Sunday 11 February 2018

#441 More thoughts on the label of laziness

I was thinking about my friend Rob's tendency to call himself lazy. I had another friend with similar tendencies, who, when he was in a bad mood, called himself useless.

Both labels seemed associated with a perceived inability to take on responsibility. What was the best way to go about addressing that? I'd come across people in the past who placed emphasis on changing the language. "You shouldn't call yourself names". That always seemed too reactive. Like reducing the heat of a curry by adding yoghurt.

A better approach would be to find what was causing the problem in the first place and address it. Granted that might be very difficult and take longer. Self-confidence wasn't exactly an easy problem to correct.

If that was too much hassle, I'd suggest a more reasoned approach. Explain why a person shouldn't call themselves names. If they were open to talking about it and if you could think of a decent enough reason. Then be prepared for a discussion. Egos don't like to be disturbed. Even by those trying to help.

The only other thought I had was that maybe responsibility could be learned like the grains of rice on a chessboard analogy. In the first week, a person might do nothing more than lift a finger. Literally. Then the next week, they might lift two fingers. Then eventually they'd be lifting the world. I had feeling it wasn't quite that easy or that certain but when feeling daunted by responsibility, I sometimes found it helpful to start with baby steps.


Fizzfan said...

What are your friends basing their labels of themselves on? Comparisons to other people?
I’m useless at some things, in fact loads of things in the grand scheme of everything, but it’s only a problem if it’s impacting on your happiness. If it is, better get busy learning whatever it is you need to not be useless at I suppose.
I think of myself as lazy inasmuch as that often in my spare time I just do things that I like, and often those things only please me. That’s also selfish. However, I’m also very self sufficient and rarely ask anything of anyone else, which is quite unselfish.
The alternatives for example to doing what I’m doing now, could be any number of household chores, ringing my Mum who I know would like me to call more often, doing some exercises, or even offering my time up to a volunteering service.
I will do some of those things today, but less time will be spent doing them than I think a less lazy person would.
Lazy? Selfish? More interested in keeping myself happy which will in turn make me less grumpy and easier to live with? Less interested in exercising my body than my brain? Less interested in a spotless house than a contented me?
Yes I’m a bit lazy and selfish. My husband on the other hand is less lazy, but he’s also grumpier, which is quite selfish because it impacts on other people negatively, so maybe if he were more lazy he’d be happier, but then again I’d have a few more chores to do, which would make me grumpier.......? Blimey I am selfish aren’t I. Then again I’d rather be my nicer me than my nastier one;)

Responsibility is tricky. I have all the routine responsibilities of a 9-5 working/family life and that’s quite enough for me.
Work wise I don’t seek more responsibility but if it’s imposed on me, I will grudgingly comply. Others would view it as a bit of a badge of honour. Horses for courses. Be awful if there’s were too many Alphas anyway.
You can learn ‘responsibility’, but I think you seek it naturally at different stages of your life because most people just want increased control.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong in calling yourself names. We all need to come to terms with how useless and lazy we can be, (among other things) it’s just called being honest with yourself. We’re a whole spectrum of most horrible labels sometimes. It’s only a problem if it’s holding you back or making you unhappy.
I think expectations and egos are bigger problems. Life will kind of dash them and adjust them anyway. It’s coming to terms with it when it happens that’s the hardest thing.
I think my thinking is kind of the opposite of yours in a way. I’m happy with thinking of us as quite limited and deserving of uncomplimentary labels because we’ve all just got different uses and skill sets of the positive variety, whereas your approach is about changing their perspective about the negatives by getting to the bottom of why and then hopefully making them more positive. That has to be a better thing and baby steps is definitely good.
Maybe if I’d had some intervention at an earlier age I might have achieved more? Or, I might have spent a lot of time trying to do more than I was comfortable with or capable of? I do suffer a bit from Catherine Tate’s approach of Bovered!
Is that self confidence, denial or delusion? Perspective is a wonderful thing.
I’m a lost cause I think, and on top of being lazy and selfish, apparently I’m stubborn, opinionated, viscious, aloof, moody, and a bit mental. Yep, sometimes.

Profound Familiarity said...

"often in my spare time I just do things that I like" - I liked this.

With my friends, the laziness is behavioural. Not necessarily compared to other people although it might be - but for example someone who plays a lot of videogames and feels like they should do something else but doesn't (i.e. me for most of my 20's).

It's hard to imagine anyone actually wants to be grumpy although emotions are sometimes thought of as little personalities of their own and they end up taking the controls (God knows mine do sometimes) and then if you try too hard to cheer up a grumpy person, the grumpiness responds and says NO! GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP!

Name-calling... yeah that's what I'm talking about - when someone's held back or unhappy, the name-calling can be symptomatic of that and also a component of it.

Ok, the impression I get is that you do have a good level of self-confidence. I think when you throw around terms like lazy, you probably do it more casually and almost relish it. You're perhaps not as conflicted as some of my friends but that's just how it seems to me.

Fizzfan said...

Ahhh, so it sounds like your friends laziness is impacting on his happiness. I hope he finds a way, or life helps him, to turn it around.

The video game ‘laziness’ is something I have lived in close proximity to for many years:)
In all seriousness it has been a real worry and used to cause a lot of friction between my son and husband and occassionally me.
It’s a very submersive world and it has undoubtedly effected his life and personal relationships.
On a brighter note, it’s also ended up being his degree of choice at Uni. It seems a bit bizarre to me, but as I always used to tell him to pursue a career involving something he was naturally good at, I can’t really blame him. I’m hoping come September, it’ll set him on a rather overdue path to future happiness. As with all things, time will tell.

Grumpiness like you say can’t be an emotion you seek. With my husband it’s a lot to do with stress. He’s self employed and much too much of his time is consumed with chasing the next deal. He also has no hobbies or interests that relax him. He’s what some would call a real grafter. I’ve often thought if I had his life, I’d be quite grumpy:)
I think it’s very important to look after your happiness, because no one else will. Circumstances make that much harder for some people than others though.

Yeah you’re right, it’s easy to own your faults if you’re fairly secure and most aspects of your life are running smoothly. However, I do live with a slight feeling of guilt about my laziness, although clearly not enough, otherwise I’d be doing some hoovering right now:)

How are you feeling about your new job?

Profound Familiarity said...

He's studying videogames? Cool.

I'll tell you when it starts.

Fizzfan said...

Yeah I was a bit baffled too.
It involves programming, design and events organising among other things.

Look forward to it:)

Profound Familiarity said...

Those sound like really useful skills. I only just Googled this but if it covers things like Java, Flash and C++ he can use those beyond gaming and events management is a career in itself.