Why Laziness is the REAL Mother of Invention

Why Laziness is the REAL Mother of Invention

tp empty rollWhile having lunch with my friend Beverly the other day, she was lamenting various employee challenges- from lack of personal responsibility to downright laziness.

Case in point, the simple act of changing the toilet paper roll in the restroom. She just couldn’t understand how someone could be so lazy that they couldn’t take the 10 seconds to replace the toilet paper roll properly and instead, stack the new roll on top of the TP holder.

tp empty roll 1



Or, even worse, tell themselves they hadn’t actually used the LAST of the TP on the roll.



This age-old act of laziness apparently doesn’t just make Beverly’s blood boil. There are countless articles on the internet ranting about such laziness. In fact, there’s a video on YouTube made by a dad for his teenagers called, “Toilet Roll Changing: Teenage Instructional Video #1,” that has more than 4 million views!

I realize that changing the TP is an extreme example of laziness and it’s hard to come up with an argument that justifies it.

However, if you look at the issue of “laziness” another way, many of our greatest innovations have been been borne from laziness. It is laziness, not necessity, that is the real mother of invention.

The car, microwave, remote control, escalator, calculator, and countless other inventions all came about because we were too “lazy” to walk, cook, get up and change the channel, climb the stairs, and add 1+1 on our own. This type of “laziness” is not about a lack of caring, it’s about finding an easier, better, more efficient way of doing things. In fact, the very definition of efficiency, “Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.” implies that laziness is a requirement!

This type of “laziness” was one of the reasons I started my own business 20 years ago. My daughter was just a few months old when I was offered a job that paid well, but would have required me to work 60 hours per week. I just didn’t want to work those long hours when I had a new baby at home. My “laziness” forced me to get creative and to seek a way to make the same income working fewer hours. I decided to start my own business speaking and facilitating workshops on communication. I started small, speaking at breakfast meetings and luncheons, and as my daughter grew older and went to school, I was able to offer my clients longer workshops and built a thriving business.

So, the next time you’re feeling too “lazy” to do something, take the time to find out why and then get creative in identifying alternatives to get the task done.When you see your employees (or children) being “lazy”, instead of getting frustrated, look for solutions, or even better, ask them to identify solutions or alternatives. You’ll likely find that laziness leads to increased productivity and better, more creative ways of doing things.

That’s what Beverly did. Problem solved.

new tp holder







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One Comments

  1. Beverly Brooks
    21:32 pm

    Keeping my hummingbird feeder clean and filled with fresh solution is difficult in the summer. The solution “turns” quickly in the heat and sun. My laziness to walk 20 feet into the backyard was apparently too difficult for me. So I decided the best way for me to keep up with the cleaning was to place the feeder closer to my kitchen, and closer to my kitchen window. So now, instead of 20 feet, I only have to walk 2 feet. And the payoff is amazing. Cleaner feeder, fresher solution, and up close and personal views of the sweetest flying-emeralds. So my laziness turned into a better birding experience!

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