Sloth Is Destroying Your Life
You’ve probably heard of the seven deadly sins, right? These are the unholy terrors of the moral life, lying in wait to trap you and turn you into a thumb-sucking, powerless, grown-up baby.
One of these seven sins is called sloth. Sloth is the captain of the Millennial generation’s lacrosse team. Sloth says, “you deserve a break,” or “look at how hard you work, you’ve got time to take a nap,” or “humans weren’t meant to work this much, you need 10 weeks off every year and an autonomous car to get you to work.”
Sloth is sneaky and clever. He shows up right when you’re at your weakest and whispers in your ear, “stay put, no need to exert yourself, you’re doing great kid!”
“[Sloth is] sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer.” – Fr. John Hardon
Sloth is destroying your life because hard work is not necessary to exist anymore. You can skate by on much less than “maximum effort.” If you really want to, you can eat, drink, and binge-stream yourself into a diabetic, sloth-ridden coma and stay there for the next 30 years.
You shouldn’t be asking yourself “can I?” because you obviously can. You should be asking yourself, “do I want this from life?”
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” – Proverbs 13:4
Sloth, Meet Diligence
If sloth is the dragon Smaug, diligence is Bard’s arrow. Diligence is the siege engine used to lay waste the enemy castle. The diligent person is powerful and indomitable.
“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” – Proverbs 12:24
Many people in the world want a certain kind of life. They want self-control, they want to wake up early and tackle the day, they want to reap the sweet, juicy rewards of a hard day’s work. And yet! How many people are doing these things in their daily life?
Diligence is the virtue by which we do our daily duty, every day, especially when it’s hard. Diligence is a holy habit of acceptance of, and commitment to, work.
Without diligence, we become fat, lazy couch potatoes, content to nurse a coke in front of the latest episode of The Boys till we’re drunk on dopamine and useless to anyone but Satan.
How To Be Diligent
Alright, so you’re convinced. You’re ready to join Arthur’s Knights of the Diligent Table. You’ve just got one problem: how to become a diligent person…
It’s easy! All you have to do is go into your kitchen and throw out all your junk food. Next smash your smartphone with a hammer. After that, you can choose between liposuction and exercise, but those extra 30 pounds have to go…
It’s not easy, but it is simple. If you want to become a diligent person, you need to be more diligent today than you were yesterday. That’s it!
Diligence is not a superpower that you magically unlock at level seven. Diligence is a virtue, which really just means it’s a spiritual habit. We earn the grace to be virtuous by choosing to do virtuous things.
The more virtuous we become, the easier it is to do virtuous things. It’s like an upward spiral that lifts us to the heavens. It’s very different from the downward spiral of Netflix, sugar, and porn.
The best place to start is to find the areas in your life where you struggle the most and begin practicing diligence in those areas.
One of my biggest weaknesses is staying up too late watching TV or scrolling through YouTube. So waking up early is a habit I am working on to counteract my nightly sloth.
“Everything yields to diligence.” – Antiphanes
I’m not perfect, or even close, but the past 2 months I’ve been trying to wake up at 6:00 or earlier. I succeed more than I fail and at this point, my nightly TV habit has lost significant power over me.
The recognition that I must complete my morning duty of waking up gives me the motivation I need to leave the TV off and simply get in bed or read a book if I’m not feeling tired yet. Every morning when I get up, I use the suffering of being tired and the pain of waking early to ask for the graces I need to be more diligent.
So far, it’s working. God is blessing me with more diligence in other areas of my life. By tackling one of my biggest obstacles head-on, I’m earning the graces I need to win on other battlefields in my life.
Go Forth and Be Diligent
The real secret of diligence is in your will. You are a human person, which means you have a choice. Unlike animals, humans make conscious decisions.
At some point in your life, you become aware of a terrifying and empowering truth: if you don’t do it, no one will.
I would bet a lot of money that your life doesn’t look the way you want it to right now. Diligence can fix that. Diligence will set you on a path and build a foundation to foster a holy, peaceful, and meaningful life.
This life is not meant to be a morning walk on the beach in Hawaii. Sometimes we do get to walk on the beach in Hawaii, but most of the time we are facing the daily grind. Diligence keeps us on course. It keeps us grounded. It keeps us moving forward.
I now christen you a Diligence Warrior. You can do it!