With the holiday season once again upon us, many of us will take time in the coming weeks to reflect on those things which we are thankful for in our lives (and if you have not previously read our article on expressing gratitude, check it out here). While we may sometimes forget it, we truly do have much to be appreciative for. At the risk of sounding cliché, we are blessed to live not only where we do but also in the time that we do. Having studied history as my major in college (and as someone who continues to enjoy studying it), I am regularly reminded that life for much of human existence has been short, brutal, and uncertain. Even in 2018, a lack of access to clean water results in an estimated 1.6 million deaths each year worldwide. And yet if you are reading this post then chances are you have never once had to go without clean water, and your life outlook is likely positive. By and large, most of us should have absolutely nothing to complain or worry about.
Which coincidentally means that you are likely, to one degree or another, lazy.
If you have previously read our Catalyst Blog Post, you are familiar with the allegory of how the struggle that a caterpillar endures during its transformation is the catalyst for becoming a butterfly. Any attempt to circumvent or cheat this process ultimately weakens the butterfly’s final form. So be it with humans. Throughout life we endure challenges and struggles that shape and model us (emotionally, psychologically, and physically) into the person we ultimately become.
The problem in our modern, first-world culture, is that we often do not experience the depth of challenges and struggles that have shaped past generations. We laugh at the old adage of “back in my day we walked uphill both ways in the snow”, but there is a measure of truth to that statement. Our grandparents and even our parents often times had vastly different upbringings that we had, many filled with real struggles. Looking further back, when the great migration brought millions of immigrants through Ellis Island and into New York, they in many cases truly had nothing but the clothes on their back. They left behind countries where they were in some cases starving or facing persecution. In coming to America they fought to create better lives for themselves and their families. They struggled. And they benefited (emotionally and materially) from that struggle.
Most of us in today’s modern world will never* have to experience anything like what people in past generations experienced. And no, not having time to stop at Starbucks before work does not constitute a crisis. Not having time to watch the latest episode of [whatever you are watching right now] is not a tragedy. And having a different political opinion than your peer does not equate to the collapse of society.
*(Yes, there are many around us who do experience unimaginable pains and difficulties, and I am in no manner attempting to belittle those experiences. The argument here is that what many today consider to be challenges and difficulties are more accurately “inconveniences”).
To bring this argument to our title of “You’re Lazy” – the fact that we do enjoy the benefits of the modern world means that oftentimes our drive to achieve, do, and create can oftentimes suffer. Why pursue our own business when your day job is “good enough”? Why exercise when you can watch television? Why cook a healthy meal at home when you can order from the Dollar Menu? In today’s world, the “easy way” is easier than ever, and becomes even more so every day. Forget driving to Blockbuster; just stream from Netflix. Forget showing up in person to a business meeting; just Skype.
So what does this mean for chasing your dreams and goals? Nothing comes without hard work, and “hard” is not subjective. Thirty minutes at the gym won’t cut it. One prospect phone call for new business won’t cut it. You will have to put time and energy into your work if you want to achieve great things. The world owes you nothing, and you are entitled to nothing. Stop being lazy. Go do the work, and BE GRATEFUL that you have work to do.
In closing: “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul VI
Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is the co-owner of Appalachian Digital, a website development agency. He is also a Lead Systems Analyst with the Cleveland Clinic Healthcare System. You can contact Jeremiah at JClark390@gmail.com or connect with him on LinkedIn at Jeremiah Clark.