What makes a motivated student lazy?

Achu asks: I am too lazy in studies. Though my exams are approaching, I’m always sleeping – but I dream of getting rid of my easygoing nature and finding success in life. What should I do?

Hi Achu –

There’s a big word for the situation you’re in, and that’s “Incongruent.”  If you’ve studied geometry, you might know that word – Congruent triangles have all the same angles as each other, for example.  But in psychology (Handsome knows and tells me all this stuff – all I’m an expert in is squirrel hunting and making people happy!), Congruence means that each part of your mind works well with the other parts.  Someone who really wants to be a perfectly behaved child but is scratching bad words into the furniture is not Congruent!  Someone who hates everyone and behaves rudely might be a rotten person, but he is Congruent!

So you, who have great trouble motivating yourself to study, but dream of being a hardworking success, are… not a bad person at all, but Incongruent.  Our job here is to get the two sides to work together.

I often find that, especially when it comes to schoolwork, this problem can come because the person aims too high.  If you’re expecting yourself to do eight hours of homework every night, and get perfect marks, and you realize you’re beginning your homework two hours before you need to go to bed, you’ll get very discouraged.  And instead of doing two hours of great hard work, you’ll say “Oh forget it, I’m a lazy loser, I’ll go watch TV instead.”  When of course you’d do much better by doing those two hours work.  So before anything else, look at your scheduling.  Are you asking yourself to do more than you actually can?  If you can fix that schedule, you’ll instantly feel better all the way.

Similarly, lots of people try to “bite off more than they can chew” in their homework (Of course, I always try to do that, but only with food… if it’s more than I can chew, then that just means I get to be eating it for longer!).  Do you sit down and try to read 100 pages of Physics?  That’s impossible!  Give yourself smaller amounts.  Read ten pages, then call a friend; read ten more, then wash some dishes; read ten more, then check your email… etc.  By letting yourself do less at a time, you’ll actually accomplish more of your work than you otherwise would!

Another reason for Incongruence is often that the student isn’t as interested in their study subjects as they want to be.  I’d love to be a doctor, I think they’re the most wonderful useful beings around.  But I don’t have the brain for that kind of study.  I mastered “Sit,” “Stay,” “Heel”…  okay, I’ve never been all that hot at “stay.”  But when I look at a Biology textbook I just want to chew up the bindings.  I will never be a doctor, can’t be one, no matter how much I’d like to save lives.  You may be trying to succeed in a subject that just isn’t right for you.  Everyone has different interests.  Try to aim for that success in something you find fascinating.  You’ll do better at it, and you’ll have a more enjoyable life too.

Okay, those are some of the more common issues.  But there could be something else.  Some people (actually most people, some of the time) find that something inside them keeps them from succeeding.  Maybe they are partly afraid of what success would do to them, maybe they’re afraid their friends or family wouldn’t like them as much, etc.  If this is the case, I really recommend talking to a school counselor, or even a private therapist.  You might find that it only takes a few visits, just enough to grasp what’s holding you back, so you can do the work you want to do, feel good about it, and become such a success that you walk around wearing a big red cape, with a huge C on your chest… for CONGRUENT!


Good Luck!



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