Laziness in itself will not make you a virtuoso. There are still many negative aspects to laziness that will be detrimental to your career. Instead, let's define laziness in different terms. Working smarter in less time.
This article title probably excited the inner sloth in you, but let's get this out of the way first: obviously, doing nothing at all will not create progress. There is a popular belief that we should praise hard work in society while punishing those who are lazy. Kids who underachieve in class are seen as having a poor work ethic. Overweight people are portrayed as idiotic burdens to society. In general, laziness and failure go hand and hand, so it's not often that you'll hear someone praise that quality.
Society has demonized lazy people, but it doesn't consider how dangerous the alternative is as well. Hard work is simply overrated. In fact, laziness might breed more productivity than hard work. Laziness, in this sense, means doing more with less. So, let's look at five reasons why this laid-back style of working can actually be helpful to your music career.
1. It helps you focus on what's important
Overworked musicians are busy stressing about every little aspect of their careers. Because of this, they may fail to see the big picture. "Slackers," on the other hand, don't think too much about the little things in life. They don't run around like a panicked chicken trying to do everything in the world.
"Lazy" people will instead focus on what's most important and get to work on that. They're able to organize their to-do list in a unique way, because who really has time to do all that other stuff?
As much as the slacker and over-worker may differ, it's a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Those who work smarter are able to use those who work harder for those small, less important tasks. Meanwhile, the hard worker might be too stressed to see the big picture, and the slacker will actually come to pick up the slack. The slacker realizes that he or she may have to say "no" to certain things in order to tackle the main goal at hand.
These people think efficiently and effectively. They're not just being lazy – they just want to get a positive result at a faster rate.
2. It helps save time and energy
Smarter, "lazier" workers never want to do more work than they have to. For this reason, they'll seek out ways to maximize efficiency. Maximizing efficiency helps save time and energy. Not only will the smart worker find an efficient way to tackle a problem, but he or she will do so in a way that it stays tackled. A small, quick fix will only result in more work down the road. The smart "lazy" worker would rather do it right the first time to prevent having to do it again later.
In music, hard workers will practice a piece over and over again until they feel it's mastered. Smart workers, on the other hand, would rather spend more time experimenting with different, but more effective practice methods than a conventional one that might not even work. For example, a creative method of fingering, a different way to space out breaths, a more efficient warm-up, and even better equipment will all help streamline practice sessions.
If there's a better, easier way to do something, the smart worker will do it to save valuable time and energy.
3. It helps you become a better musician
Smart and "lazy" workers always start a task with the end goal in sight. As we saw in the last point, the last thing they want to do is waste time doing work. For this reason, they won't risk wandering in the wrong direction.
If they want to learn a song, smart workers tend to find out what the song sounds like first, and then figure out the technical details later. Hard workers, on the other hand, would learn all the technical aspects first. By the end, they've spent so much time doing that that they now have a poor sense of the "musicality" of the piece, thus resulting in a less authentic rendition.
"Lazy" musicians let the music steer the way they learn a piece. They prefer to know where a given song will go first. That way, they aren't lost in the technicality alone.
4. It helps you become more productive
If lazy workers don't know the purpose of something before doing it, then they won't even attempt the effort. For example, if someone tells them to learn a song or practice a certain way, smart workers will usually ask, "Why?"
They won't do something purely because they were told to do it. They want to ensure that this will be a productive effort, and part of that is knowing the game plan. The benefit of this thought process is, of course, productivity. The end result for a smart worker is always something substantial. They'll come away from practice learning something of value.
5. It helps you become a better performer
People assume that lazy workers will only do things halfway, but it's quite the opposite. Smart workers don't see the benefit of doing anything halfway. To them, just going through the motions or taking part in something of less value is a waste of time. Slackers have better things to do. If they're going to get involved in a project, you can guarantee that it will lead to something great.
Smart workers would join a band that speaks to them on a meaningful level. They would rather be part of something substantial to them personally than take part in what society says should be done. This kind of thought process breeds passion, and passion makes for a quality performance.
Additionally, smart workers know what they're good at. They want to take the path of least resistance by following their strengths. They don't waste time trying to become a musician they're not. They know what to do and how to do it well. Onstage, this translates to a confident and skilled performer, which, in turn, makes them better musicians all around.
Smart work is really the key to success. Cut out all the unnecessary objectives in your life, and your music career will benefit from it.
Anthony Cerullo is a nomadic freelance writer and keyboard player. In his spare time, he can be found reading, hiking mountains, and lying in hammocks for extended periods of time.