You Aren’t Lazy, You’re Disinterested

The self-help gurus in white with their angel wings don’t tell you what I’m going to explain.

Tim Denning
Mar 10 · 6 min read
Photo by Evan Link on Unsplash

I’m a polar bear when it comes to doing laundry.

I’ll lounge around for hours and not do it, while wrapped in a furry white blanket of comfort that lives on my couch by the tv remote with the taboo word “Netflix” on it. I don’t have Netflix, though. My remote control still has the word printed on it in the hope I’ll cave and take up couch life. But I have better things to do. Unavoidable things that suck me into their vortex.

My partner thinks my disgust for laundry makes me lazy at times. On the surface, I believed this to be true. The other day I was scrolling through LinkedIn, and a Gary-Freaking-Vee quote of all things left me speechless.

These words exploded in my brain. I feel like this advice from Gary explains laziness perfectly.

It’s incredibly hard to do something you hate.

Laziness is the perfect distraction. It’s easier to sit on your butt and do nothing than it is to go and do something you’re disinterested in.

Do you know the biggest source of disinterest? Everyday jobs.

There are so many people who freaking hate their job. Sometimes you wonder whether a person would rather be dead than continue doing their job. They have a pulse, but their job sucked the life out of them years ago. Now they resort to sending emails to create change, and even that burns them out.

They struggle with Monday Motivation because they’re disinterested in their job. That’s no way to live. Doing work you literally hate is a pain in the backside. And guess what? This is a message to myself just as much as it is a message for you. I don’t pretend to be some mythical productivity guru.

What I’ve accidentally been doing without realizing it, is tipping the scales towards interest, and away from disinterest.

Let me give you a practical example. This week a man messaged me. He’s based in Afghanistan. He started telling me his story. I got completely lost in it. I wasted hours of time. I convinced him to send me photos of Afghanistan. The interest I had in his story is almost impossible to explain. I had dreams of his hometown after we spoke. That’s interest. That’s what your interests can do to you. Here’s what else I noticed.

Time disappears into a vacuum when you are genuinely interested.

That’s right, your perception of time changes. Call it a flow state. Call it runner’s high. Call it higher states of consciousness. Or call it something everybody can relate to: being interested.

Why not be so interested in something that your perception of time changes?

What if the speed of your life is going faster than it needs to because you’re getting stuck in disinterest rather than interest? What if you could change how you perceive time just by being interested? Well, you can.

Laziness is a compass toward what you want.

When I become lazy, it acts like a compass. Laziness has guided my career. When it’s time to leave a job and move on, laziness is my tour guide.

I notice I have longer and more frequent coffee catch-ups that could have been an email. I find myself talking for 30–60 minutes with a colleague about something totally unrelated to work. I notice it takes me time to start work each day. I have to get into the mood. I have to read another blog post. I have to reply to another social media message. I have to check the news to ensure I don’t become another statistic of a deadly virus. I have to ring a family member to check they are safe, when I already know they are. I have to move money around to feel as though I’m being financially responsible and living up to the perfect personal finance life label I’ve been given.

Outside of my career, writing has become a guide. I can always write. I can turn on the ability to write without too much effort. The times I get lazy are when I’m dealing with the nonsense of corporate life because, perhaps, I’ve outgrown a revenue-focused life.

Laziness isn’t a problem. Laziness is telling you what to pay attention to and what to consider moving on from.

Spend money to remove disinterest.

Money can help remove disinterest. You can come up with a per hour dollar-figure on your time. You can use this dollar-figure to decide which tasks you want to outsource, and which ones you want to keep doing.

Now, I realize many people reading this are not the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with excess cash to light on fire. I realize the outsourced life written about in “The 4-Hour Workweek” isn’t a reality right now for many people. But there’s always something small you can outsource.

If you can’t pay to remove disinterest you can always cut off it’s ugly head. You can decide to stop doing a lot of what makes you disinterested. When you do, you can buy back your time.

The idea of laziness destroys your self-esteem.

The idea of laziness makes you feel terrible about yourself. This feeling hacks away at your self-esteem. You start shaming way of life and thinking you’ve lost your magic juju.

You think you’ve become a hermit crab and it’s all your fault. You start becoming guilty every time you turn on Netflix.

The worst part: you feel guilty for relaxing.

You shouldn’t feel guilty for relaxing. You’re doing the best you can. Life is bloody hard. You got me? You don’t need to terrorize yourself. The answer is to divert more time toward finding the things you are interested in, then doing them.

‘Interests’ don’t land on your lap.

Wait, what?

Quick fixes are mostly B.S.

Finding what you’re interested in takes time. That’s why experiments in life are so important. That’s why my retirement dream is to give up working for money, change work frequently, and job-hop like a mofo with no pants on. It could even be cool to get a Sponge Bob tattoo. You feel me?

It can take years to find out what you’re interested in.

Your interests can be obscure, too. For example, one of my interests is conversations. I like having whacky conversations with people I’d never normally gravitate towards. This bizarre interest led me to interview a group of church folks to understand what a higher power looked and felt like to them.

Interests are often thought of as sport, music, writing, creating content, gaming — but what if there is another layer to interests? What if sitting at bus stops all over the world is an interest? What if checking out every dog park is an interest? What if staring at rock formations is an interest?

What if the concept of an interest isn’t so grandiose and won’t win you an Oscar, Grammy or enough cash to buy a Lambo? Well, if interests were not so big, you might find what you’re interested in much faster.

And when you find what you’re interested in, the trick is never to let it go. Embrace a healthy kind of stubbornness with finding your interests.

There will be periods of laziness. Sorry.

Okay, this all sounds great. You’re pumped. You’re ready to become interested again. You’re ready to be a lot more interested in things you passed off as ridiculous or not worthy of such a label.

There’s still a problem. The self-help gurus in white with their angel wings don’t tell you this one. There will be periods of laziness no matter what.

A loved one will die. You won’t know it’s coming. Try to be interested then about anything. You’ll struggle. You’re supposed to be lazy when tragedy slaps you in the face.

Laziness can simply be your brain coping with some deep stuff.

Stop beating yourself up.

You are not lazy.
You don’t need motivation.
You’re not broken.
You don’t need a pump-up.

You need to find the thing(s) you are genuinely interested in. When you do, you will be pulled in their direction. I am an interested writer who will give up entire chunks of my life to do it. You can do the same with what interests you.

There’s no need to be harsh on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Rather than feel like you’re lazy, focus on what you can be interested in. When you love what you do, it’s extremely hard to be lazy. Your interests are just far too interesting to stay away from. The best time management advice comes from one of the most loved/hated influencers on the internet — Gary Vee.

Be interested to create automated motivation.

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Tim Denning

Written by

Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship — timdenning.com/wc

The Ascent

The Ascent is a community of storytellers documenting the journey to a happier and healthier way of living. Join thousands of others making the climb on one of the top publications on Medium.

Tim Denning

Written by

Aussie Blogger with 100M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship — timdenning.com/wc

The Ascent

The Ascent is a community of storytellers documenting the journey to a happier and healthier way of living. Join thousands of others making the climb on one of the top publications on Medium.

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