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The curse of indolence

india Updated: Dec 27, 2012 22:54 IST

Longevity is not to be measured in terms of the number of years a man lives; the real test of length of life is the amount of work done in it, said Samuel Smiles, the Scottish author.

Among the various negative traits of our character, the one that needs to be most carefully guarded against is indolence. It is indolence that makes you feel tired; work gives strength and happiness.

Dr Marshall Hall, referred to as the Father of Modern Neurology, said unoccupied time could cause immense harm to one’s health and well-being and that anyone who seeks health and happiness ought to understand that these are never found in the torpor of faculties, but in their proper utilisation and gainful employment.

A man who is constantly overpowered by indolence and is unwilling to work is often an active shirker. In order to avoid doing work, he comes out with all sorts of lame excuses.

Shirkers, despite their best efforts to avoid exerting themselves, often find themselves in situations where they find it difficult to evade trouble.

They soon discover that the same wear and tear of mind that could have been gainfully expended in doing some concrete work in society, is often frittered away in trivial and imaginary vexations.

In sharp contrast to the slothful man who drags himself indolently through life, the energetic man endeavours to ensure that each and every minute of his life is optimally employed to the overall betterment of society.

To quote Smiles again, it is idleness that is the curse of man, not labour. Idleness eats the heart out of men as of nations, and consumes them just as rust does iron.