This Friday, we were happy to have Asmongold, a YouTuber and Twitch streamer known for streaming World of Warcraft, sit down with Dr. K of HealthyGamer and talk about his fear of death, his struggle with laziness, and how the latter affects his life.
Apathy And Detachment
Asmongold occasionally has moments of enlightenment, in which he confronts his fears, and as a result, those fears stop holding power over him. In these moments of enlightenment, he realizes the infinity of existence and reality, and his problems seem to appear minuscule in comparison. That makes him wonder that since nothing really matters in the grand scheme of things, why should he stop being lazy and do the things that he needs to do?
Dr. K pointed out that there is a fine line between apathy and detachment. While those moments of enlightenment provide a similar thought, that thought is aimed in the opposite direction.
Apathy is the feeling of not caring about something at all, whereas Vairagya, the Sanskrit word for detachment, means letting go of the illusion of control over the consequences of actions in the future, while still being invested in taking action in the present.
Laziness And Motivation
Asmongold’s understanding of his laziness was that he is lazy because it is easier to not do something than it is to do it.
Dr. K said that while that is true, it is an insufficient understanding of motivation. Our mind runs based on a behavior equation — it has reasons to engage in certain behaviors as well as not engage in them at all.
Using the bathroom is a simple example of motivation. When we drink fluids, our bladder fills up. Whether we use the bathroom or not depends on how full our bladder is. If it is not filled up, and if the bathroom is easily available (we are not engaged in something else, like gaming), then we would most likely use the bathroom. However, if our bladder is full, and it is sending a signal to our brain to tell us to use the bathroom, we will probably not use it if we are engaged in an intense game of League of Legends.
At the end of the day, we do certain things and not do others because that behavior equation is tipped in the favor of certain actions, based on variables such as availability and immediacy.
If you want to learn more about motivation, check out our webinar here!
Laziness is Not a Problem
Asmongold recounted that sometimes he has had problems that he has put off for so long, that they actually went away. He did not take care of his teeth, and as a result, some of them fell off.
Dr. K agreed that while it is bad to put off your problems, being lazy is not necessarily a problem in itself. Our brain has evolved to become this complex organ that is extremely efficient. For example, the reason children start to skip instead of walk around the age of 7 is that skipping is more efficient than walking because of their height, muscle, and body mass.
Dr. K has explained procrastination and how to deal with it in our webinar series. Check it out here!
Similarly, laziness is the result of our mind being efficient. Unless there is an urgency to do something, our mind does not urge us to do it. It does not want to invest time and energy into something that it perceives as unnecessary.
How Knowledge Affects Behaviour
Dr. K pulled out his iPad and went into lecture mode — he explained that fear and shame contribute to laziness. In order to not be lazy, we need to reduce these emotions. However, engaging in thought experiments and logically deducing the reason behind our fears and feelings of shame does not help.
He explained that there are two words for knowledge in Sanskrit. The first one is Vidya, which refers to information that is objective and transmittable. Vidya does not lead to behavioral change — knowing that smoking causes lung cancer is not enough to get a person to quit.
The second Sanskrit word is Jnyana, which refers to knowledge that is subjective, experiential, and non-transmittable. Jnyana refers to first-hand experiences whereas Vidya is second-hand experience.
“Jnyana is what leads to long-term behavioral change” – Dr. K
The key to Asmongold overcoming his laziness does not lie in the present or in the future. It lies in training his mind to become focused on the present moment and finding an emotional reason to not be lazy.
Overcoming Laziness With Dharma
Dharma is the Sanskrit word for duty or responsibility. Dharma is what allows us to do the hard things in life — it allows us to choose pain over pleasure in the service of something greater.
Asmongold’s dharma is to his viewers. Dr. K helped him realize that he has a responsibility to show his viewers that they can be a failure in life, and still have a life worth living. He realized that he needs to fix his teeth and face his fear of going to the dentist, not for his sake, but for the sake of his viewers.
He needs to get his teeth fixed so that he can empower his viewers to face their fears and problems in life. That is his dharma.
Check out the full interview!
As gamers, we are very aware of how being lazy affects us, but it is rare to find a frame of reference through which we can understand our laziness and deal with procrastination so that we can move forward in life.
Even though laziness can be the result of our mind being efficient, we are not doomed – we can use dharma and work towards bettering our lives by focusing on our duties and responsibilities.
Good luck gamers!