lazy equals poor

lazydog If you are lazy (and not the spawn of a billionaire or a winner of the lottery) you will be poor. The implications of this statement are significant, but let’s step back and think about what “lazy” and “poor” mean – and keep in mind that when someone like Lazy Man talks about being lazy, he’s not REALLY talking about inaction. He’s talking about being productive now so that he can be lazy later.

Lazy: only one dictionary definition is really relevant here: “averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.” I didn’t consider the use of the word (a “lazy afternoon”) meaning “to CAUSE laziness.” Laziness is easily defined as being averse to exertion. Straightforward.

Poor, however, presents a few more problems. Using dictionary.com I came up with a long list of meanings. I struck a few meanings (poor as a legal term, a description of quantity – a poor helping of peas – or describing a class of people – your poor, your huddled masses). Here are the definitions that remain.

  1. having little or no money, goods, or other means of support: a poor family living on welfare. This meaning is obvious. If you are lazy, the accumulation of money or goods becomes more difficult. You may become lazy after you feel you have accumulated enough (i.e. retiring) but to get to that point some effort was expended.
  2. deficient in desirable ingredients, qualities, or the like: poor soil. Being lazy means you will lack ‘desirable qualities.’ People may assume that the presence of information today implies that people today are smarter or more well-educated than our ancestors. We do, of course, know that human flight is possible since we were born in the age of the Wright brothers. Ben Franklin might have hoped or believed it to be possible, but he did not KNOW it was. However, just because we know flight is possible does not grant us any additional intelligence. I could not build a flying machine from my own knowledge. I can’t even make a fire without a match. Being lazy means learning things. Ben Franklin didn’t sit around watching TV. He learned multiple languages, wrote books, debated politics, and on and on. We may have access to more information than earlier generations, but it takes a lack of laziness to achieve something with that access.
  3. of an inferior, inadequate, or unsatisfactory kind: poor health. Laziness in the form of a lack of exercise or indulgence in bad foods will make you poor. Increased medical bills, lost productivity in other areas of your life and even a worse career due to your appearance (sad but true) can all result from this type of laziness.
  4. lacking in skill, ability, or training: a poor cook. Skill, ability and training – all require that you not be averse to exertion. I don’t know a single skill or ability that can be downloaded directly into your brain without effort – not one. We are not in the Matrix. You have to exert yourself to increase your skills and abilities. Laziness prevents you from becoming a better person.
  5. deficient in moral excellence; cowardly, abject, or mean. Being lazy can make you a bad person. Energetic people get out there and do things. It doesn’t take much effort to watch the news. It takes a lot of effort to get out there and do it.
  6. unfortunate; hapless: The poor dog was limping. Laziness will make you unfortunate. Too lazy to update the will? Too lazy to make sure your health insurance is up-to-date? Couldn’t stir yourself to send that tax payment to the IRS? Didn’t feel like updating your job skills? You may think that the result is just due to bad luck, but bad luck is often just the result of laziness.

Note that I am not saying poor people are lazy. Being poor can result from environment, health and even – despite what I just said – pure bad luck. The two concepts overlap in one of those classic “bad logic” statements: All bananas are yellow; a taxi is yellow, therefore a taxi is a banana. All lazy people are poor. Not all poor people are lazy.

So right now you should be asking yourself – are you lazy? Do you think a financially independent person comes home from work, puts his (or her) feet up on the couch and turns on reruns of Family Matters? No – to succeed in this life, financially or otherwise, you have to keep moving. I am lazy all the time, but it’s something I know I need to change. Now drop and give me 40.

(photo by VolaVale)

20 comments

  • Here is something I need more work on. Every now and then I get caught in a rut where I’m less productive than I should be. TV is such a devious little drug! I’m working on it though.

  • Family Matters? Wow, someone would have to be really lazy to watch that. TV is a very powerful magnet for sucking people into laziness, but we need to establish more productive habits unless we want to be poor.

  • What about reading fiction books and browsing internet? Is it among TV viewing and considered being lazy?

  • I’m not lazy by nature, but I can be lazy when it comes to redeeming my rebates. It’s throwing away money. Thanks for the post.

  • Good post

    As the bible says- nothing comes to a lazy man

    I lazy in the way of I do not like psysical work, I like to use my mind. I work smart most of the time, not hard

  • Nice post. One thing that “lazy” programmers (like Lazy Man) are generally not lazy with is optimization and efficiency. Good programmers spend a lot of time thinking about how to be more efficient at what they do. I recently saw this in action where a colleague spent 15 minutes trying to extract some data from a file by writing a program in a familiar language. If he had known awk, perl, or a similar language, he could have done the job in 30 seconds. Of course what often happens at high efficiency is that the amount of available work does not expand proportionally. Thus a lot of time will be spent simply waiting for work to come in the door. This is particularly bad in jobs where you’re only supposed to do one thing. Being underutilized is almost as stressful as being overutilized.

  • Ha. #2 on my list of management rules (handed down from higher up) is “Be lazy – it makes it easier to delegate”. 🙂

  • I suppose it depends on what you’re lazy about (spending, for example isn’t always a bad place to be lazy…unless it’s for an oil change).

    I like your point that lots of lazy things can make you poor, but being poor doesn’t mean you were lazy. It’s such an important distinction that few people see.

    How are those Buffy reruns coming? 😉

  • A lazy man is a poor man….well said.

    I go into a state of rest, just like Newton has said in his Law, unless some energy is applied to get me off. This energy is created by my list of things to do.

    Reading the blogs have also made my mind much more active in seeking better things, be it spending less or making more.

    Thanks for highlighting the impact of Newton’s Law on our well being.

  • @ERE: Great line: “Being underutilized is almost as stressful as being overutilized.” I know that feeling – I feel terribly underutilized daily in my consulting role, and it’s terribly, terribly stressful – in a sense even worse than when I was working as a corporate employee. I guess the only redeeming point is that my days are shorter!

    @Bubelah: Yep. When I’m just idly reading junk about the presidential campaign, or playing miniclips, the internet is definitely being lazy – I’m turning my brain off. It’s my TV, in a sense. Reading fiction, I don’t know – in a sense, if I want to develop as a writer I think there’s some value in reading good writing. Some of the stuff I read is helpful – “The Red and the Black” by Stendahl was amazing and gave me a LOT to think about in my own writing, for example.

    @Mrs. Micah: Speaking of LAZY, I have not yet dragged out the Buffy tapes but they are sitting there in my storage room calling – “watch me, watch me.” Buffy was the single biggest time waster of my recent adult life – I was hooked on that show. I left work early to make sure I didn’t miss it. I have a problem….

  • I used to be lazy and it got me nowhere. Now I just choose to make my laziness here in PF blogs, where I can veg out and learn something too! I don’t leave space in my schedule to be lazy, and it works out for me.

    It’s funny, there’s a guy at work that’s obsessed with Buffy, too. You guys should talk. He watched Buffy for 14 hours on a flight to Japan….argh.

  • @Brooke: I actually don’t think time spent reading PF blogs is “lazy time”! You’re learning something, most of the time, and I would say anytime you’re learning something you’re not being lazy.

    14 hours might be a bit much for me. Might. Oh, OK, I could do it too. I’m not proud of it… but it combined vampires and kung fu. It was perfect!!

  • while I agree with you, somewhere along the way I got confused!!! 😀

  • I think one of your goals should be to get back to watching Buffy. It’s by far my favorite show of all time. If anyone gives you any guff, simply say that you are watching it to improve your writing. Few stories have been written as well.

  • “All lazy people are poor. Not all poor people are lazy” — good clarification there.

  • @LOD: What? Where? Huh?

    @Lazy Man: To get back to watching it, all I have to do is load a VHS tape (yes, I own Buffy on VHS). I couldn’t agree more.

    @Pinyo: Thanks. It’s an important distinction not to insult anyone…

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  • onomake philip

    am a young guy of 25,how can i avoid poverty in the nearest future.what are the things that makes a man to be poor financially?

  • Ugh… 100% true.

  • Ugh… 100% true.