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pendell
2012-07-17, 03:49 PM
This is from the military science classification system (http://www.politicalpoet.com/leadership.asp). I tend towards the brilliant and industrious -- I'd be surprised if there's anyone on these fora who aren't "brilliant" compared to the average population.

But I literally work too hard. I work evenings and weekends and holidays and at some point one has to say "enough".

There are, in fact, niches for brilliant and lazy people. In the military, 'lazy' means a constant quest for shortcuts i.e. efficiency. In programming, it means writing a cool bit of software to do your job instead of crunching the numbers by hand for hours.

I ask this because I work in DC, and DC is the cult of the overachiever. It's a common thing in government service among the highest ranks. Both Holbrooke (the man who brokered the Dayton accords) and the Emperor Justinian (from the Byzantine Empire) were noted for their long hours. Holbrook in particular was noted for 18 hour days, 5 hours of sleep a night.

Right to the point his aorta tore during a meeting.

That happens a lot to people who push themselves. And I'm the same way. And the thing is I'm working on minibars. MINIBARS! I can see killing myself like that for national defense or as a paramedic, but are minibars worth working oneself into an early grave?

I say not.

Problem is, all my heroes from fiction are overachievers too.


So does anyone have some alternative heroes? People who do great deeds but still are smart enough to pace themselves?

Incidentally, "lazy" and "industrious" are relative terms here. "lazy" in this definition doesn't mean "stays home playing games and doesn't work a full time job". It means "doesn't work 18 hour days".

ETA: From the air force manual (http://books.google.com/books?id=cxW9F2B__3wC&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=%22brilliant+and+lazy%22+military&source=bl&ots=POjRn6W36h&sig=9dZNS5whhpiyJdLRf-nA1DQBx2Q&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WNEFUOGZPM6G0QH1i83HCA&ved=0CEsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22brilliant%20and%20lazy%22%20military&f=false)

Respectfully,

Brian P.

snoopy13a
2012-07-17, 04:00 PM
Mycroft Holmes (he's a really minor character though).

TheEmerged
2012-07-17, 04:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikamaru

"How Bothersome."

Tengu_temp
2012-07-17, 05:17 PM
Shikama...d'oh! Mycro...damnit! The best examples were mentioned already. Okay then, Yang Wen Li from Legend of Galactic Heroes. A complete slacker and drunkard who is also a devilishly cunning military commander.

In fact, have a list (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrilliantButLazy). Some examples don't fit because TV Tropes is TV Tropes, but it should be helpful regardless.


I'd be surprised if there's anyone on these fora who aren't "brilliant" compared to the average population.

Oh, I'd say there's quite a bit of such people around here, actually. Nerds are notorious for overestimating their own intelligence, and I've seen people say some really dumb, ignorant things on these forums.

Jade Dragon
2012-07-17, 06:23 PM
Parson Getti, the perfect warlord (or at least, as perfect as the divination/summoning spell could find with the physical requirement of "big").

Oh, and I forgot about Shikamaru. He's probably my second favorite Naruto character (right behind Rock Lee in first).

pendell
2012-07-17, 07:35 PM
Thanks. Interesting examples.

Want to speak to the Tv Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrilliantButLazy) page to explain why it's not quite what I'm looking for.

Y'see, most of these people on these pages are underachievers. They have a great deal of wasted potential because they don't have a work ethic.

That's not a problem for the military people in the pages I linked. Everyone has a work ethic or they never make it out of OTC/ROTC/Service Academies/what have you.

The line there is not between "underachievers who waste their potential" and "people with an actual work ethic". The line is between "people who work a reasonable amount, and use brilliance to offset their lack of energy" and "people who work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week".

An example of what I speak would be the person who created the four categories, and therefore I assume falls into that category. That would be Erich Von Manstein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_von_Manstein). Nobody ever accused him of being lazy or wasting his potential -- he was at the top of his field, one of the best generals his country ever produced.

A work ethic is vital to success, but it has its limits (http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/stop-working-more-than-40-hours-a-week.html). That goes doubly true in *my* field, which is software engineering. I've worked besides programmers who were productive but took time to goof off, and serious programmers who never did. I've had to go behind them and clean up their bugs, too. I know I VERY much prefer to work with the first , because they seem to have the creative edge that allows them to do things drones cannot.

Good thoughts, anyway. More examples welcome!

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Jade Dragon
2012-07-17, 08:13 PM
Yeah, I thought that you might not've meant underachievers.

That's why I said Parson Getti. Because he's not.

Terraoblivion
2012-07-18, 12:07 AM
Some of the tvtropes examples still fit, including some where the writing doesn't leave it readily apparent.

Yukari Yakumo springs to mind, she's seemingly just a lazy weirdo who sleeps 14 hours a day, hibernates through winter and only gets out to get drunk or troll people. Yet she created the entire setting and has spent more than a century on careful social engineering to domesticate feral, man-eating monsters to the point where they hang out and has tea parties with humans and resolve conflicts with competitive light shows. There are also numerous hints throughout Touhou that she's been waging a shadow war against an arrogant society of space elves for more than a millennium. She's just also set things up so that the system mostly runs itself with little hands-on maintenance from her.

Sho Minamimoto also utilizes his intellect quite a bit to constructive purposes, even if it is not readily apparent. The spoiler explains how. I'm sure there are several other examples, but I don't know most of them.

Also, reading the first real life entry is kinda uncomfortable.

Tengu_temp
2012-07-18, 12:22 AM
From my experience with LoGH, Yang pretty much fits those new criteria. He's not a lazy-ass who has to be poked to do anything, he just doesn't like working hard.

Nanoha Takamachi from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series qualifies in the "works normally and paces herself reasonably instead of overachieving" way. She learned it personally that overexerting yourself by constantly pushing yourself to the limit is a very bad thing and if your job is dangerous it might kill you, and teaches the same lesson to the rookies she's training, even punishing one who went beyond her reasonable training regime and started to overwork herself by training day and night. As for the brilliant part, she's ridiculously talented with math, and in that show magic pretty much runs on math, so yeah.
Quite a welcome change from how anime usually handles overachieving and working yourself to the bone, namely glorifying it to an unhealthy degree.



Also, reading the first real life entry is kinda uncomfortable.

Sounds accurate to me though, from personal experience. Primary school and junior high were ridiculously easy for me, I didn't need to work at all to get awesome grades. High school was harder, but I still didn't study much and managed to pull through mostly on inertia, even if my grades weren't so awesome anymore. After getting to university level it took me a long time to actually learn how to study hard, and I'm still not entirely used to it. Would be a lot easier now if I had to study even during my formative years,.

Inglenook
2012-07-18, 12:36 AM
Jaye Tyler from Wonderfalls. Incredibly intelligent but no real motivation in life and no people skills. (She works at a gift shop and is openly rude/snarky to the vast majority of people she encounters).

She does great things with regularity, though … although it's probably because she's forced into doing them.

Terraoblivion
2012-07-18, 12:41 AM
Sounds accurate to me though, from personal experience. Primary school and junior high were ridiculously easy for me, I didn't need to work at all to get awesome grades. High school was harder, but I still didn't study much and managed to pull through mostly on inertia, even if my grades weren't so awesome anymore. After getting to university level it took me a long time to actually learn how to study hard, and I'm still not entirely used to it. Would be a lot easier now if I had to study even during my formative years,.

Why do you think it's uncomfortable? Hitting the point where you actually have to work in grad school is pretty rough to put it mildly.

pendell
2012-07-18, 09:06 AM
Good thoughts, all!

I found something online that speaks to the phenomenon I'm aiming at ... written by Isaac Asimov. You may have heard of him (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_asimov).

Anyways, he discusses The Eureka phenomenon (http://newviewoptions.com/The-Eureka-Phenomenon-by-Isaac-Asimov.pdf)



In the old days, when I was writing a great deal of fiction, there would come, once in a while, moments when I was stymied. Suddenly, I would find I had written myself into a hole and could see no way out. To take care of that, I developed a technique which invariably worked.

It was simply this-I went to the movies. Not just any movie. I had to pick a movie which was loaded with action but which made no demands on the intellect. As I watched, I did my best to avoid any conscious thinking concerning my problem, and when I came out of the movie I knew
exactly what I would have to do to put the story back on the track. It never failed.

In fact, when I was working on my doctoral dissertation, too many years ago, I suddenly came across a flaw in my logic that I had not noticed before and that knocked out everything I had done.

In utter panic, I made my way to a Bob Hope movie-and came out with the necessary change in point of view.

It is my belief, you see, that thinking is a double phenomenon like breathing ...

Well, you can think by deliberate voluntary action, too, and I don't think it is much more efficient on the whole than voluntary breath control is. You can deliberately force your mind through channels of deductions and associations in search of a solution to some problem and before long you have dug mental furrows for yourself and find yourself circling round and round the same limited pathways. If those pathways yield no solution, no amount of further conscious thought will help.

On the other hand, if you let go, then the thinking process comes under automatic involuntary control and is more apt to take new pathways and make erratic associations you would not think of consciously. The solution will then come while you think you are not thinking.

The trouble is, though, that conscious thought involves no muscular action and so there is no sensation of physical weariness that would force you to quit. What's more, the panic of necessity tends to force you to go on uselessly, with each added bit of useless effort adding to the panic in a
vicious cycle.

It is my feeling that it helps to relax, deliberately, by subjecting your mind to material complicated enough to occupy the voluntary faculty of thought, but superficial enough not to engage the deeper involuntary one. In my case, it is an action movie; in your case, it might be something else.



Was Isaac Asimov lazy or an underachiever? Look at his bibliography and judge for yourself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov_bibliography). The reason he was a genius and so prolific was precisely BECAUSE he gave himself time to relax and rest up. When you have a job like his, a bit of foolery or time-wasting makes you MORE productive, not less.

But it doesn't help at all if you're in a job like, say, a forklift operator or a truck driver.

So the trick is not so much to change your way of doing things as it is to bust your tail to find a niche where your particular virtues and vices make you good at your job. But it has indeed been my experience as a developer that programmers who take the time to play, to be creative, are MUCH better at their jobs than those who simply stay on task and take no recreation, following the idea of "Get your job done at all costs".

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Adlan
2012-07-21, 02:47 PM
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_van_Rijn is a lazy, hedonistic genius.

Selrahc
2012-07-21, 03:30 PM
Gregory House is a textbook example. And in general a lot of characters from the Sherlock Holmes archetype fit this as well. Only willing to engage with cases that stimulate them, otherwise doing as little as possible and looking for shortcuts through that.

I'd also say that most "Hands off" commander types fit the character type layed out in the link, even if you wouldn't generally think of them as lazy. People like Picard and Adama are certainly willing to delegate out most of everything and sit back in their chairs, giving oversight. They won't act for the sake of action.

In Discworld, Ridcully certainly fits this archetype. Vetinari arguably does as well, since he has set up an entire system designed to tick away without his micromanagement. Nanny Ogg embodies this when compared to Granny Weatherwax.

I'm kind of thinking of this as somebody who when presented with a problem, looks for a cheat first. Spoiler list of other examples

Iron Man (fairly consistently)
Lex Luthor (some characterizations)
Tyrion Lannister
Dirk Gently (and indeed, most other characters written by Douglas Adams, who seems to have had a rather severe case of this himself.)
Asterix
Blackadder
The Pigs in Animal Farm


They will certainly be underdeveloped in fiction compared to the Brilliant Industrious. Because the brilliant lazy are less active characters... more likely to disengage and work away from a problem and therefore difficult to write for. And also because protagonists tend to be rather flawless characters, as a whole. It's a lot easier to find comedic examples, but a lot of lazy characters tend to be stupid.

Mordokai
2012-07-21, 03:53 PM
Calvin, from Calvin&Hobbes. Smart, but lazy as hell.

Hell, just check this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrilliantButLazy). You're bound to find some interesting examples.

hamishspence
2012-07-22, 10:58 AM
Heinlein had one or two of these. "The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail" was one example.

dehro
2012-07-22, 01:49 PM
every drunken fist master in every wuxia movie ever.

Jade Dragon
2012-07-22, 05:28 PM
Calvin, from Calvin&Hobbes. Smart, but lazy as hell.

Hell, just check this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrilliantButLazy). You're bound to find some interesting examples.

...You didn't read the thread at all, did you?

Seriously, even the link in the first post pretty much defines it as "guy who's a lateral thinker", rather than any particular laziness.

dehro
2012-07-22, 05:49 PM
does this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DzcOCyHDqc)qualify?

pendell
2012-07-22, 05:52 PM
YES. Absolutely, positively, YES.

One of my favorite scenes in movie-making, BTW.


Respectfully,

Brian P.

Crow
2012-07-22, 10:54 PM
What about James T. Kirk?

Kindablue
2012-07-23, 12:27 AM
It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books—setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them. That was Carlyle's procedure in Sartor Resartus, Butler's in The Fair Haven—though those books suffer under the imperfection that they themselves are books, and not a whit less tautological than the others. A more reasonable, more inept, and more lazy man, I have chosen to write notes on imaginary books.

—Jorge Luis Borges, Foreword to The Garden of Forking Paths, trans. Andrew Hurley

Kd7sov
2012-07-29, 08:39 PM
I'm not sure whether he's quite what you're looking for, but the first character to come to mind is Breeze, from the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson. He has, to simplify a bit, the ability to selectively calm people's emotions - to, for instance, make them less nervous, or alternately make them more nervous by soothing their confidence away. He uses a combination of this and his natural people skills to get everyone else to do things for him, from refilling his cup to overthrowing the immortal tyrant who rules the world. He's not a bad person, but he definitely is selfish, smart, and lazy - and quite willing to admit to any or all of those. Also he gets most of the best lines.

Tergon
2012-07-29, 08:58 PM
About 75% of characters who fit Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass) or Obfuscating Stupidity (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ObfuscatingStupidity) would qualify here, probably.

However, I'd nominate three that I think fit the bill perfectly here, both from the same creators: Bart and Homer Simpson, and Phillip J. Fry.

Think about it. They're all indescribably huge slackers, actively take great pains to avoid doing anything that even vaguely resembles work, and everyone around them has no hesitation in considering them to be lazy, unreliable, crooked, dishonest idiots. Bart's more malevolent than the other two, and Fry's nicer but dumber, but all three are definitely animated examples of what you don't want your kids to grow up to be.

That is, until things get serious and they actually have to swing into action and help out. At which point all three of them have executed some pretty clever plans of action and pulled off some mightily impressive stunts to save the day - right before scratching their butts and going back home to watch cartoons and eat themselves stupid.

Perfect examples.

Weezer
2012-07-29, 09:37 PM
Heinlein had one or two of these. "The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail" was one example.

That's a great story. And not only because I fit into that style of lazy...

Closet_Skeleton
2012-07-30, 04:47 AM
Quite a welcome change from how anime usually handles overachieving and working yourself to the bone, namely glorifying it to an unhealthy degree.

Then it back tracks and has Nanoha over-exert herself horribly in actual battles.


Sounds accurate to me though, from personal experience. Primary school and junior high were ridiculously easy for me, I didn't need to work at all to get awesome grades. High school was harder, but I still didn't study much and managed to pull through mostly on inertia, even if my grades weren't so awesome anymore. After getting to university level it took me a long time to actually learn how to study hard, and I'm still not entirely used to it. Would be a lot easier now if I had to study even during my formative years,.

I found that too and pretty much everyone I talked to about it in real life agreed with me.

My university course didn't involve any actual studying (due to not having any exams, just coursework} and I had to drop out because I just didn't have any experience what so ever in working in that kind of environment.

I blame the relaxing in the school system after they (sensibly) banned canning and beating of students. I remember hearing some Education Guru saying some nonsense about 'teaching through play' and that sounds stupid. I'm of course almost certainly misinterpreting what his point was but an adult can't teach a child to play because the child probably knows a lot more about playing than the adult does. My ideal primary school would be one that doesn't reward intelligence at all, just hard work. Or it would only reward thinking outside of the box style intelligence, not just "I can process numbers easier than other kids" kind of intelligence that schools seem to think is the only form of intelligence (unless they talk about 'emotional intelligence' which is nonsense, I'm jealous of people who are good with empathy and stuff but what they do isn't a form of 'intelligence'). If I wrote an exam paper you would only score like 80% if you got every question correct and the remaining 20% would be at the examiners discretion and only be awarded if you did something like show that you've done extra research that wasn't on the syllabus or solved a problem in a way that I hadn't intended you to.

Maybe its just that I don't live in America (or in a non-English speaking country where I learned American English) but I don't really get the word 'studying'. We just don't use it in England until Unversity level (in which case its just used to describe things generally, eg "I'm studying art at University" and if you're at a posh institution its replaced by 'reading' as in "I'm reading literature at Oxford"), its either 'revision' if its for exams or its just 'school work'.

Themrys
2012-07-30, 05:36 AM
I ask this because I work in DC, and DC is the cult of the overachiever. It's a common thing in government service among the highest ranks. Both Holbrooke (the man who brokered the Dayton accords) and the Emperor Justinian (from the Byzantine Empire) were noted for their long hours. Holbrook in particular was noted for 18 hour days, 5 hours of sleep a night.

Right to the point his aorta tore during a meeting.

That happens a lot to people who push themselves. And I'm the same way. And the thing is I'm working on minibars. MINIBARS! I can see killing myself like that for national defense or as a paramedic, but are minibars worth working oneself into an early grave?

I say not.

Problem is, all my heroes from fiction are overachievers too.


So does anyone have some alternative heroes? People who do great deeds but still are smart enough to pace themselves?


Honestly, I don't think work is bad for your health per se. What is bad for your health is stress - the feeling that you need to achieve a certain goal or something terrible will happen.

If you are not lazy, you should be able to decide that you want to sleep 8 hours a night and just do it. Just add it on your list of things you need to do. Do the same with holidays.

There must be a fictional character who is like this, but I can't think of one at the moment...Lu Tze of the Discworld series might count - he does get a lot of work done, usually without undue haste. I wouldn't describe him as lazy, but he is definitely not the kind of person who dies from stress-induced chronic illnesses.

Sith_Happens
2012-08-05, 06:55 PM
There's an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex where Section 9 has to stop a sort-of-maybe-communist cyborg from assassinating a prominent Japanese stock investor. When they get there, it turns out that
the guy's actually been dead for months, but wrote a trading algorithm/AI so advanced and effective that it fooled people into thinking he was still alive.

pendell
2012-08-06, 10:06 AM
I remember hearing some Education Guru saying some nonsense about 'teaching through play' and that sounds stupid.


I could be mis-understanding, but "teaching through play" means things like this riddle (http://www.projectaon.org/en/xhtml/lw/08tjoh/sect126.htm), putting lessons in play.

It leverages the same principle that allows young males to effortlessly reel off the sports statistics of their heroes (Player has a batting average of .264, stole 34 bases last year, hit 15 home runs ...) but can't for the life of them remember who the presidents were or what the bill of rights is .

Kids retain information better if they have a use for it. You can force them to memorize and spit back abstract information in class, but unless you give them a reason to care about it, it drops out of their minds along with all the other useless trivia they have to deal with.

Since children don't work and don't see an immediate need for these things, the best way to reinforce the lesson is through play -- by making it part of and integral to something they enjoy doing, they see a use for it, and it becomes a tool they use and practice with, rather than something into which they put the bare minimum of effort to avoid punishment, then slope off to do something they actually want to do.

I'm not sure, but I think you'll find that 'teaching through play' is a supplement to traditional classroom instruction, not a replacement for it. A way to drive home the lessons by hitting people with it in something other than their cognitive centers.

That's the thing about punishment. You can use it to force bare minimum compliance with standards, but you can't put it in a person to go beyond that bare minimum. To push to do independent study. To *think* about what they've been taught. So long as you're punishing, you're the one who's really putting forth the effort to get something done. If you want the kid to push *himself*, you've got to give him a reason to. That may be because they have a self image that requires excellence (pride), a desire to better themselves (ambition), or a genuine enjoyment of the subject (love).

There are two ways to judge education: One is by test scores, and the other is by amount of innovations, ipads, and other ideas which improve the world. The two require diametrically opposite approaches -- conformity to set standards requires work and drill. Creativity and innovation require play.

I guess that different jobs require different emphasis. When I worked at the cannery moving boxes all day drill was very useful. Now that I work in R&D I really have to emphasize the play aspect, or burn out. But you really need both. Drill without play is useful for factory work but not for anything that requires intelligence. Play without discipline produces nothing useful. So there's a balance.

Respectfully,

Brian P.