The War On Lazy

I know that many people will scoff at what I say next, but there’s a good chance the same people believe bigfoot is real, the moon walk was faked, or that President Obama is a socialist.

The truth is, there is no such thing as “lazy.”

“Lazy” has become the label for a certain behavior, a behavior that has potentially negative consequences, and so, in an exercise of peer pressure, people have given that behavior a negative moniker – albeit an attempt to discourage people from being “lazy.”    It is said in much the same way as labeling people who commit suicide as cowards.  With hopes that people within ear shot will not want to be negatively labeled “coward” upon their death, they believe they can discourage others from committing suicide.    (It is a fact that suicide can be socially contagious.)

Here is the point I want to really get across: healthy people are naturally energetic people.  They possess a genuine desire to be active, to do things, to be social and interact with others.   When people are not behaving in this manner it is either because they are physically exhausted, or they are suffering from some type of mental health depression.

For most people, physical exhaustion and depression are short lived events, leading people to believe that the action they’ve taken to overcome their laziness actually cured them.   For the physically exhausted it only takes a bit of rest and a good meal to overcome their feelings of laziness.  For those suffering from depression, time is the only true cure, but during that time they go through certain mental exercises where they believe they are working to choose happiness over depression.   In a couple days, the depression naturally subsides, although they give all the credit to their choosing to feel better.

For those whose depression or lethargy lingers, instead of looking for a more exact cause, people will often tell them that they are just not trying hard enough.   Thus on top of the negative label of lazy comes the additional guilt labels,  possessing a lack of proper character, or worse, possessing the sin of slothfulness.

It really is time to change how we view things and approach cures to what ails us humans.   Put the mythology and superstitions on the shelf and embrace science.   It is time to delve deeper into the cause and effect of human behavior, and stop judging others from a distance.

For many homeless people the misunderstanding of others weighs heavily upon them,  it is yet another anchor holding them down, holding them back from living a better life.

There are books written on the subject. Try The Myth of Laziness, by Dr Mel Levine.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless


  1. Well, there is no measure of activity or inactivity that can define “lazy”, things like this are totally subjective. A person who runs marathons might call someone who only runs 5k, “lazy”, the 5k runner may call a person who spends all day on a computer, “lazy”, etc. Still, I would say that a person who does not willingly fulfill his moral obligations is most likely suffering from a bit of depression.


  2. PAL

    Yes, I agree with your general point that, when a person has a job that they are interested in, then they will be more willing to do the job – and less likely to find ways to hide from the job. Also, I agree with your point that “being bored and uninspired with your job is not a sign of laziness.” So what is laziness?

    I would define laziness as a willful lack of reasonable self-exertion in a situation in which a) self-exertion is morally required and b) the individual has the capacity to self-exert.

    So, in the warehouse example, I was morally obligated to exert myself to do the work because I had agreed to take the job. And I had the physical ability to do the work. But I was choosing to avoid my responsibility to exert myself. So that is why I think that it would be fair to say that I was being lazy.

    And I give that example as a proof that laziness does indeed exist. The thesis of this article is that “laziness does *not* exist.”


  3. It could depend on how you define laziness, but being bored and uninspired with your job is not a sign of laziness. If you had another job that you found challenging and rewarding, I'm sure you wouldn't be looking for ways to hide from it.


  4. PAL

    I agree that mental and physical illnesses exists (like depression, for example), and that illness can often carry the symptom of low activity levels and/or low productivity. But I disagree that laziness does *not* exist. I used to work in a furniture warehouse. The work was boring. Sometimes, I took unauthorized breaks back in certain hiding places in the warehouse (btw, we had established break times and lunch times.) Eventually the big boss would come looking for me and remind me to get back to work. Now, was this an instance of bullying a disabled person or confronting a lazy person? I wrote an article to address the whole question of “does laziness exist?”. I hope that you will take a look at it and let me know what you think. Here is the link:


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