The lie of laziness is a belief system that says that hard work is morally superior to relaxation and that people who are not productive have less innate value than productive people. It is an unspoken but common set of beliefs and values. It affects the way we work, how we set limits in our relationships, and our attitudes about what life should be like.
There are three basic beliefs that drive society’s hatred of laziness:
Your value is your productivity.
This idea is problematic at a basic level also because, for example, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and people with depression cannot always be productive. These lives still have an innate value. And if you think hard work and a lot of it is the way to gain the right to be alive, you will always take more than is healthy for you. When we struggle or are not productive, the idea that our productivity is related to our value makes us easier to exploit.
You can’t trust your own feelings or limitations.
Since productivity is the most important thing, you should ignore or downplay everything that stands in its way: If I feel tired in the middle of the day, I fight over it or tell myself I’m tired doesn’t make sense. I haven’t earned a break yet because I haven’t done enough work. This is a risky thought process because it leads us to a distorted sense of these signals. We don’t believe in feelings of need to stop working because we assume they make us a bad person. This can damage our health, because when people do not have enough breaks, there is an increased risk of burns.
There is always something else you could do.
This is especially dangerous because it comes down to much more than the work itself. There are many areas of life that we can feel guilty about or in which we can feel like we are not sufficient.