I’ve decided “lazy” is one of the most vindictive words in the world. Whether it’s Marie Kondo calling her clients “lazy” I-lost-count-of-how-many-times in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” which to this day I desperately hope is a translation problem and a reflection of deep cultural differences between American Organizers and Ms. Kondo, or Newsweek’s 8/11/2017 cover of President Trump, it’s a vicious attack. I mourn when my clients label themselves without even the slightest hesitation. A repeat of that offense spurred this blog.
So, from Merriam-Webster:
a: disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous The lazy child tried to avoid household chores.
b : encouraging inactivity or indolence a lazy summer day
2: moving slowly: sluggish a lazy river
4: placed on its side lazy E livestock brand
5: not rigorous or strict lazy scholarship
The accusation is completely subjective and abominably self-righteous: none of us can accurately imagine another person’s capability to stay active and in control of their (everyday) tasks and so we have no genuine understanding of his/her struggles, if any, to get work done. Just because someone is good at time management, doesn’t mean s/he’s good at money management, or at breaking projects down into processes. Or vice-versa: a process-oriented person might nonetheless be miserable at time-management. People with astonishing “virtual skills” such as time management, verbal acuity, or mathematical giftedness may be reduced to tears by a pile of laundry because they can’t “see” how to sort it. No one is perfect at everything, or even most things.
It’s all about learning and thinking styles. Denslow Brown, a Professional Organizer who coaches Professional Organizers, discusses 12 TWELVE!!!!!! “processing modalities” each of us expresses in unique combinations of innate preferences, strengths of each preference, and weaknesses around each preference. Barriers to staying organized such as illness or reactivity to trauma, or even a fact as “simple” as “no one ever taught the ‘lazy’ person the basics” only add to the complexities of our situations. Yelling “GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM!” and then just shoving the poor kid towards his door IS NOT TEACHING. Declaring “Just work harder” to someone recovering from chemotherapy, or already staying up until 2 to try to get the reports written, IS NOT HELPFUL. My clients, and I KNOW everyone else who labels himself/herself lazy, work creatively, hard, and sincerely to get their responsibilities accomplished.
And in our culture at least, self-care is considered criminal. Admitting to taking a “lazy day” might as well be an announcement that you robbed an orphanage of its fundraising proceeds from the summer lemonade stand. So the “lazy” person who might in fact be running on caffeine, sugar and fear of getting fired and who DESPERATELY needs a break… AAAARRRRRRGGGH.
And I will not express an opinion of Trump, and for the record I started writing this blog before the Newsweek cover came out. I will give an opinion of Ms. Kondo – I DON’T LIKE HER. And even this blog is an “examination” of “lazy” – obviously, since I began this one before early August, I struggled with it. Not lazy! Wanted to get it right.
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