Too many of us look at others and think they are no-good lazy people. Think about the person living on the streets or a friend who never seems to be able to keep their job. We see people who are struggling through life and instead of thinking about what external forces influenced how they ended up in dire straits we assume it has to do with their moral behaviour. E Price calls on us to take a holistic look at individuals when we accuse them of “immoral” laziness:
People love to blame procrastinators for their behavior. Putting off work sure looks lazy, to an untrained eye. Even the people who are actively doing the procrastinating can mistake their behavior for laziness. You’re supposed to be doing something, and you’re not doing it — that’s a moral failure right? That means you’re weak-willed, unmotivated, and lazy, doesn’t it?
For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.