“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.
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