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walking around the lake or along the bank of the river.
More than 100 years ago, so the story goes, a lad, Humphrey Potter, was hired to sit alongside of a crude steam engine and let out the exhaust steam after each stroke of the driving rod. Being lazy, he found his task tiresome and rigged up some strings and latches by which the valves could be opened and shut automatically. This not only permitted him to run and play, but also immediately doubled the capacity of the engine. He had lazily discovered the principle of reciprocating valves.
More recently we have agricultural machinery with seats. These were not first thought of by energetic farmers who didn't mind walking all day, but by those to whom the idea of sitting down had a strong appeal. True, inventors often devise laborsaving machines that they themselves would never have occasion to use. But they do this because they know that there are always plenty of lazy men who will be interested in avoiding effort, and that money can be made by selling labor-saving devices to others. The money thus acquired enables one to live without working so hard. Thus it is laziness that prompts the inventive effort.
4. Frank B. Gilbreth, the great industrial engineer and student of human motions, frequently makes moving pictures of expert workmen in various trades, to determine how few movements are needed in performing a piece of work. He finds that the best worker-the one from whom the others can learn the most, is invariably a lazy man, too lazy to waste a single motion that he can avoid. The more energetic man is far less efflcient, because he doesn't mind squandering his energy in unnecessary movements. At the end of the day he is fatigued out of all proportion to the work done. Most great executives are lazy. It is logical that they should be. A good executive is one who never does anything that he can get anybody else to do for him. Only
years of laziness can establish in a man the habit of having others wait on him instead of doing things himself.
It is a tremendous asset to be lazy enough willingly to sit still until a bright idea comes along, instead of frittering away the golden hours in wearying routine activity. The best books are written necessarily by lazy authors. Too energetic an author pants to be up and doing and cannot content himself at a desk calmly improving his manuscript or idly waiting hours at a time for a bright phrase or a clever twist of a plot. Many of our greatest statesmen were brought up on farms and would have remained on farms if they hadn't been too lazy to face so much hard work and looked about for something easier. It is the scholars and thinkers, too lazy for much physical activity, who do most to change the thought of the world for the better.
5. Moreover, mental laziness appears to be equally advantageous. Most important rules and formulas have been arrived at by lazy men who were trying to make mental short cuts. The discoverers of the laws of gravitation must have been lazy men tired of laboriously working out the explanations for each separate bit of phenomena. Think what a job it would be to determine how long it takes an apple to fall from the top limb of a tree, or for a cat to fall from a balloon a mile high, without actually trying it, if one had no law of falling bodies! Think of the complications and wearisome annoyance we should have in ordinary daily affairs if some lazy individual had not established the general rule that two and two are invariably four!
The truth is that lazy people, both those who get things done, and those who do not, are the folk on whom progress must mainly depend. It is time that we lazy people were receiving the serious consideration that is our due. We comprise the hope of