Image by Jorge Gryntysz on Pixabay

How to Turn Lazy into Crazy Success

5 steps to hauling your butt off the couch

Karen Nimmo
Apr 9 · 4 min read

“Everyone needs to work. Even the lion cannot sleep expecting the deer to enter its mouth.” — Hitopadesha (Sanskrit fables, circa 1373)

“I’m lazy,” the young man said, “and it’s ruining my life.”

“I have big plans and dreams but I can’t get off my ass to do anything with them. I come home from my job dog-tired, have a beer and end up on the couch watching Netflix.

Was he lazy? Fatigued? Lacking motivation? Sucked dry by the demands of his boring job? Freaked out by the enormity of his dreams? Or just not fully invested in the things he told himself he wanted to do?

You choose. The answer matters less than that his failure to take action was eating up his life. Literally AND psychologically. His doing nothing had turned into worrying about doing nothing which made him feel worse. And, left unchecked, it could lead down a depressive path.

No-one Cares What You Do Except Your Mum

In a world which hails productivity as the good guy and procrastination as its evil twin, everyone worries they are Not Doing Enough — not making their own unique mark on the planet, not contributing to the Greater Good.

It’s futile thinking because no-one will care if you do nothing with your life. Well, your mother might, but only because she wants you to leave home eventually. No-one else will give a crap about your beer habit and your Netflix addiction. Some people (even your friends) might even be glad you chose to spend your life this way because it’ll make them look good.

So don’t let it happen. Instead, ease yourself off the couch and try this.

How to turn Lazy into Crazy Success

What do you MOST want to do? Experts advise us to quit thinking about fame or money or career success as the end game because it stifles creativity and makes everything feel too big and too hard. They tell us to think small and chip away at tiny little goals which will turn into big action.

It’s sound advice but it’s too boring to give us the ass-kick we need.

It’s hard to get excited about chasing a really little goal, even if it’s a worthy, doable one.

So the first step is to get yourself excited by Thinking Big. Start right at the top of the mountain because you can use it to your advantage.

Ask this:

What do I want to do really well? Then push it all the way out to the best possible ending you can see for it (and yourself).

Write a best-selling novel. Make a living from my art. Build an award-winning house. Make a life-changing app. Be a professional athlete. Star in a Broadway musical. Have a six-figure online business.

Then follow this five-step process:

1. Choose a (wickedly exciting) experiment.

Entrepreneur Tim Ferris popularised this concept because the idea of big, long-range goals weirded him out: he preferred to chase excitement over success. So choose an “experiment” (or one aspect of the thing you want to do well) Looking at it as an experiment releases the pressure valve because everyone knows experiments often fail. And if it does — no drama — you can pick another one.

2. Think short, not long.

Make sure your experiment is one you can complete fairly quickly (six months tops, but preferably much shorter.) If you’ve been struggling with motivation reel the deadline in tight— a day or a week or a month at most. The only rule is this: choose a period for which you can realistically keep your excitement levels up.

3. Ready, set, go (hard!)

Hit the go button. Rip into it: give no thought to quality or outcome. Create something bad or ugly or of no use at all. Make it quickly. Or do it poorly. But do it anyway. Stay in the excitement zone. Stick to your time frame and screech to a halt when you reach it.

4. Look back in wonder (or not).

Review what you’ve done. Don’t judge the quality of your work. Think about how you FELT while doing it. Ask if you’d like to feel more of it? Then ask if what you’ve done is something you could build on. If it is, create another experiment along similar lines. If not, choose something that takes you down another path, but still fits with your dream. (Note: you may eventually find you’ve been dreaming someone else’s dream and you need to make an entirely new one.)

5. Book in lazy time.

Reeeelax. Your life doesn’t have to be one big productivity reel. Boring if it is. So at the end of your experiment give yourself some time out or whatever your version of fun is. Better still, book it in before you start. Knowing it’s coming can help keep your super-charge up while you’re doing your work.


Sorry, but there’s no leave pass here. You do need to work. Work is one of the ways in which we find meaning in the world. But you don’t have to find it all through your job, especially if it’s not an inspiring one.

Instead, Dream. Experiment. Act. Or do whatever you want to do. Just don’t hand your whole life over to Netflix. Unless you work for Netflix. And even then…


Thanks for reading! Drop me a comment below or message me on Facebook, tweet me, or visit onthecouch.co.nz.

Join my email list here for hot tips, psychology tools and a free gift: Seeing Someone: a brief guide to psychology, therapy and coaching. Enjoy!

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

Karen Nimmo

Written by

Clinical psychologist, writer, still learning how to live. Author of Busy As F*ck: 10-on-the-couch sessions to diagnose & treat busy people everywhere.

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

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