6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor

By Max Wong on 23 December 2015 0 comments

Sloth — probably the weirdest of the seven deadly sins. How did it make it onto a short list alongside wrath and greed? What's so bad about being a master in relaxation?

English speakers tend to translate sloth as laziness, but sloth is kind of the super group of bad behaviors, encompassing not just laziness, but also apathy, dejection, and indifference. And, although Western Culture tends to reference sloth within the context of Catholicism's seven deadly sins, most cultures and religious traditions around the world think that sloth is really, really bad because it impoverishes people in so many ways. Here's how this sin is keeping you poor. (See also: 25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People)

1. It Destroys Professional Relationships

The main reason why sloth is globally loathed is that it often involves the exploitation of others. The slothful will turn in the bare minimum required at any job, forcing coworkers to pick up the slack. This willingness to squander other people's time, always results in hard feelings. No one likes to feel used. So if your professional growth is stunted by a sloth-like reputation, you can kiss any future raises goodbye.

2. It Degrades Potential

Work is worship. The journey is the destination. The reason why these maxims exist is because it is the hard process of many activities that results in enlightenment, not the end goal. For example, while regular yoga practice can result in a firmer butt, yoga was designed as a preparation for meditation.

The demon of sloth is Belphegor. One of the seven princes of Hell, Belphegor tempts humans to the dark side by offering them time-saving gadgets. What a master of seduction, am I right? Because who doesn't want to find an invention that replaces real work? Alas, innovation and great achievement rarely come from taking the easy route.

By yielding to sloth, a person is giving up personal and professional growth in exchange for mediocrity. And nobody becomes successful or wealthy by settling for mediocrity.

3. It Makes Work/Life Balance Impossible

Sloth sounds like the most un-American of vices. Say what you will about us, but we're nothing if not industrious. However, we all have that friend who constantly complains about his job. He could quit or switch to a less stressful gig, but his pride gets in the way. He humble-brags about never taking a vacation, and then calls into the office while on holiday, under the assumption that the world will fall apart without him. Sloths will often spend a lot of time just spinning their wheels, rather than creating anything of lasting value.

4. It Erodes Common Sense

I hate camping. Inevitably, I get stuck sharing a tent with the person who wakes up in the middle of the night and needs to pee. But, instead of putting on her shoes and going outside where she might have to be cold for a few minutes, she instead stays inside the tent and keeps me awake by tossing and turning for hours in discomfort. While common sense would dictate that a few moments of cold would be worth several hours of sleep, Belphegor is the devil that you know. And sloth is ultimately about pain avoidance, to the dumbest degree.

On a more serious note, the inability to make tough, but necessary decisions can do serious damage to a person's future, when the devil that you know is a terrible job.

5. It Puts Pleasure Out of Reach

Dante describes sloth as a slow love that cannot uplift. Cloistered monks nicknamed sloth the "Noonday Devil." The Latin translation for sloth comes closer to the word acedia, which Thomas Aquinas described as "the sorrow of the world." Acedia is that low-grade feeling of ennui, that sense that life is just passing by. Sloth makes it hard to think big or dream of a better life. Which will make it impossible to chase those dreams and achieve personal and professional success.

6. It Harms Your Health

As it turns out, a sorrow for the world can also damage a person's physical and mental health. That "Meh" feeling is actually low-grade anxiety, which can raise levels of cortisol, the body's stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels are not only associated with mood disorders and depression, but also put people at a greater risk for heart disease and diabetes. And nothing destroys your finances like rapidly accumulating medical bills.

Are you stuck in sloth-mode? Share in the comments section!

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