It May Be Time Now to Rise Up

Steve Chandler

"I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive."
~Henry Miller

Laziness is fear. We talk about being lazy. Lots of people even kind of brag about being lazy. I hear people say, "You know, I was just too lazy to do that. I was going to do that, I was too lazy. I'm too lazy to work out. I'm too lazy to learn a foreign language, so I'm going to take an interpreter with me when I go to that country. I know, I've been appointed ambassador, and it would be probably more professional of me  if I learned the language of the country I was going to be in, but I'll have interpreters all around me, so let's just do it that way."

It's amazing to me, how many American ambassadors refuse to learn the language of the country they are in; and simply say things like "I'm not good with languages" and to themselves or to their family they'll say," I'm just too lazy to learn it." 

They often say I'm too BUSY to learn it, to other people. "I'm just too busy to learn a foreign language-I've got too many obligations, diplomatically, so I'm too busy."

But really they're too lazy. What is being busy but being lazy? All busy-ness is laziness. Fear of one-pointed focus. So they'll tell themselves they're too lazy! They're not even too lazy. They're too fearful.

People are not really lazy---they are fearful. So, laziness is a form of cowardice. It's a form of hanging back instead of venturing forth. Because it's more socially acceptable to say I'm, lazy, than it is to say I'm cowardly. Nobody walks around saying, "I'm cowardly. I'm cowardly. I'm a real coward." People just don't want to say that. Fear is the lowest rung on this ladder-right above death. Nobody wants to say that's where they are. There's too much shame in it. So, they move it up to something a little more socially acceptable, a little more acceptable to their own egos and they say "I'm lazy." 

"Aaaaah, I'm just too lazy to do that." 

No, I was afraid of something, which is why I didn't do it. 

Now if I can see that, I can fly. It's not as if I want to shame myself or lower my self-esteem from lazy person, to cowardly person---I want to SEE IT as a way of seeing the reality of it. Again, just like the metaphor of the illusory boulder in the road to success. The real road is clear! The real road to success is clear. It's a clear shot. It's an open road for people. 

It's the false obstacles that create the most problems for people because they're so unnecessary and they send you off the road into the woods when you could be on the road.

If I say I'm lazy, I can hang back. Hanging back is what I do because I'm afraid to venture forth. Because when I gather the courage to venture forth, then that is action! That is movement.  That is a great thing. REALLY LIVING!

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely, aware."
~Henry Miller

This is where happiness comes from. It comes from venturing forth. Going places I didn't know I could go. Happiness is growth. Happiness is not some kind of pleasure I get eating chocolate bunnies or watching a high school musical DVD---that is really not happiness. That's short short short term pleasure. It's different. 

Laziness is a way of lying low instead of rising up. So I'm too lazy to make my calls, but really I'm lying low instead of rising up. I am hanging back, instead of venturing forth. That's what laziness really is. It's a holding action. It's a retreat into passivity. It's a retreat into the seeming illusion, the false illusion (illusions are false aren't they?) into the illusion that hanging back or lying low is SAFER for me than venturing forth. 

So you see a person on the couch, and rather than being out this Saturday, meeting people, going to his daughter's game, meeting the neighbors, cleaning the yard-doing wonderful things, active things, the person is on the couch vegging out; and we say he's lazy, but really he wants to hang back rather than venture forth. He wants to lie low, rather than rise up. 

And the person of courage, the person who finds courage, will rise up from the couch. Will venture forth. 

Nobody's lazy. Really, everybody wants to be doing something. There's a dance at the gym. Everybody in the gym that night wants to dance. The sharks do and the jets do too. People hang back, they lean against the wall. They sit down and chat. They say “I don't feel like dancing.” Not true. Everybody wants to dance in that gym at the sock hop, or at the dance. Everybody wants to dance.

Everybody wants to go outside for volleyball. Everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to play at life. Everybody wants to join in.  Everybody wants to be active and move the body. The body was designed for movement. It wasn't designed to curl up---that's the fetus were talking about. The fetus was designed for hanging back-lying low. But the body, once the body becomes cordless, it is designed for movement-for motion-that's what it's for. Getting out there, venturing forth and rising up. 

The great dancer Martha Graham said, "I am a dancer. I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. To practice means to perform, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living. Even as I write, time has begun to make today yesterday-the past. The most brilliant scientific discoveries will in time change and perhaps grow obsolete, as new scientific manifestations emerge. But art is eternal, for it reveals the inner landscape, which is the soul of man. At times I hear the phrase "the dance of life." It is an expression that touches me deeply, for the instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived---the human body. It is the instrument by which all the primaries of life are made manifest. It holds in its memory all matters of life and death and love. Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to the paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths. Then I need all the comfort that practice has stored in my memory, a tenacity of faith."

Lazy is a strange cover word. It's a free pass on something so I can't see what I'm really doing. I'm really hanging back. I'm really not venturing forth, so when I get this, it's a great
mind shift. I did a whole course based on this called mind shift. Shift from pretend laziness to fearless action. Shift.

I don't just want to call myself lazy and not understand the fear beneath it, so that I can see it and choose to replace it with action. You can replace any fear with action. Replace it. Throw this story out, get into action. Throw the story of how unsafe this would be and get into action. Throw the story out first, and get into action and laziness goes away. 

My son on the couch is not lazy, he is afraid. So the cure is to encourage that person, somehow, usually by example---not by a lecture. Encourage. Same with my employees. Not too lazy to cold call--------afraid. I want to encourage. When you encourage someone, you help them find courage that's already there, so they can use it. Laziness is not the factor here. Fear is.

Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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