Temporal Selfishness - Selfishness may be part of the underlying cause of sloth. For example, if a person is selfish, then, once their personal needs have been met, they may decide that they do not want to expend any further energy to help to meet the needs of others in the community. But, how about the concept of selfishness as it applies to the individual themselves, but at different periods in their own life? For example, imagine a selfish college freshman who does not want to spend time studying because they know that they wont have to enter the work-force for another 4 years? The thinking might go like this: ”Me in 2011 does not feel the pain (or joy) of ‘Me in 2015′ – so, I think that I am just going to take care of ‘Me in 2011′ now, and let that 2015 person handle things himself when his turn comes …” This may be a powerful idea. It might also be a type of schizophrenia since there is a sense in which the individual views himself as two separate people.
How Much Help is Enough? - “The eyes of man are never full.” (Solomon) ”Scarborough Fair” is a song that discusses a lost and embittered love. The singer lists a series of impossible conditions that his “true-love” must full-fill in order to regain the romantic connection. The point is that the singer does not really want to regain the romantic connection, regardless of any proof of love that could be provided to him. The list of impossible conditions insulates the singer from coming to terms with the fact that he has already decided to sabotage the relationship, regardless of his former sweet-heart’s display of sincerity. Could there be a similar dynamic in the minds of some career seekers? For example, some people excuse their lack of job-search by pointing out that they do not have a computer + high-speed modem in their own home. Prior to 2000, most people did not have access to computers in their homes, so what was the excuse then? Perhaps that their local library did not have computers and modems? Prior to 1990, most libraries did not have computers, so what was their excuse then?
The point is that, for a person who is not really eager to accomplish a task, it becomes very easy for them to invent impossible obstacles that prevent them from ever getting started on the task.
Benjamin Franklin said: ”A man who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” Public libraries are available in nearly every community in the USA. These libraries contain books that explain in minute detail, exactly the skills that a person would need to know in order to be able to perform many different types of work. For people who do not know how to read, there are books that will teach you that, too! And for a completely illiterate person, it is very likely that the librarian or other community volunteer would be willing to teach you the basics of how to read and how to use a dictionary. 120 years ago, libraries were not nearly as widely available. In many cases, they were not free, either. But now they are both widely available and free. So what is your excuse, now? How much help is enough help? (This also ties in with the ideas behind the article stub for “Knowledge and Anti-Knowledge” below.)
Structured Procrastination - For more details see: http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/
My Life’s Mission - People who have a “mission” that is greater than their own life tend to be more productive (or at least more goal oriented.) Clients need to be encouraged to answer the question: ”What is my mission in life?” For a person who is very religious, the mission normally revolves around their idea of what God’s will is for their life. While there are notable examples in which people seem to be mistaken about the will of God, at least we can agree that religiously-centered people tend to be do-ers. In any case, by being a do-er, a person avoids being a non-do-er (which pretty much sums up one definition of laziness.) Presumably, when God’s will is correctly understood, the “doing” involves something worthwhile. In summary, by taking some time to decide on my mission in life, it will, presumably help me to avoid laziness. In a way this sounds kind of scary since it seems to suggest “giving up on myself.” Whoever looses his life (for my sake) will gain it. (Jesus Christ said that.) Also, there is a potential for mistakenly picking up nutty life mission. History is replete with people, who, from our perspective today, picked up nutty life missions. People with a Mission (nutty or not) tend to command much more respect than people who just serve their personal interests. Warning: in the case in which a person adopts a mission, which they subsequently decide to be worthless, there might be a big sense of depression as they realize their mistake. For this reason, a person should be encouraged to pick their mission wisely.