The Navy SEALs Are the Right Kind of 'Lazy'
The best way to get the results we want isn’t always going all in with maximum effort.
They hunt the world’s most dangerous terrorists, perform rescue missions of the highest risk, and are capable of staying awake for 72 straight hours.
But a pair of Navy SEALs say the elite units that are the envy of the military and beyond wouldn’t be as effective if they weren’t also lazy at times.
“I always say the ‘L’ in SEAL stands for lazy,” longtime SEAL commander Mike Hayes recently said on the Jocko Willink Podcast. “We find the easiest path to go achieve the goal because that gives you more time, effort and energy for the next problem — or it lets you rest and recover for the next problem.”
While “lazy” may be a relatively dirty word in leadership that few want to identify with, there are various instances where it’s long-term beneficial for us to take a path of lesser resistance.
Good lazy involves:
• Abandoning a mission that makes very little sense
• Delegating on decisions that are fairly inconsequential
• Conserving maximum energy for the tasks with the greatest significance
Bad lazy represents:
• Putting forth little effort because we’re tired
• Doing what’s convenient over what’s right
• Cutting corners and greatly compromising the quality of the product
“A bunch of little decisions will be made that are fairly inconsequential, but insecure people become overbearing and hands on,” Hayes said.
As summer proceeds and we begin to shift our focus to next season, the next business quarter, the next major items on our to-do lists, we may also want to consider how we can be lazier to achieve our desired outcomes.
The most effective way to get the results we covet isn’t always going all in with maximum effort.
Sometimes, it’s making a quick, sound decision, then moving on to a more important problem.