It’s Not You – It’s Your Lazy Genes

Might not be the get out of jail, er, work card you were hoping for, but it might put your mind at ease.

Do you have the lazy gene

Now you can blame your parents for more than just your big nose.

Does it seem like your entrepreneur boss has endless energy? Feel like he or she runs circles around you at work? Turns out your boss may not be superhuman after all — you just might be lazy.

Don’t worry though, you may have a medical excuse. 

Swimming in the Wrong Gene Pool
A “lazy gene” has been identified in a study by the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. No kidding. By separating and breeding mice that appeared energetic from those who appeared slothful, UNC researchers were able create a line of “mighty mice” and a line of “not so mighty mice.”

How did they distinguish the active mice from the rest of the pack? Easy. Think Speedy Gonzales versus the portly Chuck E. Cheese. Active mice spun their exercise wheels for an average of five to eight “mice miles” each night. That’s the equivalent of 40 to 50 miles to you and me.

Their inertia-loving counterparts? Well, they found a way to make their wheels into beds.

Is this you?

I Spin Therefore I Am
J. Timothy Lightfoot, the kinesiologist who led the study, has not yet determined whether the genes in question affect muscle function or the chemical circuitry of the brain. Either way, the result is the same. “When we used to talk about activity, it was whether or not people decided to be active,” says Lightfoot. “Now it’s clear that there’s an inherent drive as to whether one is active or not active.”

One thing is certain, your average entrepreneur did NOT inherit this gene. And they will probably lack compassion for those who did.

Working for Wonka? Know this: If you’d rather curl up in a pile of cedar shavings than compete in the entrepreneurial rat race, you should probably scurry along to another job. That is, if you can drag yourself off the couch.

(Photo credit: hamster by Brit via Flickr)


  • Corinne Edwards

    Reply Reply November 30, 2010

    What if you have a lazy gene that turns on and off?

    Some times you are full of energy.

    Other days, you have to think and think before you get up the energy to put out the garbage?

    • admin

      Reply Reply November 30, 2010

      Some days I have to think about summoning the energy to think! An on and off switch would be good. I’m putting it on my Christmas wish list.

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide

    Reply Reply November 30, 2010

    I think the lazy gene develops…at the start of the teenage years!


    • admin

      Reply Reply November 30, 2010

      Spoken as the father of a teenager, I’m assuming! Or are you just reflecting back to your teen years? Either way Andrew, I think you may be on to something.

  • Debbie @ Happy Maker

    Reply Reply November 30, 2010

    Here I always thought it was in your enviroment when it comes to being active or lazy. Sometimes I think maybe it is better not to have so much imformation. What happens when they want to start zapping everyones lazy gene. We could have a really busy world. Wow! Wouldn’t that be fun.

  • Keller

    Reply Reply November 30, 2010

    The entrepreneur NEEDS to be active in order to get the business going as quickly as possible – 18-20 hour work days aren’t for everyone!

    The more I read your blog, the more I see myself as the entrepreneur you’re describing. But then I read how one of your bosses waived a knife in the face of a customer and another forgot to wear shoes to work one day and I take a deep sigh of relief – Whew, it’s not me – I never wear shoes to work!

    I think the self-employed, one-man-show entrepreneur might be quite different from the start-up entrepreneur.

    • admin

      Reply Reply December 1, 2010

      Yes, an entrepreneur’s work is never done. And if you don’t realize that, and believe the same, when you go to work for one you’re in for a long and tiring ride.

      You may be on to something with the one-man shop being a different breed of entrepreneur. Although they must have many similar instincts (desire to create something, ability to take the plunge, etc), they won’t have all of the same stressors that come with having payrolls, overhead, etc.

      You’ve given me food for thought! Thanks for commenting. Great to have an entrepreneur’s perspective. (Now go find your shoes!)

  • Vickie

    Reply Reply December 2, 2010

    Can the lazy gene be destroyed with herbs or a clean diet? Sometimes the lazy gene is like a virus that can be managed with a lot of coffee. That destroys the lazy gene. Actually that is why I had to change my name from Gene to Vickie. Seriously…Great fun post.



    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply December 2, 2010

      I hear coffee infused with more coffee can help mitigate the effects of bad DNA. It can also help you spin like a top while you drill a hole to China, which is always a productive use of time.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Morgan

    Reply Reply February 11, 2011

    Hey Kathy!

    New reader to your blog and so far loving what I’m seeing! 🙂

    I actually use my lazyness to my advantage. I can curl up in bed and be extremely productive because when I’m comfortable, I’m far more productive. I’m lucky that all my work is done on the computer!

    Sitting in a standard office chair just isn’t for me. 🙂

    Kudos for this!!

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply February 11, 2011

      Morgan: So glad you are enjoying the blog…from the comfort of your bed.

      Yes, there is definitely something to be said for how much better the brain works when we’re relaxed. I often have fantastic ideas just as I’m drifting off. I always think “I need to write that down!” but then convince myself I’ll remember it in the morning. I mean, it’s a GENIUS idea, how could I forget….Ah, yeah, right. Note to self: geniuses write things down.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • David Stehle

    Reply Reply May 31, 2011

    I sort of wonder if this so called “lazy gene” is just another one of those “I have a medical reason” excuses people love to use/abuse.

    Sort of like how so many people claim they have A.D.D. when what they really have is bad manners. They don’t want to grow up, pay attention and work! AKA, A.D.D. AKA, lazy gene.

    Whatever the case may be, I’m an entrepreneur who is currently writing this comment while lying on his back on a couch. Hmm, I wonder how science would dissect that! 😉

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply June 1, 2011

      I wondered the same thing, but I actually interviewed one of the scientists involved in the study. It’s crazy stuff!

      But I’m with you, I think it can be dangerous information in the hands of the just plain lazy vs. the clinically challenged.

      Oh, and an entrepreneur, lying on a couch, in the middle of the night, with a computer on….hmmm. Don’t think you fit the ‘just plain lazy’ OR the ‘clinically challenged’ category. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Shawn

    Reply Reply April 8, 2012

    I think being lazy starts with one’s perception of the task at hand. Wheather this perception is driven by logic or by feelings…it can be a buzz kill for motivation. Being lazy is probably the easiest habit to create and the hardest to change.

  • Professor .Shaka

    Reply Reply July 30, 2018

    I think being lazy starts with one’s perception of the task at hand. Wheather this perception is driven by logic or by feelings…it can be a buzz kill for motivation. Being lazy is probably the easiest habit to create and the hardest to change.

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