It might sound like the plot of a political thriller, but perseverance has enemies—enemies that are lurking inside you. Here’s the good news: enemies of perseverance can be overcome by many qualities. The bad news? You can’t fight an enemy you don’t know exists.
Before you can rally your virtues to fight these foes, you need to get better acquainted with them. Today, in part one of this three-part series, we’re going to take a look at the first enemy: laziness.
Laziness really boils down to a hatred of effort. That doesn’t mean it forbids all success—because laziness will happily allow us to gain a hollow sense of accomplishment by succeeding in easy tasks, the kinds of things that don’t require concentration, focus or continuous work.
The thing is, those enterprises that require only a minimum of effort and a minimum of complex thought are almost always second-rate activities. They’re so easy that anyone can do them, which makes them nothing to be proud of.
People who are attracted to these false accomplishments are drawn to them because they’re free from serious difficulty or challenge. Should competition heat up while attempting to reach them, the lazy won’t hesitate to abandon them. Otherwise, they’d be forced to exert those qualities of action and perseverance to get ahead of the crowd, and their laziness prevents them from doing so.
We’ve probably all been guilty of laziness at some point or another. Like that Saturday afternoon you spent on the couch watching television instead of pulling weeds, or that day you meant to clean up, run errands and mail your bills but instead ended up at the mall, meandering aimlessly and exercising your wallet.
It’s perfectly reasonable to use laziness as a calculated reward after periods of activity, just as it’s healthy to take a physical break occasionally and rest your body. But it’s unacceptable to allow laziness to stand between you and the process of making goals that require effort.