What if I told you there was a hidden danger that has the potential to destroy your dreams? It’s a subtle danger. It’s not the type of danger you anticipate when watching movies (which my son calls the “jump scare”).
This danger is subtle like a slow, moving tide. It’s subtle like when you close your eyes on the lazy river at the water park only to open them to be surprised at how far you’ve travelled. You wake up one day and realize just how far off course you really are.
What is this hidden danger?
It’s the hidden danger of subtle laziness.
King Solomon, an ancient Jewish king, was well-known for the wisdom beyond his years. One day, while walking along an overgrown, abandoned vineyard, he had an epiphany. I’ll let him explain what it was:
I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
Then, as I looked and thought about it,
I learned this lesson:
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
Here’s the principle: Subtle laziness leads to sudden scarcity.
The scarcity is sudden because the negative results of subtle laziness are not immediately seen. For the owner of the vineyard, everything appeared “good enough” day after day. After a few months he may have even justified some of the flaws or negative results he viewed.
“Well, it hasn’t be raining all that much and I can always get to it next week,” he rationalized.
I used to have a post-it note on my computer screen that simply read: “Excuses are just lies you tell yourself.”
So, what then is the key? How can we apply this principle to our daily lives? Here are a few insights to consider.
We are in a drift of subtle laziness when:
- We stop investing in our own growth – Being a former Executive Recruiter, I saw this scenario often. A sudden layoff opened the eyes of the individual to the fact they had done very little over the past few years to invest in their own growth. To avoid subtle laziness, you should always be growing.
- We allow our unique gifts or talents to go dormant – Many of us are guilty of placing our talents on the shelf. One of the main reasons this happens is due to some negative feedback we’ve received along the way. We simply gave too much power to one person’s opinion. Starting today, you have permission to pick that talent back up off the shelf.
- We stay in our comfort zone for far too long – In Bruce Wilkinson’s classic book The Dream Giver, he talks about the danger of the comfort zone. In the story, a fictitious character named Ordinary had settled into his comfort zone. The comfort zone wasn’t necessarily a good thing. His comfort zone included waking up every morning to go his Usual Job (work he despised) and spending every evening staring at the Box (his television set). The way out for Ordinary was to pursue his Big Dream.