My wife tells me that I am exceptionally lazy (which I hear as being exceptional…. something :-) ); however my laziness is of a certain peculiar kind in that I will go to great lengths to avoid having to go to great lengths. For instance, in stead of adding to the amount of dirty utensils when I am cooking by using a different pot, a different spoon, etc. for everything, I will tend to combine ingredients in the same pot or rinse off the ladle I am currently using to use it in another pot. Rinsing something off is far easier than letting the food dry and then try to get it off. I will even go so far as to not make certain dishes if they take too long. For instance, I will not spend 60 minutes making something that takes 10 minutes to eat when I can make something in 10 minutes that is just as a fulfilling. Consequently, I rarely leave a mess in the kitchen when I am done.

Actually I am not lazy as much as I am efficient; or so I’d like to think. One of the things that sometimes comes up when people have money trouble is whether to spend less or earn more.

Here a very very very very very common mistake is the inability to tell the difference between price and value. If you are asked whether you prefer to earn more or spend less, you are really being asked about your price preference. What you actually should be concerned about is: “How do I get more value with less effort?”

If we return to the cooking example above and use it analogously to the way GDP is measured; it is clear that if someone uses three different pots and pans to make a sauce; three ladles, two knives, a cutting board, plus the mess that is left on the kitchen table, then that person would contribute more to GDP. That person would be more productive and we all hail productivity as being virtuous. Why some people actually believe that being industrious is sure to guarantee them a good seat in the afterlife. Conversely, making spaghetti sauce with a pot, a plate, a fork and a knife (which you will later use for eating it) is considered a sacrilegious form of laziness. It is definitely not considered nearly as productive even though the end result is the same.

Actually as with practically anything that does not fit their conformist thinking, the good people at Psychologists’R’Us have deemed laziness a personality disorder. And it will send you straight to hell too according to religion. Funny them.

When presented with the normal way of doing things, which is to get a job and the proceed to spend all the money one makes, my first inclination was to be lazy in the spending process. This certainly did require some learning. Such transitions are always hard. I remember when I started shinkendo and all the moves where unfamiliar. I must admit that I did not really enjoy feeling stupid on the mat; however, I got over it and kept learning, and now most moves are familiar to me. It is the same thing with being properly lazy, I mean, efficient. For instance, with books, in my ignorant state, my only option was to either not read them (and contrary to the 42% of college graduates who never again open a book, a number which is actually higher than the number for high school graduates at 33%, I love reading) or read things on the internet. Today, I have many sources of books (library and swapping) and do not find the choices lacking AND I pay almost nothing.

Following this transition I discovered how to get the same value for 3/4 of what I previously spent. Now at that point I did not actively seek to work less and simply did what I enjoyed doing regardless of what it paid. If you enjoy what you do, I see no problem with making money from it. I like money. My issue is that by being efficient, making more money is kinda like making more icecreams when you already had a couple.

Imagine that ice cream was the sole purpose of life. Now, most people would be working hard to make 4 ice cream cones. They would then proceed to drop one on the ground on their way home (that’s the cost of transportation, more of less, at 20%), lose another one in one of their many bedrooms (that’s the cost of large housing, another 25%), and after eating one, decide that that was good enough, put the one in the fridge and then forget it was there (that is pretty much the stuff everybody buys and never use). Now excuse me for being dense, but what would the purpose be to ask your boss for more responsibility or negotiate a higher salary, for instance, a 5th ice cream cone if all it did in general was perhaps to allow you to lose it on the way one, forget it in the bathroom, or drop it in your garage?

Yes, I know it is an affront not to want to make more of them. If I say I only make one ice cream cone, people will think I am starving and eating dirt because clearly I am a clutch like everyone else and drop my food all over without getting to eat it and with only one cone it seems impossible that I would get to eat it. I know that. I have tried to explain that one only needs to be careful with the one cone and then that’s all you really need and we both have ice cream, but apparently I am not the only one being dense :-D