Is “Laziness” Real?

Here’s an interesting thought I came across recently—is “laziness” a real thing?

Are people inherently “lazy,” or do they just have unseen barriers? In my own personal experience, I’d actually say the second statement is more likely to be true.

When I was lazy, I was depressed. I know I seemed very low-functioning, but it was like wading through molasses to do *anything*—the very simplest things that ordinary people could do every day, I struggled with. The idea of taking a shower, for example, seemed exceedingly overwhelming—I’d have to take all of my clothes off and then put different clothes back on. I moved slowly and accomplished less.

This psychologist, teacher, and author argues that procrastinators are often paralyzed by anxiety and the fear of failure, and that students often miss class because of trauma or depression. In most cases of “laziness” there’s usually something else going on that you can’t see.

“If a person can’t get out of bed, something is making them exhausted. If a student isn’t writing papers, there’s some aspect of the assignment that they can’t do without help. If an employee misses deadlines constantly, something is making organization and deadline-meeting difficult. Even if a person is actively choosing to self-sabotage, there’s a reason for it — some fear they’re working through, some need not being met, a lack of self-esteem being expressed.”

I tend to agree. In my experience, most people want to do their best and want to be seen as capable. In most situations where I’ve seen a person consistently flailing, I’ve eventually learned there was something going on below the surface—be it mental illness, physical illness, stress, a difficult family situation, or any number of other unseen barriers. So, is “laziness” a thing, an inherent character trait? Or maybe it doesn’t exist?

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