The current British heatwave has made marg-sipping, park-lounging, responsibility-avoiding sloths of us all. But if you consider yourself a little on the inactive side regardless of the weather, I’ve got good news. It turns out that your so-called “lazy” behaviour could actually be a sign of intelligence. So stop considering your reluctance to do that 5K run before breakfast a character flaw, friends, because your attitude might actually suggest you’re just really, wonderfully clever.
Although productivity’s often presented as a moral virtue in today’s society (something that warrants a whole debunking of its own), there’s several behaviours commonly perceived as laziness that are, in fact, associated with unusually high intelligence — by proper scientists and all.
If you’ve long lamented your inability to keep your desk tidy, tried and failed to start assignments any other time than the night before the deadline, or despaired at how much time you’ve spent doing absolutely nothing at all, you could be in possession of a pretty giant IQ. Suspect you might be a secret genius? Or just want some scientific evidence to get someone off your case and let you sit on the couch? Keep reading. Here are five behaviours people deem lazy that are actually signs of intelligence. (You’re welcome.)
You Don’t Always Want To Socialise
A 2016 study conducted by psychologists from the London School of Economics and Singapore Management University proposed that more intelligent people were less happy the more they socialised with their close friends. The report, according to the Washington Post, posited that in general, “the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness” — except for “more intelligent individuals”, who were “less satisfied with life if they socialised with their friends more frequently.” Skipping after-work drinks for another night on the settee? Perhaps you’re not lazy after all — it might just be down to your big old brain.
You’d Rather Chill With Your Cat Than Walk A Dog
Which appeals to you more, an hour-long walk with a dog, or a cat gracing your lap with its presence? Well, although some might think the latter ay indicate you’re lazy, it could actually be a sign of intelligence, and not just an inclination to remain sedentary. Huffington Post reports that “cat lovers scored higher on intelligence than dog lovers” in a 2014 survey by Carroll University researchers. “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” Professor Denise Guastello explained, “Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.” The study did state, however, that the type of pet your prefer may also be influenced by different environments.
You Leave Everything Until The Very Last Minute
For more persistent procrastinators, it’s not about a reluctance to do the work — it’s about a desire to do the work perfectly, and a resulting fear that they might not do so. As Psychology Today reported, “people with strong perfectionistic tendencies, who want to make sure that their work is completely correct, may complete their tasks on time but stall as long as possible before they turn them in to be evaluated.” It’s not that you don’t care about doing something — it’s that you’re so committed to doing it to an extremely high standard that you begin to worry you won’t achieve it, and thus delay the task.
You Live In Messy Chaos
It might sound like a convenient fact you’d scream at your poor mother as a teenager, but it turns out it might be true: as the Independent reports, untidiness might actually be linked to creativity and intelligence, according to a study by the University of Minnesota. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe,” psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs explained. You hear that, Mum? Disorderly environments can produce fresh insights.
You’re Perfectly Content Doing Nothing At All
In 2017, the Independent reported on a US study that suggested less active people tended to be more intelligent. Researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University suggested that “people with a high IQ get bored less easily, leading them to spend more time engaged in thought,” while “active people may be more physical as they need to stimulate their minds with external activities, either to escape their thoughts or because they get bored quickly”. So, if you could spend an eternity just sitting and ruminating, it might be nothing to do with idleness, but instead down to an over-abundance of ideas.
Punish yourself no longer, chronic procrastinators, reluctant socialisers, and messy-desk-possessors: it turns out it’s not laziness but your giant intellect that’s to blame. Go on, lie that enormous brain down for a nap with pride.