Your Two Worst Enemies

Your two worst friends and my two worst friends are the same guys and they cause the same kind of trouble for us all. Who am I talking about? Laziness and Stupidity of course, and my oh my, are they a dangerous pair. Laziness and stupidity are deadly bedfellows. They will talk us into the worst decisions we make, justify our failures, and blame it all on someone else.

Now I have to tell you I think being lazy and stupid can be beautiful given the right situation. There isn’t much on this earth that beats a lazy day fishing on the river, and there are certainly times when being stupid about what is going on in pop culture is sublime.  Overall though, being lazy and stupid are terrible things to be no matter where you are in life.

I realize that both of these words are offensive, and that it isn’t PC to use them. I don’t think we should throw them around, and I don’t think they apply to any one grouping of people. So just to be sure that we are on the same page, let me define these words as I see them:

Lazy: unwilling to work or use energy, characterized by lack of effort or activity, showing a lack of effort or care.

Stupid: given to unintelligent decisions or acts, acting in an unintelligent or careless manner, marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting, lacking interest or point.

As I write I’m not talking about those who have legitimate intellectual or developmental challenges. I am often inspired by those who are differently abled in our communities. They are gifts from God that should be cherished, encouraged, and equipped for success in life.

I am talking specifically about you and me. The only lazy and stupid people we can make a difference in is us. We all have a proclivity to fall into these traps, yes there can be other strong forces in our lives that influence us in those directions, but until we take responsibility for ourselves, these patterns will never change.

Here are 4 things you can do to cut laziness and stupidity out of your life.

1. Distance yourself from lazy and stupid people.

I know this sounds harsh, but it’s in the Bible.

Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.
-Proverbs 14:7 ESV

There are only 2 caveats here: 1.) If you are helping someone escape these patterns and they are making strides to overcome them and 2.) If you are friends with someone else who is fleeing the same direction you are and you can help keep each other accountable.

The truth is that our friends shape and influence us for good or for bad, so we have to be careful who we surround ourselves with, especially those in our inner circle. To quote my friend Alan:

“You will take on traits of those you spend the most time with. I used to work with a good artist and my art got a lot better. I worked with a guy who was good with money, and I got a lot better with money. I worked with a bunch of guys who were jerks, and I become a jerk. We take on the traits of those we spend the most time with. Iron might sharpen iron but a bad friend dulls everything.”
-Alan Myers

2. Find someone who will be honest enough with you to tell you when you are being lazy or stupid.

I was talking with a friend of mine, Matt is a successful young millennial who has made the practice of meeting with his mentor a critical discipline for his life. As we talked he shared a powerful story with me about the role of his mentor in life. Being newly married, he was experiencing some of the common problems that we all face when two become one. As he was venting his frustration, his mentor stopped him abruptly and plainly stated,

“Man you are being stupid with her!”

Now I don’t recommend that any of us spend much time with people that make it a routine habit of telling us how stupid and lazy we are without ever seeing our good qualities, but this was different.  These words were shared in love, within the context of a longstanding, deep relationship, and with permission given through submission. I’ll write more about finding and being a mentor in future posts, but for now these are the key aspects of mentorship in your life.

My friend needed someone to speak truth into his life in a clear and direct fashion. There are times in life where we need someone to shine a bright and blinding light on our actions and attitudes, because we can’t see what they doing to us. When that confrontation is done in love, it makes a world of difference for us. That simple sentence made my friend take a step back and analyze his behavior instead of justifying it. In the process finally realized that he indeed was being unreasonable, selfish, and was actually causing his own problems. Having that person who is willing to have hard conversations with us out of love is priceless, uncomfortable at times, but priceless nonetheless.

3. Embrace discipline.

I know that last word scared you just a little bit. Discipline isn’t something any of us are naturally attracted to, but it’s rewards are outstanding. Again I will write later about different disciplines we all need in life, but here are a few that, if implemented, will change your life immediately:

Reading: All leaders are readers. Reading sharpens your mind, inspires deeper thought, and helps form new paradigms. Find time everyday to read something, books, blogs, newspapers, almost anything beyond your social media feed. I personally recommend reading a Proverb a day from the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. It is an amazing book of knowledge and there are 31 chapters in the book, so it’s like God wants you to do it anyway!

If you aren’t a reader, there are tons of podcasts and books you can check into that I highly reccomend. A few years ago I started a subscription with Audible and now I am able to download the best audiobooks every month at a price much cheaper than the standard CD set. If you are interested, here is a great link that can help you get started with audiobooks too.

Getting enough sleep: We all think clearer and are more productive if we are well rested. I have spent my life struggling with sleep and feeling drained, but in the last year I have finally (after 39 years) started getting consistent sleep and it has made a huge difference. I have energy, I feel more creative, and am more productive with my day. The secret for me was eliminating caffeine after 5:00, eating a healthier diet, and getting to bed by 10:00.

Setting Goals: I can’t say enough about the importance of setting goals, but I did write a blog post about it once, here. You should check it out if you want to develop your own SMARTY PANTS goals.

4. Commit to WISDOM in your decisions.

This is just another simple acronym that we can use to help us think through situations to make good decisions. Simply engaging in the thought process behind these questions prevents stupidity and laziness in life. So before you make a decision ask yourself:

Would you recommend this to someone else? If it’s not a good idea for them, is it really a good idea for you? Why?

Is this something you would tell your Grandma about? I know this is very simplistic, but a lot of the things we do that we later regret are driven by emotions that overwhelm us. If doing this isn’t something your grandma would be proud of is it worth it?

Seek advice. Who do respect that has wisdom in this area? Have you talked to them about this decision?

Do your research. Have you taken the time you need to gather facts so that you have all the information you need to make the right choice?

Order or Chaos? Will this bring more order or chaos into your life in the short and long term?

Main Thing. How does this decision help you or hurt you as you pursue your goals?

Overcoming the inertia of your challenges to embrace your purpose is one of the most powerful things you can do with your life. Which is why the tendency to be lazy and remain stupid is a pattern we have to break.

Your life is worth too much to allow it to waste away. Your friends, family, and even this world, need the impact that only you can make. So hitting snooze one more time, or making another decision based on emotion alone, just isn’t worth it.

So start today by identifying one area of your life that you want to improve. Do you need to evaluate your friendships? Who do you know that can speak love and light into your life? What discipline do you need to embrace to make the changes you need to make? What decisions do you need to apply some WISDOM to? Taking even the smallest of steps will help you make progress towards becoming the person God has made you to be. Like the old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” Today is the perfect day for you to start your own journey!

If I can be of any help at all, I would love to. Leave me a comment or send a message directly to me by clicking here.

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