April 10, 2020
You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated

You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated

I don’t know you, but I know this: You have
internet access, and enough time to spend some of it watching. It sounds obvious, but this tells me two more
important things about you: One, you’re in the top half of humanity’s wealth distribution,
because the other half of the world’s population isn’t even online yet. And two, since you’re here, you’re likely
fighting a very modern human fight. You’ve probably already got the basics covered
— food, a roof over your head. For you, the obstacles to a better, happier
life aren’t all concrete. You’re trying to defeat more abstract enemies:
laziness, boredom, self-doubt, procrastination. Here’s the thing: All these concepts are
one and the same. And there’s only one way to deal with them. You’re not lazy. You’re not bored. You’re not unmotivated. What you are — what all of us are — is
afraid. And the best advice for overcoming fear is
the bland three-word sentence Nike turned into the most successful marketing slogan
of all time: Just do it. “I’m not motivated” is never a true
statement. Not motivated to do what? Work? In that case, aren’t you motivated to avoid
it? Every action human beings ever take is driven
by some kind of incentive, whether it’s money, or happiness, or peace, or satisfying
your conscience. Your motivation may not always be obvious,
but it’s always there. If you hate every second of the workday, you’re
not unmotivated to change your job. But you haven’t, which means there’s something
holding you back. For some reason, it feels like you can’t
make the change. It’s too hard, requires too much effort,
makes you too vulnerable to rejection. So you don’t even try. But that’s entirely different from not being
motivated, and it’s only a sign that it’s time to dig into this feeling. I once struck up a chat on Tinder with a woman
who was a scrum master and a physiologist. She was in business school, but, really, she
wanted to study fashion and launch her own creative company. In short, she was a fascinating person. When I asked her why she even used the app,
she spoke the most common lie in the world: “I’m bored.” How do I know it was a lie? Because no one is ever bored anymore. There’s no reason to be. Most of us don’t even choose to try. We’re 100% connected, 100% of the time. We just pretend to be bored so we can keep
filling our days with meaningless distractions, like small talk on Tinder, because we know
what lies beneath the stillness: existential dread. Go through the door of boredom, and that’s
what you’ll find. The great scientist and mathematician Blaise
Pascal once said: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly
in a room alone.” You’re not bored. You’re terrified of being alone with yourself
in your own head. Laziness is the scapegoat of everyone who’s
trying to capitalize on your claim of “being bored.” “You’re not bored — you’re boring!”
is what they’ll tell you. You need a hobby, or a calling, or a $250
fitness program with a personalized meal plan. This, too, is nonsense. Laziness, like boredom, doesn’t exist. As psychology professor Devon Price has explained:
“No one wants to feel incapable, apathetic, or ineffective. If you look at a person’s action (or inaction)
and see only laziness, you are missing key details.” What looks like laziness or self-sabotage
is almost always something else — a lack of confidence, an unmet need. Once again, it’s not a lack of motivation,
an inexplicable unwillingness to act, that obstructs your path to success and happiness. It’s the invisible boundaries in your head
that you’re tripping over — sometimes without ever moving at all. Laziness, boredom, procrastination — all
of these are symptoms of the same disease. My dad once told me this story: A colleague
was driving to an appointment with a customer. As he was overtaking a truck, the truck moved
into his lane. Seeing his car get crushed from the passenger
side and compressing towards him, his animal instincts kicked in. Unleashing an ancient roar at the top of his
lungs, he ripped out the gear lever of his automatic gearbox with one hand. Clearly, we’re not talking about breaking
off a knob on your radio. It’s a heavy, difficult-to-break piece of
machinery. That’s the power of fear. It can make you do unimaginable things. Now imagine turning this same power not onto
your physical environment, but against your own mind. That’s what we tend to do when faced with
a struggle — we take this unbelievable source of raw power and turn it on ourselves. We do it by self-medicating, by concocting
and treating powerful symptoms, like laziness and boredom. Instead of seeing everyone rip their gear
levers out of their cars, we see them staring at their phones on the subway, or procrastinating
on a deadline by bingeing TV, or getting dragged into dumb fights on social media. We’re all afraid of something; we just choose
to medicate that fear differently. The number of things you can be afraid of
is endless. You’re afraid of dying early from a plane
crash or an armed robbery or a natural disaster or a newly discovered parasite, even though
the odds strongly suggest you won’t. You’re afraid of being alone because of
existential dread, but also because it looks weird and gets weird looks, and if your parents
haven’t asked why you’re still single yet, your friends most certainly have. You’re afraid of writing the first chapter
of your book, because who thinks that’ll ever work out? But you’re also afraid of wasting 10 more
hours watching Game of Thrones, especially now that you’ve already seen the whole thing
twice. You’re afraid of never being rich, but not
nearly as much as you’re afraid of losing whatever you already have. I could keep going all day. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of
looking stupid, fear of losing something or someone, fear of fear, fear of wasting time,
fear of not being good enough, smart enough, attractive enough. In order to deal with all these fears, you
could buy a new book from a new guru each week, collect a stunning array of probably-placebo
supplements on your shelf, churn through organizational systems and mantras and resolutions. Or, you could wake up and realize that all
these fears are the same thing. Fear is the same dark creature that’s always
plagued us, and it will continue to invent new tricks till kingdom come. You have to find a way to live in spite of
it. That dog is going to keep chasing you until
you die. And some days, it will get to you. But you have to keep moving. Forever. The day you run into the bright light at the
end of the tunnel, I want you to look back and give the finger to that dog trailing behind. I’m no more qualified to talk about fear
than any random guy you’d meet on the street. I don’t have a degree in psychology, or
even formal training as a writer. But, like you, I have lived with fear my whole
life. And, somehow, I’ve still arrived in a place
where I have a job I love, lots of time to spend how I want, and a general sense of happiness. I have my own issues to resolve, but I feel
okay taking life one day at a time. And that’s what it’s about. Beat the dog again and again. And again. My theme for this year is ‘focus.’ Across all areas of my life, I’m trying
my best to drill down to what really matters: projects, people, how I manage my time and
my energy. And the one thing that has helped me show
up consistently in spite of fear is some version of Nike’s annoyingly obvious slogan: Just
Do It. Because besides being annoyingly obvious,
it’s also universally, inescapably true. “Just Do It” isn’t an elegant solution. It’s not dismissive or snobby, but empowering
and humble. It’s motivation. Inspiration. Action. Energy. People don’t realize how deep this slogan
is. “If it were that easy, don’t you think
everybody would ‘just do it?’” No, no, no. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about something Marcus Aurelius told
himself 2,000 years ago: “You must build up your life action by action, and be content
if each one achieves its goal as far as possible — and no one can keep you from this.” If all we did was focus on the task right
in front of us, we’d accomplish 99% of our goals and then some. Sure, we’d still have to pause and reflect
on occasion, and not all goals would turn out to be worth chasing in the first place,
but we’d get there. This is everything. The whole strategy. You don’t have time for big picture concerns
when you’re “doing”. And I don’t mean running around all day
like a rat in a maze. I mean steadily engaging and re-focusing on
the task at hand. A strategy is a long-term approach to getting
what you want. It’s a set of behaviors you’re committed
to, a line of principles you’re unwilling to compromise. Using “Just Do It” as the strategy, the
operating system of your life, means committing to figuring it out on your own. You chase your goals based on what you believe
in. If you think art should be free, then make
art for free and get sponsors or donors. If you don’t believe in remote work, rent
an office and hire locally. “Just Do It” is the best advice because
it’s the only advice that works. When I started writing, I gave lots of specific
tips in my articles: how to set goals, have a morning routine, be productive. But specifics are full of hindsight bias. I’m only giving you the final 10% that worked,
and that worked for me in particular. The messy 90% of the journey that led me there? I left that out completely. And my specific advice is only going to work
for a tiny fraction of people who happen to be in the right place at the right time and
for whom it will click immediately. Everyone else who still needs to go through
the random 90% in their journey will be left out in the cold. Still feeling alone, still stuck with their
fears. Except now, they’re disappointed too. “Just Do It” may not be perfect, but at
least it clears the air from the start: Yes, you are alone, but you also have everything
you could ever need to figure things out. You will make many mistakes, but since no
one on this planet can give you the perfect answers to the questions created by your own
unique circumstances, choosing for yourself and continuing to move forward is not just
the best thing you can do, it’s also the only thing. A tactic is a short- to medium-term course
of action that helps you live up to your strategy. “Just Do It” as a tactic is refusing to
let everyday hurdles get to you, while relentlessly focusing on the next, smallest action you
can control. Your boss didn’t like the presentation? Fine, do it over and show her again. You’ve run out of clients and your freelance
business never really got off the ground? Fine, shut it down and start from scratch. Ghosted on Tinder? Fine, delete the app and try another way of
meeting people. The faster you can re-center after completing
something or getting rattled, the better. Again, this isn’t to say you should never
rest, or that you’ll never have moments where the dog creeps back around the corner
and stares at you with unblinking eyes. It’s to say that, with this focus on moving
forward, you’ll feel more confident in handling it when it does. Make a promise to yourself:
You’re not unmotivated. You’re not lazy. You’re not bored. You are afraid. We are all afraid. And yet, we are still here. So every day, choose to be here, moving forward.

100 thoughts on “You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated

  1. Thanks for watching! If you believe in what I'm doing SUBSCRIBE and consider becoming an Art of Improvement member on YouTube. Link in the description. Enjoy👍

  2. Man I can't explain how much I needed this. I'm a coward. I can't play horror games because I'm unable to move my character forward, and that's why my life is a mess. I don't do things. The moment I catalogue something as important I begin to avoid it: looking for a job, reading, writing, drawing, learning an instrument. Fuck it, not anymore. I will not stand still in the dark while monsters eat me, not anymore.
    Edit: fuck grammar lol

  3. Were not bored, lazy, procrastinating etc. Were just not doing what were actually passionate about. You cant force yourself tobe motivated towards things that are not intrinsically rewarding for you, no one is. If you do what you love youll spend a hundred hours a week on it and youll never have to push yourself at all

  4. Finally. Fear is the root of all suffering. So simple and so hard to see when we are overwhelmed and cought up in our tragedy/Movie/Game.

  5. The most realistic and true advice I had ever !
    All this gurus dividing fear and procastination and many other bs.
    And here its all laid out ! We are simply afraid, all we need to do is to get our ass up and start making stuff.

  6. This has become my. Favorite video of the year.. I needed to hear it and be reminded. You do a great service to us and thank you! I look forward to the new year of enrichment from your excellent work. Cheers!

  7. I love being alone I have my hobbies my little jobs or side hustles.. My problem is I have so many ideas I just stop and go wow now what!!! Lol

  8. Just do what? What ever occurs to you in the moment? Like watching this youtube video? Sounds like some executive function is needed to choose. How do you cultivate that? You're assuming we're avoiding only career options? Sounds like this video is coming out of the 10% advice it says isn't helpful to the 90%. Maybe do this one over? 🙂

  9. I enjoy what I'm studying in uni. But for some reason I can't seem to study. I have time and everything. I just tend to panic and procrastinate. Now I know I'm just scared

  10. I'm a feral beast. Like a fully self-actualized big cat, after I feed, I lay around as much as I please.
    The only time I get up and move is when some female cat starts sniffing around me looking for scraps…🦁

  11. It’s funny how I always knew the power of fear but never saw it broke down in those 3 ways. Awesome.

  12. First, I think one has to clear their mind and realize in the most fundamental way (not an intellectual way) how alone and mortal we are. Most people understand our "aloneness" and mortality as concepts but if you really begin sitting down each day meditating on those concepts you will feel such a piercing reality like you never had before. Once you clearly understand that you know nothing, are nothing, and fully capable of nothing – you will begin to feel the walls of your being like an empty vessel. With this clarity and perspective, you can begin to take in life authentically – thus you are beginning to dissolve some parts of your ego. Essentially, the things you do will start to come from a place of truth – acting from the inside out rather than the reverse. The reverse being the whole question of "what I am supposed to be doing" will be irrelevant and small -that is living a life through conceptualization. Western society has taught us we are not fully formed and we must become actualized to feel complete. However, it is an illusion, we are ready made and fully actualized. What do you want to be when you grow up little Timmy? being the mantra drilled into little kids as we grow up. How can one be anything other than they are? Dissolve the ego and you will find less of "yourself" and less identity, while in contradiction finding yourself – a new self but just less and less important. Your ego will tell you have to have self importance to be or create anything of value – in contrast living from this enlighten state will bring masterful work into the world.

  13. I can usually only stomach the prospect of 10 minutes of ANYTHING. So I set a timer, and once it goes off I reset it before switching to something else I can only stomach 10 minutes of. Lots of times though, the timer goes off and by then I don’t want to stop what I’m doing because I’ve started to enjoy it. But the next time I wanna start that same thing again, even if I enjoyed it the last time, the prospect of starting it makes me groan and wanna go Netflix my life away. So I always go back to the 10 minute timer strategy and before I know it I’m back in the sweet zone 🙂

  14. Nothing wrong with "procrastinate" to rest the mind and soul, its that society force you to work your body for over 10 hours for their deed.

  15. I already knew that I was terrified of being alone with myself. I hate me. Being alone with me is downright painful. Well done on the diagnosis, but I fear being alone with myself because it is painful.

  16. I was born in the wrong times. I hate capitalism and the fact that every single adult is expected to produce… anything. That supply and demand model is just ridiculous if you ever had a single thought about it. It ignores the fact that our desires are mostly wrong, because we are programmed by nature to survive in natural conditions. Natural, not in the cities. I'm a freelance programmer and the older I get, the more tired and bored I get with the concepts of capitalism. I feel like I waste my life whenever I write the code. What for? To satisfy more of these wrong desires? If we feel unmotivated it means that we don't want to do it, period. These motivational coaches just engage us in mental masturbation which is supposed to delude us to ignore how ridiculous the system is. I want to escape that fu*king matrix so much.

  17. Words aren't real. They just define the state of mind which is real, and most of the time we spend our life in thinking about boredom, failures, but the thing, the state of mind itself remain there, unattended, unheeded of because it wants to be resolved. So our problem is the solution if we could look at it without words. Your state of mind is not different from you, nor can you go inside your brain and consciously alter it through rewiring it. Thoughts are deceptive.

  18. 1:04 Nyk???? Really? How is it possible to not know how to pronounce Nike??

    Also, nice video, but writer Susan Jeffers said it first, and she did it more than twenty years ago: "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!"

  19. I like how old spiritual lessons are coming into modern psychology and further condensed on platforms like this. Its time for a new intellectual evolution of humankind

  20. THE LOVE TO THY SELF CURES ALL THE FEARS. TO EVERY PART OF THY SELF. yet it shouldnt be overhelming and unconscious as it may blind oneself, it must be as wise as it can be.
    Hobby, sport, good progressive job, enjoyable interests etc. Although the fear can come back, it always does.

    To relay on somebodys elses on something elses love is like relaying on something that needs the beat the opponent that is actually only yours enemy. It is only attaching our fears to something else, for a while. Not the cure itself.

  21. nah i just have a chronic disease that prevents me from being able to do anything other than stay at home all day and have 0 possibility to ever do anything i actually would like to do.

  22. Clickbait. People who put off cleaning their rooms, brushing their teeth or getting in shape aren't afraid. There are tons of examples like this. Boiling every inaction down to fear is intentionally ignoring reality.

  23. I needed this right now, I have 10 days to submit a journalism portfolio for my masters degree and I’ve felt so lost with it, but what I am really feeling so fear. I’m focusing too much on other things that aren’t relevant right now, I do need to Just Do It. Thank you.

  24. I see it from a totally different way tbh. This iteration of social structure does not work. In fact it not only doesnt work, it literally domesticates those that live within it. It does not account for human nature, instead denying it exists and forcing a fabricated human to replace it or be cast out by society.

    So thinking about it from a purely natural perspective, by natural I mean natures auto balancing a species collapse prevention systems, it would stand to say that this society is risking our species survival and that of the entire planet. Which would then trigger a natural response to either purge the destructive, imbalancing element, or start auto correcting it to fix itself eventually.

    What you call laziness, boredom and a general lack of need to participate is actually EXACTLY what is needed to collapse this toxic nonsense social structure we have created for ourselves. Our species will not survive such toxic social systems as capitalism and democracy. Systems designed to prey on ego to avoid recognition of obvious flaws. If proceeding generation are born with a predisposition towards non participation then it all comes crashing down, and fast.

    Which is exactly what needs to happen right now, a collapse as fast as possible before we go too far and destroy ourselves and or everything on this planet.

  25. Glad I came across this on the last day of 2019. Been thinking this for a while and this video put it spot on 👍🏼 thank you

  26. you know i love love this video and your voice is so strong and motivating God bless you i wish you and your loved ones all the best in the world good luck and have an amazing new year Happy New year 🙏🎀🎄🎁🤹‍♀️🎊✌💖🌹

  27. Thanks so much for shedding light on this so I can oversee it better. The only people who do not acknowledge this are not yet aware of it

  28. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

  29. This’s is one of those right place right time deals. Aka “meant to be”. Wrote down the same goal for 2020. FOCUS. Much success to you, yours, and everyone in the new year. ✌🏼

  30. Well said and thank you. This complements the conclusions that i've recently arrived at and it provides one more piece of the puzzle updating my understanding of certain things about society and human behaviour in general.

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