To the laz-Y-Generation

"I'm successful at what I do because I'm lazy." What? This was not what I expected to hear from a mentor at an early breakfast meeting. "Can you explain the statement you just made?" I asked, putting down my fork and picking up my pen to write. "I hate repeating work that can be automated, so I constantly ask myself 'what can I automate?' This has led to different email letters, email responses, operating procedures, etc. I get work done easier and faster when tweaking something that has been done than when I have to create something new," Gerry said.

That last statement seemed to hang in the air for a few seconds as Gerry, took a sip of his orange juice and a bite of his fruit topped Belgian waffle. "I get work done easier and faster when tweaking something that has been done than when I have to create something new." It was obvious but I had never heard it so succinctly put.

Gerry was not advocating being a couch potato, he was emphasizing the importance of working smarter. I did like his concept of productive laziness and began to wonder what else in life was improved as a result of the desire to be lazy (or work smarter.)

  • We stopped ferrying water from streams and wells, and created a delivery system that pipes the water to our homes
  • We stopped going to the town square to hear the latest news, and created the TV and radio to bring the news to us,
  • We thought it was too much work to get up and change channels and we invented the remote control,
  • We got tired of riding horses and invented cars,
  • We got tired of using the Abacus and invented the calculator and later the computer,
  • We got tired of getting up to make and receive calls, and invented the cordless phone. And when it became hard to have a conversation because you were out in the garden and not near the base station, we started thinking about a way to take the doggone phone where ever we go. The cell phone was born.
  • We are getting too lazy to drive our cars, and some folks are already working on the driver-less car.

Gen-Yers or Millennials have been called lazy and self-absorbed. "They want a medal for showing up at work, and want to run the company in a year." So, what's wrong with that? If they have the guts to believe they can run the company, why not let them try.

Laziness has led to the advancement of society. Laziness has led to breakthroughs and many inventions. Laziness that seeks to bring about change should be welcomed and not lampooned.

So, here's to the laz-Y-Generation; the most educated, most connected, most tech-dependent generation. May your laziness inspire you to invent new things, improve what already exists, eliminate what should no longer exist (like traditional cabs vs Uber,) and may we all realize that your lazYness may just be your gift to all of us.

Go ahead, be LazY, and change the world while you are at it.

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