How To Stop Being Lazy
Before we dig in today, the first thing we need to define is what I mean by laziness.
Most people equate laziness with avoiding work. The problem with this definition is many people who work hard are also some of the laziest people I know.
We have all heard the story of the businessman who works hard to earn money, spending long hours at the office and bringing work home on the weekends, only to see his wife and kids leave him. Rather than work on his relationships, he stayed busy at work.
Busy people are often the laziest. Busyness is a form of avoidance. If you stay busy, you can avoid some of the things you don’t want to face—like exercising or taking care of your wealth.
Today, I meet people who are too lazy to take care of their money, their health, and their family or get a financial education. They work hard, but that is just a way of staying busy so they don’t have to face more important things. They are lazy. Nobody has to tell them. Deep down they know, and if you bring it up they get irritated.
And if they’re not busy with work, they’re working hard at watching TV, fishing, playing golf, or shopping. They stay busy to avoid important things in life.
When we stop saying, “Life is too hectic to change it,” and say instead, “It’s time to exit this rat race and find new ways to earn wealth,” we begin to cure ourselves of our busy laziness.
Living a full life and being financially successful means you have to not just work hard but you also have to work hard on the right things. This should be a complete picture of who you are and who you want to be. Work hard at your relationships, your family, your health, your mind, and education, and yes, your work itself.
If you’re only working hard at one area of your life, you’re lazy in all the others.
If that rings true for you, you must overcome laziness to become rich in terms of both money and life.
Overcoming Laziness Starts With Developing A Growth Mindset
There are two types of people in the world: those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset looks at circumstances and says no that can’t be done, or there is no way I’ll ever be like that person. A fixed mindset locks you into the way things are rather than focusing on the way things could be.
A growth mindset is open to possibility. It is open to what others have to say and teach. It continually strives to be better each day. It is an exciting way to live.
Those with the growth mindset believe that they can grow their abilities. Challenges don’t scare them off. They see obstacles and failure as a chance to learn from their mistakes, an opportunity to grow. They’re fearless in that way.
There’s a quote from Thomas Edison that says, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison viewed what others might view as a failure as another step toward finding success.
For those with a growth mindset, success means stretching themselves and acquiring new abilities. They’re always growing and always learning. They use difficulty to reach newer and higher levels of achievement.
Often, I find that those who are lazy are suffering from a fixed mindset problem. Because they can’t imagine a future different than their reality, they shut down. They can’t imagine being in great shape and running a marathon, so they stop running completely. They can’t imagine being rich, so they don’t learn about money.
My rich dad would say, “The biggest challenge you have is to challenge your self-doubt and your laziness. It is your self-doubt and your laziness that define and limit who you are. If you want to change who you are, you must take on your self-doubt and your laziness. It is your self-doubt and laziness that keeps you small. It is your self-doubt and laziness that deny you the life you want.” He would drive home his point, saying, “There is no one in your way except you and your doubts. It is easy to stay the same. It is easy not to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives. If you will take on your self-doubt and your laziness, you will find the door to your freedom.”
So the first key to overcoming laziness is to start dreaming again.
Stop Being Lazy By Getting A Little Greedy
Chances are you bristled at me telling you to be a little greedy. That’s OK. Many of us were raised to think this way.
“Greedy people are bad people,” my mother used to say. Yet, if we’re honest, all of us have a yearning for nice, new, or exciting things.
To keep that yearning under control, parents often find ways of suppressing it with guilt. “You only think about yourself,” was one of my mom’s favorites. “You want me to buy what for you? Do you think we’re made of money?” was my dad’s. It wasn’t the words that hurt so much as the angry guilt trip that came with them.
But the reality is that there’s nothing wrong with wanting nice, new, or exciting things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting time to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with devoting yourself to a passion project or to building a business.
The only wrong thing is how you go about attaining them. Will you be lazy and steal from your family’s future by pulling out bad debt and spending all your money on them, or will you increase your financial intelligence and find ways to build your wealth so that you can enjoy the finer things in life?
Will you say, “I can’t afford it,” or will you ask, “How can I afford it?”
How Can You Afford It?
My rich dad forbade the words, “I can’t afford it,” in his house. In my real home, that’s all I ever heard. Instead, my rich dad required his children to ask, “How can I afford it?”
The words, “I can’t afford it,” shut down your mind to possibilities—you don’t have to think. It is a poor and lazy mindset. The words, “How can I afford it,” open up your mind, forcing you to think and search for answers. It is a rich and creative mindset.
Most important, when you ask yourself, “How can I afford it,” it releases the potential of your human spirit to battle with the lazy mindset. Most people think using the words, “We can’t afford it,” teaches them to battle greed, but it teaches them to find excuses, which leads to laziness.
Overcome Laziness By Asking “What’s In It For Me?”
I have a radio station that’s my favorite. It’s called, “What’s in it for me?” Or WII-FM. OK, it’s not a real station, but it’s an easy way for me to remember that important question.
We need to often sit down and ask questions like, “What would my life be like if I never had to work again?” “What would I do if I had all the money I needed?” Without the desire to have something better, progress is never made. And wanting something better, whether we acknowledge it or not, takes a little bit of greed. It means asking, “What’s in it for me?”
Our world progresses because we all desire a better life. New inventions are made, we go to school and study hard, and we make sacrifices, all because we want a better life. So whenever you find yourself facing something so hard that you’d prefer to avoid it and be lazy, ask, “What’s in it for me?” Be a little greedy. It’s the best cure for laziness.
Overcome Laziness By Making Small Gains
Once you have an idea of what you want your ideal future to be, it can often be a challenge to keep going if you are comparing your present to a far-off future.
The best way to overcome laziness is by making small, incremental gains each day. Don’t set a goal to be a financial genius. Set a goal to read one financial book a month. Once you do that, bump it out to two.
A growth mindset is continually improving day in and day out. Nothing shuts down a growth mindset and leads to laziness more than biting off more than you can chew.
Lastly, don’t feel guilty about wanting a better life and working hard to attain it, but also don’t become guilty of sacrificing the most important things in life, your family, health, and integrity, to attain them. Because at the end of the day, money is only important if you can enjoy it with the ones you love and with a clear conscience.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily