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Embracing Laziness

Embracing Laziness

“Industrious people build industry. Lazy people create civilization.” – Kaz Tanahashi

I was recently interviewed by a national magazine for an upcoming story about laziness. Since I’m the author of the book LESS, I guess I’m seen as an expert on laziness.

I began the interview by quoting Brother David Stendl-Rast: “The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest; the antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” I then launched into the topic of meaning and mindfulness, and how doing less is not laziness.

The young woman interviewing me stopped me and said, “You don’t understand. This article is about laziness. Our readers, soccer moms and middle-aged women are burnt out and exhausted. We want them to know that being lazy is a good thing.”

I needed to think quickly on my feet, as I’m not accustomed to being a proponent of laziness.

“Well, my wife and I just took the month of September off and traveled around Europe.  And, when I cook in the kitchen I’m always trying to do the most with the least amount of effort. And, I take a nap in the middle of the day, almost every day. How’s that for laziness?”

“That’s what I’m looking for!” the interviewer said. I continued that when I’m organizing my schedule I try to drive as little as possible; that recently at the farmer’s market I’ve been buying a number of prepared food items and frozen items that don’t require cooking. I go for a walk nearly every day. I really got into it. I do love relaxing, playing, looking for ways to get the most done with the least amount of effort. I don’t usually think of this as laziness, but if framing it in this way is helpful, I guess I’m now a proponent of laziness.

Since I’m now an expert on the topic, I’d like to highly recommend laziness. Laziness may not be the only antidote to exhaustion, but it might be an important step, and a valuable way to take care of ourselves in the midst of demanding and often over-busy lives.

No need to feel guilty. Relax. Practice pausing. Go for long walks. Read poetry in the middle of the day. Take a weekly Sabbath. Take that much needed break, vacation, time to just appreciate being alive: all valuable practices that may lead to finding more wholeheartedness. And, you just might find that you accomplish more, and are happier as well.

5 Ways to Do Less and Accomplish More

Read more: Health, Stress,

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Marc Lesser

Marc Lesser is CEO of ZBA Associates LLC, a company providing executive coaching, leadership development consulting, and keynote speaking services to businesses and non-profits. He is a developer and instructor of Google’s Search Inside Yourself program. Marc is a Zen teacher with an MBA degree and a former resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years. He is the author of Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less and Z.B.A. Zen of Business Administration.


+ add your own
1:33AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

Thank you :)

7:40PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Thank you :)

7:22AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Very nice article!

5:01AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

thank you

4:56AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013


10:31PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013


3:05PM PDT on Mar 26, 2013

Yes... I want to be lazy!

8:08AM PST on Feb 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:16AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

“Industrious people build industry. Lazy people create civilization.” – Kaz Tanahashi

lol, nice quote. Great photo, too!

5:47PM PDT on May 30, 2012

Sometimes laziness is a wonderful thing. It's a privilege and luxury and those who have the opportunity to be lazy sometimes should appreciate it.

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