The seven deadly sins of business people #7 - Sloth
Posted by nick_niesen on October 26th, 2010
If you read this introduction already, just scroll down and start reading about Sloth, otherwise it is recommended that you read the introduction bellow.
Let’s analyze how these common vices can affect your business and your overall income. You may think that the concept of deadly sins is a religious one and do not apply to you, but you may call them negative tendencies if you want. The fact is that you can find them in more or less intensity within most people.
You may not realize that one of these tendencies may be affecting you until I show you the details. If you realize that there is a problem, I will also give you the solution so you can fix it. I will explain and compare now the most common negative tendencies among people with their corresponding opposite virtues.
Before we start, I need to tell you something . . .
I.Most sins arise from: FEAR.
II.Most virtues arise from: LOVE.
III.Sins, vices and negative tendencies demonstrate weakness, while virtues demonstrate strength.
In my opinion the biggest virtue of all is COURAGE/CONFIDENCE, because it is the direct fruit of love, which dissipates fear and sow all other virtues in human’s hearts.
This is a series of articles about this subject. The whole series contain the following articles . . .
This sin is related to avoiding mental or physical work. It has to do with procrastination. For example, sometimes people have to perform important tasks and they say: “I will do it later. I will do it next week” And they never do it.
I believe that from a business standpoint this is the worst of the sins described above. Lazy people hate work and making money requires at least some efforts. Even if you discover an easier way to make money, some efforts will be often involved in the process.
Sloth is more than the avoidance of mental or physical work. This one like most other sins arise out of fear. That fear can make individuals avoid taking important decisions that can benefit their businesses. Someone may be working too much and complaining about not seeing positive results from his or her labor. That’s because what matters is not how hard you work, but how effective your efforts are.
Certain tasks are more effective than others. Some people work long hours, but they don’t produce the expected results. Avoiding some tasks can make their efforts unproductive. What matters at the end is the results you get. By using leverage you can make more money and work less, but leverage requires you to do things in a certain way.
For example, some people could be struggling for months to produce some products on their businesses. They need a more effective method to make those products. They come up with a great and simple idea to build a machine that help them make those products faster and easier.
That machine would be a perfect example of what leverage is. The problem is that they are so adapted to do things in a rudimentary way that they don’t take the time to create that machine.
They may complain about many reasons why they have not done it yet. They may say that they don’t have enough time or resources, that they don’t know if it is going to work, etc.
Six months later they are frustrated with the amount of work they have to do every day. So, they are determined to build the machine. They finish it up within a week. During that week they produce a little less than they are used to. They spend time and effort creating that machine. That’s a task that they had being avoiding for a long time.
After they create the machine and test it, they realize that it was a mistake to not have done it before. They can now produce within one hour the same amount of products that they produced within eight hours. They now work only two hours per day and make twice as much as they did before. They invest the rest of the time marketing the product or relaxing and having fun.
Let me give you another example. On this example we are not talking about a business owner but just an employee. This individual is single and young. He has not many debts. We could say that he is just fine. He has two jobs though, and he is thinking about a third one. The reason is that he wants to make more money.
The only problem is that he is working too much and making too little. He is getting paid near minimum wages from both jobs. He realizes within a few months that his best choice is to study something and get a better paid job. He avoids that task for a long time.
It is often easier to keep doing what you are doing than to change. That’s called inertia. Bodies in motion tend to keep in motion and is not easy to change direction sometimes.
After three years of frustration this individual makes up his mind and decides to study something. He doesn’t like school, so he just get a technical career. He stays working full time and studying full time, which is not easy for most people, but he does it anyway. He pretty much feels like he still has two jobs.
This person finishes his studies after two years. Then he gets a better job. Now he is getting paid twice as much as he got paid from his two full time jobs and he is working part time. He feels in the glory and he can’t believe it.
He has much more free time with this new job. He has more money too. So, this person has new choices now that he had not before. He can keep studying and get an even better job or he can save some money, start a business and work for himself. The third choice is to simply has more fun and enjoy life more.
There are many other examples like those above. On those examples above, it can not be said that those people were lazy. In fact if someone would have said that to them, they would feel very offended. They both were working too much. They were exhausted. They had no time for anything else but work. They may have felt during that time like very hardworking people.
They may have been partially right, but lazy is not the person who sits around and do nothing at all. I believe that most people work in one way or another. The point is that whatever you do for a living, there will come your way many tedious works that you will postpone and avoid. Many of those tasks establish the difference whether your work become productive or unproductive.
Sloth arises out of a subconscious fear. You may not fear work itself, but you may fear other things. For example, you may not like to deal with people. Your job or business may require that you take care of the customers. This is something that you hate to do. It is a task that you avoid. It is what makes you feel like quitting.
If you have worked in different jobs or businesses you may find a pattern. What makes you avoid work. It could be physical effort. It could be stressful situations. Many times that which makes you hate work is what you fear. If you can overcome that, you will be able to perform those task that you know are important and will establish the difference.
Even if you are working too hard and too much, you may still be a victim of this negative tendency if you avoid important tasks because they are “uncomfortable” and spend most of the time working on tasks you like because they are “comfortable.” Sloth opposes zeal and zeal is a predisposition to take care of matters and problems fast.
Zealots do not hide behind the pillow. They take care of important matters quickly. Sometimes procrastination is good. People need some space to find out what they really want to do. On the other hand, some people are always postponing important tasks for the future and they never do anything.
Also See: Too Much, Negative Tendencies, Sins Arise, Physical Work, Work, Much, Most
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