Intelligent Lazy: Made For The Highest Command
I think the best way to explain this concept is by telling you how I became passionate about it.
A few years ago I was replacing my professor (Dariusz Tarczynski, PsyD) on one of the seminars he couldn’t attend. The original title was “Intelligent Laziness – how to defeat mental barriers in business.” The purpose was to shed light on mental blockages and share advice on how to deal with them.
As much as Intelligent Laziness seems to mix contradictory ideas, I liked its controversy because you might ask; how can laziness be any good? Especially nowadays when everybody is fighting laziness, procrastination and bad habits. So, I decided to take a closer look.
I changed the tagline as defeat implies that you have to fight in the first place. Why would you want to get wounds and scars and still be unsure of the outcome?
Besides, the very nature of mental barriers is illusory: they have no existential relevance. They have power over you as long as you believe they are true. That’s why I’ve replaced defeating with understanding as this is all you need to dissolve any mental barriers you have.
The “Intelligent Laziness – how to understand mental barriers in business” seminar was a success. I helped the audience to realize that we ourselves are the source of our psychological limitations.
Unfortunately, in opposition to many anti-laziness, change your habits and fight procrastination preachers I won’t give you tips for such a realization.
Having said that, I’ll give you some guidance and most of my articles will serve as signposts for the realization of your untapped potential. Still, discovery has to be yours and the answer will come from within.
Some of the ideas I share will sound familiar while others might sound controversial. The only thing I’ll ask of you is to keep your mind open and digest what you’re about to read.
After the seminar, I decided to go online to see what I can find about Intelligent and Lazy. There were quite a lot of articles and discussions on the subject along with studies proving the relation between intelligence and laziness.
The only thing I haven’t found was a dedicated website…
According to General von Manstein, people are either intelligent or stupid and hard-working or lazy. Set these qualities in the diagram and you’ll have the following 4 categories people fall into:
Each category of people expresses a different approach to life and the way they choose to act.
What is Intelligence?
According to dictionaries intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills: when you know better, you do better. However, very few have realized basic consequences of this.
The fundamental difference between stupidity and intelligence is not how much we know but how we can apply what we know.
A noble professor was on his way home when his car broke down. Despite his vast knowledge and faculty he simply didn’t know what had gone wrong; he felt helpless. Lucky enough, driving past was a young car mechanic who just started his practice in the local garage. He fixed the car in no time and the professor could continue his journey home. Who was more intelligent in that situation?
That’s how intelligence works when applied in specific circumstances. Yet another aspect of intelligence is more profound and it’s relevant to all of us.
We know that our days on this planet and in this body are limited. Matter of fact, every day we have one day less to live. So why suffer?
How many people wake up every morning not looking forward to their days? They can go on like this for years without even trying to reflect. Tell me, is this intelligence or stupidity?
Steve Jobs approach the first part of the above statement with an interesting technique. Every day in the morning look into the mirror and ask yourself a question; If that was the last day of my life, would I be doing what I’m about to do? If you answer no too many days in the row, it means the time for a change has come.
When you look for the answer you will start doing what’s really important to you and you will stop wasting your life on meaningless activities.
It’s not about throwing a party every single day like there was no tomorrow. It’s about doing what you enjoy or making what you currently do enjoyable. That’s what Intelligent Lazy is about.
Paradoxically, you’re going to live forever is also true.
I know, your life situation will perish; your house, car, career, savings, clothes, your personality and your body as well. All of that is part of the physical world and due to its limited nature, it has a use by date.
And to a meeting with death, you have to go alone and naked and with no beloved ones, neither your social status nor the wealth you gathered can save you.
But your legacy will continue to live in all the people you’ve met and influenced. Furthermore, your creations will stay i.e. articles you’ve written, videos you’ve recorded or trees that you’ve planted.
This paradoxical approach to life will let you think broadly and act strategically with a smile on your face. So when your time will come you‘ll have no regrets in regards to what you haven’t done and accomplished.
You can’t experience the time directly; you can’t see it, touch it, smell it or feel it. However, you can recognise its effects by counting the numbers of the grey hair on your head and wrinkles on your face. Or by observing your children outgrowing their clothes.
Time, however, has primarily practical applications and that is the bright side.You can make an appointment and plan a trip or make sure that two different events won’t happen simultaneously.
It’s also very important when orchestrating actions of your team. Can you recall a scene from the movies where special forces gather before the action to synchronize their watches?
Time has also psychological implications and that is the dark side. Your personality is based on the past: what your ancestors have accomplished and committed became a part of your national identity.
The way you’ve been brought up and the quality of interactions with the environment determine your identity as an individual. So the past holds the key to who you are now, but only with your permission.
The future isn’t here yet but it has a tremendous power over your state of mind and well-being. You have goals and expectations and you aim to be happy, one day.
But first, this and that has to happen otherwise you’ll be dissatisfied and miserable. The future holds the key to your happiness but again, only with your permission.
Realizing both, the illusionary side and the practical applications of time will set you free from the limitations of your personality and the promises of tomorrow. These factors distort your assessing ability leading to poor judgements.
As Intelligent and Lazy you want to make good decisions the first time so you won’t have to fix it later. Therefore, clarity should be your priority.
Being Before Acting
To gain the clarity you need to know that without you being here all your actions wouldn’t be possible. So indefinitely being comes before action and consequently, it’s more important.
Start from taking responsibility for your current state of being. You need to realize this is entirely inside job.
There are two types of suffering on this planet; physical and mental. As long as you don’t live in a war zone or extremely brutal environment you experience physical suffering very rarely.
On the other side, mental suffering takes various forms and often leads to physical suffering; self-harm or even suicide. The problem is serious and one of my friends is doing tremendously well, raising awareness about mental health. Go to his blog if you want to find out more.
Identifying the problem and raising awareness is the step in the right direction. Eliminating it should be next for all intelligent beings, yet most of the people are just too busy. Unless the suffering gets to the point when you just can no longer operate in the external world.
That’s neither Intelligent nor Lazy.
It’s like with a wardrobe; you opened it and reached for a shirt but didn’t close it. In the back of your head you know that is still opened and it has become yet another process that you subconsciously carry.
That consumes your mental resources and most of all, it will become a part of your personality. Not the wardrobe: the process you failed to close.
All I’m saying is when you’ve diagnosed the issue you should act upon it immediately. And act until it’s dissolved. That is the Intelligent and Hard-working level.
Intelligent and Lazy cultivates the well-being so the states like above never occur.
For most of us, it’s too late. You probably have some sort of mental disorder no matter how mild it is. I consider the inner dialogue, the chatter in the skull or overthinking as such.
But once you get yourself out of it, the well-being has to be preserved with diligence in order to maintain the Intelligent Lazy status.
Compulsively or Consciously, You Act Either Way
The New York-based photographer, Peter Funch, took pictures of people on the corner of the street. Over a certain period of time – 9 years in some cases – he captured the very same individuals and guess what? Their clothes, facial expressions and habits remained relatively the same.
All of the people seem to be lost in thoughts, consumed by the activity of the brain. Some are suffering. They are completely unaware of the surroundings, or aware enough not to bump into something. That’s about it.
This is how more than 90% of people go through their lives and I can only hope you aren’t one of them. But if you are, it’s time to reflect.
First of all, anything that you do is an act; thoughts, emotions, breathing and speaking, managing and leading. And whatever you do, you can do it either compulsively or consciously.
If you do it compulsively there are multiple consequences and I shall write a piece about it one day. If you do it consciously, you will be able to expand without suffering.
The expansion, growth or development is part of human nature and has two basic dimensions; internal and external. Once you have made the decision to end the suffering within yourself – that’s the internal dimension – it’s the time to act.
You need to start by setting yourself a goal with clearly defined boundaries – that’s the external dimension – as only then you will be able to make a project out of it.
There are many different goal setting formulas but the most important to know is that not everyone has to become an achiever. Who knows, maybe you are the lucky one that doesn't have to?
But if you do, make sure the extent you’re about to expand to suits your needs. The point is not to go on shopping sprees in the latest flashy car just because it looks nice in the magazines. What is YOUR definition of fulfilment?
Once you got that sorted and your goal has physical boundaries it’s the time to do a checklist. Because if you’re about to climb Mount-Everest you simply won’t be able to make it in flip-flops.
Do you have the knowledge, skills and equipment? What will you have to learn, what skills will you need to gain, and what gear will you need to acquire to make your dream come true?
Intelligent and Lazy vs Intelligent and Hard-Working
I hope I managed to establish what intelligence is and how important it is to live consciously. I’ll write about the hard-working in a separate article as this subject deserves to be addressed in more depth.
The steamer and the sailing ship left the harbour for a cruise to a dream destination. Both with the similar speed capacity, durability and resources. They will reach their destination but how and in what state they’ll arrive will be different.
The steamer doesn’t stop and its engines demand a constant dose of fuel. He’s working hard, sweating badly, pushing relentlessly. He will sail despite the weather conditions, against the currents, eating the distance patiently, mile by mile.
Finally, the steamer arrives at the dream destination and it is truly a dream: the sky is blue, water is clear and the sands are soft. The only thing that is far away from a dream state is the steamer itself: after the great effort, it’s simply exhausted.
He neither has the will nor the energy to enjoy the beautiful circumstances. Instead, he needs a service and rest, and maybe even repair.
In comparison with the steamer, the sailing ship uses the wind and the currents to keep himself moving. When the wind is strong and weather conditions are favourable he puts all his masts up to capture the opportunity: he glides effortlessly on the surface of the water.
Since there’s only initial effort required, the sailing ship can enjoy the most of the voyage and watch the sun as it travels through the sky.
The sailing ship is able to sail upwind if needed. It will slow down of course, and sometimes he folds the sails and drifts for a while.
When it finally arrives at the dream destination it's fresh and ready to enjoy the blue sky, the clear water and the soft sands.
Both Intelligent Lazy and Hard-Working types want to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential, there’s no doubt about it. The Hard-Working one has the capability to achieve his goals faster but at the greater expense.
The Intelligent and Lazy, in contrast, will seek the easiest way instead, as his well-being and pleasantness are the basic. At the end of the day, why do we aim for dream destinations in the first place?
Accept Uncertainty: I Don't Know
The truth is that you can‘t be sure whether you are going to make it to your destination. There can be adversities you’ll have to face; the wind will stop blowing or the engine will blow up.
But I know for a fact that if you believe in something then you increase the odds of making it happen. For example, if you believe that your journey has to be hard before it will become easy, you are increasing the odds of making it so.
If you believe that you will sail smoothly all the way; you also increase the odds. Whatever you believe, you create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But there is a problem with belief.
Doubts, peradventure and hesitation will always sit at the other end of the stick. They will creep in from time to time to haunt the mind in vulnerable moments. You’ll also have to keep fuelling your faith in order to sustain it and spend more energy pushing away unwanted thoughts.
My advice is simple; stop bullshitting yourself.
I Don't Know
I don’t know – these are the most powerful words you can say. And that’s what you actually say when you believe or disbelief something. So just be honest with yourself and admit it – you just don’t know.
When you realize this simple truth, the longing for knowing will appear. Faith can give you some assurance of course, but can only set you free when it’s confirmed by your own experiences. And that becomes knowing.
Not being sure of the outcome and dropping all beliefs will do some good. First and foremost, you will keep your mind open and alert: you will be far more receptive to knowledge and learning.
Secondly, accepting uncertainty as a natural part of life will set you free from expectations, therefore, will set you free from anxiety.
Choose Certainty: I Know
The one thing you have to know is that you have to know what is your one thing. All I mean by that is you need to make a decision about what is it that you want to do. What is your dream destination?
When you decide, there will be only one way and you should not change your course until you reach it. I’m not saying you need to be patient: I’m saying you need to stay focused.
And to stay focused you need to decide what’s right for you. Not for your mother nor your children nor your neighbour…just for you.
If you decide wrong, you will have a little motivation – no wind for your sails – and you will be prone to change your direction. You’ll get nowhere.
Furthermore, all the adversities that will come up your way will seem bigger and meaner than they really are. So if you feel unmotivated and are constantly looking for new opportunities, that means your goals are not truly yours.
There’s a difference in how Intelligent and Lazy handle adversities in comparison with Hard-Woking. By adversities, I understand both internal forces like emotions, urges, tiredness and external ones like competition, economic growth or unforeseen circumstances.
When any kind of distress appears the Hard-Working type will directly face it. He’s like karate master who can dodge, block or take punches and then fires back relentlessly. All in the state of contraction.
Intelligent and Lazy, in contrast, will behave more like an aikido master. She will avoid punches but grab her opponent and use his energy against him. That’s how you achieve the desired outcome with the least energy spent.
Intelligent Lazy is Your Choice
Reading through this article you have probably found some pieces resonating with you, while others didn’t. You know by now whether you’re Intelligent Hard-Working or Intelligent Lazy.
However, these are just indicators and by any means shouldn’t be treated as definitive.
No matter which type you are, most likely you’re switching between one and another. The point is, to make yourself aware of the switch and be able to choose consciously.
Because if you won't, you’ll be like the characters from Peter Funch pictures. The only difference is that it won’t gain you any publicity. Unless you get wealthy and will have to smile to the camera on demand.
This cornerstone article is just the beginning and it doesn’t make the subject expelled. In the next articles, I shall explain how all of the above shines through Communication and Leadership.
Please leave your comments, especially when you dislike or disagree with something, as the concept of Intelligent Lazy isn’t mine and as such can be modified, expanded and improved.
I am inviting you to actively participate and become a co-creator of the Intelligent Lazy blog.
Thanks for reading and have a pleasant journey!
You are just a temporary expression so become aware of that and choose consciously what kind of expression you want to be.