Why does everything happen to me? Why can't I get a break?
A recent Harvard Business Review article titled “9 Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions” cited as the number one bad decision making, The Habit of ”LAZINESS”.
Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. (Ecc. 10:18)
If people were homes, you would see sagging roofs and leaky houses all around you. Before we tackle the truth of this scripture I think it is important for us to deal with some myths about laziness.
Myth # 1: I am tired all the time, my life is jam packed, therefore I am not lazy I am working too hard and can’t keep up with everything. FALSE
There is a huge difference between being productive and being busy. Busy is a cultural code word meant to deflect from introspection and close examination. You can work hard or you can work smart. The former will exhaust you and set you up for frustration the latter will refresh you and set you up for peaceful living.
Myth # 2: I can’t deal with stress so I try to get things off my plate as soon as possible, that’s delegating not lazy. FALSE
There are things we can and should delegate to others who may be better equipped to fulfill an assignment from time to time. However if you find yourself delegating constantly to remove stress from your life it may have become a coping mechanism that feeds into bad decision making. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure is a part of life: meeting deadlines, problem solving, conflict resolution, relational challenges, daily tasks that may frustrate us, car repairs, unexpected expenses, anxious moments. If we are to mature in a healthy way it is vital that we develop a habit of finishing. Passing off tasks because we feel pressure or anxious or we just don’t want to be responsible for them is a sign of laziness.
Myth #3: I wait for others to move forward first because I don’t want to get it wrong or get into trouble, that’s smart not lazy. FALSE
Taking the initiative is important for our development and learning. We learn best by doing not watching. I don’t recommend being reckless in initiating tasks. Reckless is when we: Usurp authority to move things in a direction we want to go. That’s not initiative, that’s rebellion. There are many opportunities for us to take initiative daily. Our failure to do so exhibits laziness on our part. Taking initiative in a helpful way requires that we are students of our leaders, we learn their habits and we understand the vision and mission of the organization. When they are late or absent we can step up and initiate action that will honor them and likely lead to rewarding us down the line.
A life of saggy roofs and leaky houses is a life lived LAZY! Poor decision making begins with lazy living. When we are living lazy we lay blame and justify. Nothing can change for us until we take responsibility for our lives. We are where we are based on the decisions we have made or refused to make.
That is actually very good news. How so? Well it means if we change our decisions we can change our destination. Saggy roofs and leaky houses can be repaired and often less painfully than we first thought. We can turn painful living into peaceful living by reordering our priorities and developing a good work ethic. We can work smarter rather than harder. If you are really tired of lazy living results here are some key steps to take:
First, own it! Admit to yourself and to those close to you that you have a saggy roof and a leaky house. Accountability is what you need most to get started. We need people around us who will hold us accountable for our decisions. Invite and empower good Godly counsel into your life. Your pastor, spiritual leaders, mature Christian believers. Stop making choices and decisions in isolation. You will constantly be tempted to revert to bad habits of laying blame and justifying if you do not put accountability structures in place. Work with your church to help create groups that will be supportive for you and others who want to make life changes: Singles, Single moms, Addiction issue groups, Parenting groups, Financial planning groups, Senior Citizen groups etc..
Second, Commit to Finish what you start! From the small to large things in your life, learn to be a finisher not a delegator! Several years ago I heard John Maxwell speak at a conference in Atlanta. He told the story about joining a group from his church to climb to the top of a large mountain in Colorado. It was a challenging climb. At the halfway point there was a little cafe that they stopped at and had lunch and hot coco. When they finished their meal about 8 or so decided to stay at the cafe and let the others finish the climb. He talked about the beauty of the rest of the climb and the euphoria of reaching the top. The finishers celebrated, took pictures and as they descended the mountain they were laughing, and sharing stories. He told about the moment when they got even with the cafe. He could see the faces of those who had decided to stay behind, pressed against the glass looking out at them. In their faces he could see the regret that they had not finished. As they rejoined the group they were shown pictures from the summit and you could hear some say they wished they had finished. Finishing is difficult but it is always rewarding.
Third: Work smart and work hard. Take pride in putting effort into your life. Part of working smart is establishing life priorities. As Christians we are not trying to work God into our lives we are measuring how much of life fits into God’s purpose for our lives. We recognize that we are stewards of the things we have in life and not owners so we look at all these things though that lens: Home ownership, Finances, Time, Possessions and Careers. When your priorities start right everything else begins to fall into place.
Fourth: Set goals and put dates to them. It is one thing to say, I want to start saving for emergency needs that arise. It is another thing to say “I am setting aside 100.00 a month to start an emergency fund. In sixth months from today I will have saved 600.00.” Pull out your calendar and put dates to your goals. Post reminders and set up people who will help you be accountable for those goals. We can all do more than we think we can but if we do not have a way to measure our progress we do not know how much we are accomplishing.
Time stealers are all around us: The TV, Internet, Social Media, over napping, just fill in the blank. Time management is important to breaking the lazy habit. Start a journal for one month. Keep track of the hours of your day and what you are doing. You will discover you have more time than you think.