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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)