Why Lazy Is Good, When Done Right
Updated: Sep 19
I am not a mountain goat. I am not an endurance athlete. I'm a sprinter filled with power (at least I was, when I was a professional skier). And although I've lived in an endurance mecca for over 8y, that skillset remains hidden within me. So, as I face the remaining 300meters to the summit of a mountain, I fall into my common personal dialogue of,
"How do I get from here, to there,
with the least amount of effort."
This article is a case study in laziness. More specifically, how laziness can be used to your advantage - especially if you're a perfectionist.
I have achieved some great milestones in my life, world cup medals, Olympics, primetime TV host, photographed the Royals, etc. However, my success has come by keeping my perfectionism (an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world) at bay and by leaning heavily on a part of my personality I once denounced...my laziness.
What I've learned with time, and one might hope a modicum of maturity, is that my laziness was an asset because it hastened my desire to be efficient in both physical effort (athlete) & work flow (broadcaster/speaker).
Let's face it, who wants to do
more work than is required.
The caveat to successfully taping into laziness is being unwilling to compromise results.
I still wanted to be an A+ student, a world class athlete, an anchor in broadcasting and a master photographer...I just didn't want to work any harder than I had to.
I also didn't want to fall into what many perfectionists succumb to, and what Leonardo Lesponnato calls “The DaVinci Curse”:
“The Da Vinci Curse plagues people who have too many talents and interests: they are always learning, but never invest enough time and energy into one thing. They are always swapping their job, their hobbies or even home and never become fully engaged in the many domains to which they’re drawn. Withdrawing interest while having learned just enough to feel that if I invested the time, I could achieve mastery.” (via Blinkist)
So, I used tools to suppress my own perfectionism and replace thoughts of quitting with thoughts of efficiency (aka: laziness).
A Minimum Of Expertise Needed
There are a few (rather big) hurdles to overcome before you can become effectively 'lazy'.
You need 2 things:
1) A rather high level of proficiency within your chosen field
2) Know yourself (your ideal performance state, good & bad habits, etc.)
#2 can be the hardest to achieve, however, there's good news. You can be guided through exercises to help you better understand your strengths & weaknesses.
Anytime you watch a pro musician or athlete, they make their movements appear effortless. That's because they have mastered efficiency within their craft. They are, in every way that matters, 'lazily' jumping over the hurdle or strumming that guitar.
For example, when I first began working as a broadcaster, I couldn't work hard enough. No matter how long I tackled a project, I felt constantly behind on research, on planning, on scripting. Until I turned the coveted corner. That corner required experience, practice, and knowing myself well enough to know my weaknesses. I would ask myself,
"What do I need to work on, right now,
to succeed today."
It took time before I knew what that answer was because, although I knew myself (#2), I hadn't yet garnered enough skill and experience in my new craft (#1). However, once I had enough hours under my belt, I was both better and more efficient. I worked less, with better outcomes, and my 'lazy-self' happily smiled with gratitude.
Be 'Lazy' Faster
Understanding this process, and how to fast-track your efficiency (or laziness, as I put it for the sake of this article) is vitally important in both being successful and in staying sane with today's fast paced work environments.
Walking you and/or your team through a step by step process, I can help you save hundreds of hours of wasted time due to inefficiencies.
Connect to learn how I can help your team do more with
less effort, time and energy.
And without compromising results.
This realization of why Lazy-Is-Good only struck me in the last couple of years. Looking back, I was able to breakdown the pattern and create a learnable system.
And, although I may never become an endurance athlete, I am delivering the most efficient versions of my skillsets every time I attempt a summit.