In Praise of Laziness
By Hiranya on May 20, 2008
I am a big believer in figuring out the laziest way to do anything. Put another way, it means figuring out the "smartest, easiest most efficient way to do it”.
I mean seriously - why do you have to deliberately slow your minds down to do something in 10 steps when you can do it in 2. It takes talent to simplify things, whereas making things more difficult is easy.
With me, usually what happens is there is a period of extended procrastination because, after all, speed kills. And then suddenly, under pressure or duress (or some kind of threat to my life), my mind focuses. And it focuses sharply. Then I want to what I am doing as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Some people simply don't attach a value to hard work for the sake of hard work. They prefer being creative and figuring out how to do things quickly with the least amount of energy possible. This is probably the combination of impatience, the ability to act impulsively, and a willing to take disproportionately high risks. We love it. We get high on it.
That’s one reason people like me don’t do well in large, conservative bureaucratic organizations where they often have the mentality of “that’s the way we’ve always done it so it should be good enough for you”. A certain big Bank comes to mind.
My response to that is “that’s the way you’ve always done it, is because you weren’t:
A) smart enough
B) creative enough
C) or had enough initiative to come up with an easier and more effective way of doing it”
There's something arguably attractive about being busy. Busy is important. Busy is respected. There's also a stereotype that all smart people are busy. The ultimate place for busy bitching was B-School. Go anywhere, at any time of the day, it was full of busy future businesspeople busily competing with their busy friends about who is busier. I am sure in this respect it is no different from Law School or Med School. You know what busy really means? That you didn't get to go to b-school or college, so you're busy working three full-time jobs to support your family. Thats the real busy.
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