I’ve noticed this a lot lately: bright, capable women calling themselves lazy.

“I’d love to write that book, but I’m just too lazy.”

“I get really into meditating in the mornings for a few weeks, but then the laziness kicks in and I end up sleeping in in the morning instead.”

“I should be doing more to promote myself within my company, but I’m lazy about it.”

Do you ever talk about yourself in this way?

When I first started noticing it, I was a little shocked — it seemed like such a harsh way for women to talk about themselves, but more than all that: I just didn’t believe it. I didn’t see any laziness in these women. I still don’t.

Instead, I see women who are blocked from action…

because they are afraid of failure or success
because they fear something they might have to face if they do the real work
because they don’t know what action to take or how to take it
because they’re trying to force themselves to do something that is outside the realm of their genius or their natural flow
because the truth is life is calling them in another direction entirely, and (thank goodness) their souls just won’t let them sell out.

In other words, laziness is never the real story. Something else is the real story. Laziness is a cover word, a distraction, a ruse.

It’s a dangerous term to use, because it takes us in futile directions.

Conclude the reason you aren’t doing something is because you’re lazy, and where can you go from there?

There’s really only two options: you can sigh and sulk and feel bad about your laziness and become generally defeated about your project. Or you can try to fix your laziness and whip yourself into some kind of motivation which is unlikely to work, for any longer than the very-short term. When we call the issue our “laziness” we don’t investigate what’s really causing the block of our motivation, what’s really holding us back. We don’t bring inquiry and self-compassion and wise discernment to the situation, so we don’t really move forward.

When we call ourselves lazy, we do it innocently. We’re unconscious about what is really going on, and the inner critic kicks in and decides the issue is our laziness.

Of course, the inner critic doesn’t want us to figure out what’s really going on, because it doesn’t want us to leave the comfort zone of the status quo. So “lazy” as an explanation works really well for it.

Is there any area of your life in which you’ve been calling yourself lazy?

You aren’t.

Something else is going on. Ask yourself what it is, with kindness, like this: “Honey, what’s the real issue here, and what do you need to address it?”

I can promise you this: you have a natural wellspring of motivation to express your gifts and contribute to the world, the same way a child has a natural wellspring of motivation to explore, play, create and communicate.

Tap the right wellspring, clear the blocks, and motivation will flow. You aren’t lazy, my dear, you really aren’t.




photo credit: Brianna Santellan

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Thank you for writing this. It’s really helpful. You’re questions are great for looking at what’s really going on.

  • Patti says:

    I love this! It’s the story of my life! LOL Thanks for bringing it to my attention and offering suggestions as to what may really be going on. 🙂

  • Tara, Thanks for your insight. It is a continued affirmation of what I have been feeling and supports what Brenee Brown and Steve Pressfield as well as Dr. Rollo May says in his book The Courage to Create. I went to a Non-violent communication workshop and discovered these feelings that I buried awaken in my body and I like you would love to help women more specifically women of color to become free on these resistences that keep their potential hostage. I am glad I found you. Love you!

  • Jessica says:

    Just what I needed to hear today!
    Thank, you.

  • Tom says:

    “The inner critic fears (you) leaving ITS comfort zone.”

    So we need to review our situations, opportunities and choices from our authentic, self-compassionate self, instead!”


  • Deborah Perrot says:

    Thanks Tara, this is very perceptive! I don’t consider myself lazy, but sometimes think – oh, I can’t be bothered with x today. Now I understand the reason why – I probably shouldn’t be bothered with that particular task today or any day!

    Thanks for helping me see more clearly that some things should be left behind, and that only those projects which come from the heart will lead to success and contentment.

  • Karlie says:

    Thank you for being so clear and spot on! It really is confusing being human sometimes, we forget to stop and ask why we hold ourselves back from our potential. When you have a list of reasons to chose from it makes it clear which one resonates. More clarity and lists please! 🙂

  • Janelle says:

    Thank you so much for this. Do you have a recommended quick and easy method for clearing the block? Feels like an endless path and really want to play big! To make a difference.

  • Stacy J. says:

    Thank you for that insight. It made my heart sigh…

  • amy t says:

    Wow. Yes. This really resonated. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you for this Tara, what you have said completely makes sense. I have often wondered if I’m lazy myself when I procrastinate, put things off or make excuses – but peeling back the layers, you’re right that something far bigger is at play.

  • renate f. says:

    I read your message at the most appropriate moment – delaying, delaying and not being able to sit down to do the work I have to. I asked myself, why I am so ‘good’ in delaying, just to find when following your advise and approach the final response: fear of stepping out there with my very own special product.
    Thank you

  • Chaki says:

    “Laziness” is just a lack of inspiration.


  • Mary says:

    Thank you. I really needed this ❤️

  • Kathryn says:

    Thanks for this article. Lazy is an easy term to use but it does nothing but make you feel guilty.Next time I accuse myself of being lazy, I’m going to dig a bit deeper.

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  • Understanding the causes of our Laziness can help us to overcome it.Take a walk before studying; write your study notes on flash cards; Use memorization techniques;

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