Lazy people are people who don’t work very hard (or at all) because they don’t feel like it.

When you call a person lazy, you’re really saying two different things: 1. The person doesn’t work very hard, and 2. The reason she doesn’t work very hard is that she doesn’t feel like working. You might be wrong about one or both of those things.

It’s pretty easy to find lazy people. In classrooms and restaurants and fields and factories and apartments and corner offices all over the world, there are people of every age, gender, race, religion, and social class who refuse to exert even the tiniest amount of effort. In all of these places, you will also find people who work very hard.

Certain groups of people seem to be called lazy more often than others. You rarely hear about lazy old people or lazy rich people, but you’ve probably met some.

Believing that most poor people are poor because they are lazy makes it very easy to believe being poor is a choice — poor people could just as easily not be poor if they really wanted to. It also saves you from having to consider the possibility that some really important things are arbitrary, that hard work doesn’t always pay, and sometimes the person in charge is the laziest person of all.