July 5, 2007

Lesson Six: Slack

Print More

If you look up the word “slack” in the dictionary, you’ll find a plethora of definitions. It can be used as an adjective, adverb, noun, and transitive or intransitive verb. The word itself could be a grammar lesson. But that’s not the point here. In fact, giving a grammar lesson would be detrimental to my message. It’s the very type of thing that overachieving Cornellians would love to do. I am no overachiever. I am an achieve-just-the-right-amount-er. C’s get degrees right?

To speak to overachievers, in hopes to convert them, I know some extra effort has to be made on my part. So in this post I’m going to try the best I can. I mean, I did research (opened the dictionary) for that first paragraph! Usually you can read a whole post of mine and not find one credible fact, unless, of course you find the things I make up credible. Here’s what’s crazy though, doing that research is actually going to help me make my point! Nuts!

So what else did I learn when I opened the dictionary, I mean, did “research”? Well I saw a few choice synonyms picked out. Better though, was their juxtaposition, number 1, 2 and 3 being relaxed, lazy and weak, respectively. That’s when it struck me. When an overachiever thinks of a slacker, they think of a lazy, weak person. When a slacker thinks of a slacker, they think of a relaxed person.

This is where the overachievers go wrong. You can slack without being lazy. I don’t think I’m that lazy. Sure sometimes I skip class because I don’t want to get out of bed. Maybe those classes are at 1:25 or 2:30, but that doesn’t make me… wait, never mind, I am really lazy. But you don’t have to be. The reason I don’t go to those “early” classes is that I don’t need to. They would just be a hassle and provide unnecessary stress. That’s the essence of being an achieve-just-the-right-amount-er. You don’t have to do something just because you made a commitment. You only have to do it if you if you made a commitment and breaking that commitment would have a negative consequence. Even then, it’s more of a guideline than a rule.

To break the addiction of unnecessary achievement, I suggest baby steps. First you can start by reading (for pleasure, not class) when you skip class. Next you can scale it down to something less intellectual. Maybe you play frisbee instead of study for that final. Finally, you should just start laying around as a substitute for just about all daily activities. When you reach that stage, your transition will be complete. You can thank me for your new relaxed lifestyle with monetary donations, although if you are truly successful you’ll probably be fired from your job so you’ll probably need the money more than me.