In today’s article I would like to talk about some of the virtues of the modern slacker. Now make no mistake! I am not talking about a creature who is simply lazy, but someone who has embraced the low road, the path of least resistance, the way of “no action.”
Now, there are pitfalls to avoid, but if we are to look carefully, we will see that the modern slacker cultivates many virtues that any individual can practice. These virtues, if applied effectively, can improve not only your performance, but your happiness and productivity.
First, let’s list some of the common traits we find in your garden variety slacker, slackus vulgaris:
* Does just enough to get what he wants
* Has no drive to be perfect
* Chooses to rest when called to work hard or “apply himself”
* Doesn’t believe if he didn’t win he must have lost
* Doesn’t take things too seriously
* If this Slacker does anything requiring breaking free of the gravitation field of his couch, it’s because he’s really going to enjoy it.
If we evaluate these characteristics one by one, we may find the hidden wisdom in the slacker’s behavior. Let’s take a look, one by one.
Does just enough to get what he wants. The slacker never over exerts himself. If two steps will get you 80% there, and it’ll take 10 more to finish the job, why not just stop at 2? We can take away from this the virtue of small steps. Whether you swing mightily or chip away, the end result is the same. And many of us can endure chipping away far more than the mighty swing.
Has no drive to be perfect. The slacker has no delusions of grandeur, no illusions of greatness. What he does he does for his own happiness and pleasure, not for external rewards. Any drive you may have to be “perfect” is likely motivated by a desire to be seen as perfect by others. We can learn from the humble slacker that what others think is an illusion, and that there is a perfection in imperfection.
Chooses to rest when called to work hard or “apply himself.” While the slacker chooses rest more than will accomplish anything you may consider a “long term goal,” he understands the value of “no action,” and the subtle, personal nature of applying oneself. Not an external force, but one that is generated from within. If you choose to rest, enjoy it. There will be time to work when you are ready.
Doesn’t believe if he didn’t win he must have lost. No slacker ever cried over losing a game (as a matter of fact, many slackers never even make it to the game). If a slacker fails to “win,” he is keenly aware that this is a transitory state, one which can be transcended by remembering why he was playing in the first place, or by drinking beers with his fellow “losers.” There is no need “win” to leave happy.
Doesn’t take things too seriously. One of the themes that runs through the life and traits of the slacker. Nothing is ever life or death. If it happens, “meh,” if it doesn’t happen, “meh.” It’s all the same to the slacker. What we may learn from this trait is the acknowledgement of “this too shall pass.” The slacker has no tunnel vision around “this MUST happen.” Making the best of what comes is one of their virtues. From this we can learn that no matter what we do, don’t do, accomplish, or don’t accomplish, our lives will continue, and the world will not stop turning. There is nothing so serious that tomorrow won’t come.
If this Slacker does anything requiring breaking free of the gravitation field of his couch, it’s because he’s really going to enjoy it. If you are going to get a slacker to do something, it is because he is sure he will love doing it. We can learn that anything worth doing is worth loving. From the slacker we can learn to evaluate how much time we spend doing things that we don’t enjoy and may start to find that none of our life has to be wasted on things that do not fulfill us.
While the slacker generally fails to use these valuable, inborn traits to generate anything the world might consider a “contribution,” the active person may find a certain confort in tempering worldly ambitions with well-applied slacker-ist traits. This person may even discover a level of peaceful enjoyment of each moment on their way to building empires and changing the course of the world.
No one lives forever. The slacker knows this, and is disheartened into no longer trying. You know this and struggle to leave your mark after you are gone. Just remember, that the most important person in your life may be the one who never gets to enjoy that mark. So you might as well find a way to enjoy life while you leave it.