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Science Says Lazy people are likely to be smarter, more successful, and better employees

The old adage ‘all play and no work makes Jack a mere boy’ seems to have been turned on its head with the latest news from the world of science. Science suggests that laziness may actually be a sign of intelligence and not mediocrity, and even has evidence to back up this statement.

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers revealed that people who are less inclined to physical activity are more intelligent than those who are physically active. The term coined by researchers for this lazy streak is ‘need for cognition.’  Apparently, people with this trait seek structured and reasoned ways to view the world and would rather pursue mentally engaging activities like puzzles or debates than do something more physical.

A questionnaire was used by the researchers on the 60 subjects selected for the study. The aim was to track and asses this ‘need for cognition.’ The participants were then divided into two groups based on their responses to the survey.  The groups consisted of ‘thinkers’ and ‘non-thinkers.’ The participants were fitted with activity trackers which had to be worn for a period of seven days. The researchers were able to gauge the habits of participants from these trackers.

The data that was analyzed revealed that the participants with a higher IQ did not get bored as easily as the highly active group. The low activity group spent their time engaged in thought while the active ones needed to be engaged in some physical activity to stimulate their minds and were easily bored if they had to sit still and pay attention to their abstract thoughts.

How does this add up?

So how do we draw a parallel between intelligence and laziness from this study? It all depends on how one perceives laziness because sometimes the traits that one person may deem as laziness may not really be laziness at all.
One of Bill Gates most repeated quotes is one where he states “ Like all quotes attributed to a great person, it’s debatable whether this quote really originated from Gates. Nevertheless, there is a lot of truth to this quote.
Critical thinkers who engage in activities perceived as idleness are more bothered about wasting their efforts on solving a task and would rather look for an easy way around it. Which may be good in a sense, if it doesn’t result in a collapse of the system at some point in the future.  A lazy person may actually have many quick-fix solutions to problems that the active person will take days to figure out. These shortcuts can save a company a lot of time and may also turn out to be the innovative solution that the company was actually in search of.

False Laziness

The bestselling author of ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Moneyball,’ Michael Lewis, attributes a lot of his success to his laziness.

In an interview, he once said “My laziness serves as a filter. Something has to be really good before I’ll decide to work on it.”

However, Lewis’ view of laziness could be labeled ‘false laziness’ as the fact that his success was a result of his laziness would turn the negative stereotypes associated with the word ‘lazy’ on their heads. Playing video games too is often perceived as an activity that lazy people usually indulge in.

But this too can be labeled as ‘false laziness’ because even though a person may be hooked onto a screen sitting in one place throughout the day, his mind is actively involved in strategizing and solving problems associated with the game. Elon Musk is an active gamer and by no stretch of imagination can one label the CEO of Tesla as being lazy or unintelligent! Neither can we bracket Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page who also enjoy video games.

The final analysis of this broadly defined term ‘lazy’ is that what one may perceive as laziness in another may be something truly exceptional that we don’t understand. We base our judgments on the exterior evidence before us and not what lies within. Evidence from the study suggests that we need to be more aware of the qualities in a person that cause us to fit tags onto them and be more careful about how we use the word ‘lazy.’
Science Says Lazy people are likely to be smarter, more successful, and better employees Science Says Lazy people are likely to be smarter, more successful, and better employees Reviewed by Tim on May 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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