What a week! Yesterday was National Lazy Day, Aug. 10 and this Saturday, Aug. 15 is National Relaxation Day. Looks like the perfect excuse to do as little as possible. Then again, one glance at my to-do scroll makes me wonder how I’d get away with it. Still, I know how important it is to rest and rejuvenate.
Historically, I’ve never been good at doing nothing. In fact, as often as I may aspire to resting, kicking back and eating some nutritious bon-bon alternative, it almost never works out for me. There’s always something to do!
Facebook, of course, was how I learned about National Lazy Day. I saw a post about it that had me laughing for five straight minutes. It said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
And guess who said that? Bill Gates.
After a little research, I found other smart quips about laziness. I’m beginning to think it’s not the worst thing in the world considering how many people are often busy beyond reason. I know too many people who conducted themselves that way until they died.
My late friend Bobbie Kingsley, a New Jersey-based photographer, was constantly working at her art, yet died penniless from cancer. It’s lovely that she left such a large body of American and European fashion photography, but she gave away too much of her time and I can’t help but think that even though she loved her work, she might have enjoyed some laziness now and again.
I remember she had a poster up in her studio that said something like, Just because I’m in bed doesn’t mean I’m not working.
We both agreed that bed is one of the best places to dream up great ideas. Of course, you have to eventually get up and make them happen, but that’s beside the point.
Just for a moment, think about what might happen if we all slowed down just a little? Instead of bumping everything up a notch, why not take them down a notch? Wouldn’t we be healthier, suffer less depression, anxiety, stress, crisis situations, addiction and possibly suicide?
Isn’t “laziness” actually resting up for the next big thing? How can we enjoy our success of the moment if all we do is chase the success of the future?
My doctor/acupuncturist friend, Melissa, and I recently walked the beach of Long Beach Island while talking about the importance of stillness, which is basically Chinese medicine’s answer to laziness. Her goal for the year ahead, which I applaud, is “to deepen into the wisdom of stillness within my practice and life.”
I believe stillness has the power to keep cancerous cells lying dormant rather than resulting in a diagnosis. Stillness helps avoid arguments because it affords pause. Stillness is the also the act of avoiding bad decisions when one takes a minute to breathe. And sometimes, in some cases and in many different ways, it saves lives. I think we’ve used the word lazy too loosely.
Jillian Michaels, fitness guru, says, “Lazy doesn't exist. Lazy is a symptom of something else. The person who can't get up off their butt is just a person who's depressed. It's usually a pervasive lack of self-worth, or a feeling of helplessness.”
Tony Robbins, author, and one of the most successful motivational speakers, doesn’t believe in laziness at all. “People are not lazy,” he says. “They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them.” I have to agree. Then there are people like author David Dunham, who doesn’t see laziness as negative. He said, “Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
Great minds think alike.
Alan Rios, author, had the same idea when he said, “True laziness is the commitment to decrease work and increase efficiency; reduce burden and boost creativity; expand your knowledge and avoid complications; minimize effort and still get it done.”
Lech Walesa, politician, said, “I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.”
Let’s hear it for lazy people! But some people feel they’re being lazy even when they’re not.
Seth Rogen, actor, is one of them. He said, “I am lazy, but for some reason, I am so paranoid that I end up working hard.”
John Backus, famous computer scientist, acknowledges that he may have walked a different path but for the four-letter word we too often misuse.
He said, “Much of my work has come from being lazy.”
Tom Hodgkinson, yet another author, agrees with my friend, Bobbie and me. He said, “Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” I say, if laziness is another form of peace, I’ll take it as it comes!