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Ask Polly: 'Why Am I So Lazy?'

https://www.thecut.com/2018/01/ask-polly-why-am-i-so-lazy.html

thecut.com

Ask Polly: 'Why Am I So Lazy?'
Get Ask Polly delivered weekly. Dear Polly, Why am I so lazy? As long as I can remember, I've always done as little as possible to still get the job done, to still get the A, to get the extra credit and be the teacher's pet.

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Feeling lazy

Feeling lazy

Some people do the least to get just enough benefit. They can work hard, but only for a short amount of time. They always procrastinate with everything from cleaning to their job.

Doing the bare minimum at the last minute isn't lazy. It is a choice.

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You form your identity

You make messiness and procrastination part of your identity when you don't want to do something you have to do and use the excuse that it is just "who you are." 

For example, you want to clean up after yourself, but you also don’t want to clean up, and then think, "This is me. Yes, I’m a lazy, procrastinating mess.” 

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Conflicted about your choices

As long as you're conflicted about your preferences and the ways you've chosen to identify yourself, you have a problem.

It could be that you don't want to disappoint yourself and clearing the lowest hurdles possible. You are choosing a lifestyle of avoidance and low expectations.

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The stories we tell about ourselves

The stories we tell about ourselves

Don't use other people's wrong observations as your own personal guide. “She hates to read!” “He’s lazy!” “She’s bad at math!”

Figure out who you are without falling back on everyone else's idea of who you are supposed to be.

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You aren’t lazy - you're afraid

  • You're afraid of investing your full self in anything, only to be disappointed. 
  • You're afraid to show your heart.
  • You're afraid to change your habits.
  • You're afraid to be locked in by an over-demanding schedule.

List everything you think you are afraid of and reexamine it. You have to dare to see that these things you think you are, aren't actually that profound or rooted in anything you care about.

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Choosing who you are

Choosing who you are

What do you value? Look outside of the limited confines of other people's narratives about you. You might not be an introvert or a slacker. Maybe you're someone who wants to live out loud and avoid the little tasks that make up a life. Don't look at your past failures to answer the question. What do you want to become?

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Overcoming inner conflicts

You're conflicted because your current habits are contrary to your story. Try to find out who you are:
  • Dig deep to find out your fears and face them
  • Experiment with schedules
  • Try on different behaviors
  • Get very organized
  • Try vigorous exercise.
  • Try leaving the house more
  • Try writing your feeling down
  • Notice what makes you feel anxious
  • Notice your feelings
  • Be honest.

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The start of a whole new life

You'll dislike the hard work at first because you'll tell yourself you dislike hard work. What you're feeling is not dislike. It's fear. Fear of failure. You're afraid to disappoint.

Clear your future of bad messages and dumb stories. You're not a sloth. You're ready to move forward. What happens next is entirely your choice.

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The #1 skill to overcome procrastination

Facing a task, experiencing the uncomfortable emotions associated with it and doing the task despite those  emotions.

Procrastination is an emotion management problem

Happens when we feel uncomfortable (anxiety, overwhelm ) toward a task. We want to do it, but end up doing something else that feels better.  We run away from our negative thoughts and emotions.

Our mind is a reason-giving machine

It rationalizes the shit out of anything that’s just a little bit uncomfortable and create excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something now. Those excuses are irrational, but sound superficially reasonable.