could have gone unpainted, but it needed to get done, and I did not want to pay someone to do it.
Change Is Necessary
I have had to change my behaviors to overcome my natural desire to conserve energy. If not, nothing would get done. Our ancestors had to develop behaviors to overcome these universal laws. Imagine if they did not, they would not have grown crops and died out. We would not be here today.
Today, everything is at our fingertips; Information, food, transportation, etc. It is easy now to fall into the trap of never leaving your house and submitting to the Law of Least Effort. Building the behaviors necessary to live a healthy life is more important than ever. When it is time for dinner, your brain will tell you to order food from your phone instead of cooking a healthy meal.
Keep It Simple
How can you begin to build the essential behaviors for personal improvement? You can do this by making the path as simple as possible and satisfying the Law of Least Effort. Meal prepping makes it easier to eat healthy instead of cooking daily. Cook all your meals for the week in one day. Taking a daily walk is beneficial and easier than going to a gym.
Create shortcuts or smaller tasks to achieve the behavior you want to change. Something as simple as taking off your heels after work and putting on walking shoes can satisfy your brain. The next thing you know, you are walking daily after work, and you have created a path of least resistance for your new behavior to develop. These new behaviors will create a new identity for you.
Do not try to do everything at once. Small steps every day will change the person you are over time. Patience, persistence, and perseverance are the keys to your success. Your brain will still choose the easiest option, but now you know; you’re not lazy, you’re normal.
Clear, James. “Chapter 12.” Atomic Habits: An Easy &Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, Penguin Randon House LLC, *New York, New York, 2018, pp. 149–158.