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Science Says Being Lazy & Inattentive Could Be Good For Your Career

Your idleness could be a latent talent.

In between starting and ending this sentence, I have opened seven tabs, toggled between Facebook and Tinder Twitter and eaten more snacks than a sedentary office-worker should eat in a week.

Such is Friday.

Fortunately, a report breath of fresh air just blew across my monitor, courtesy of The New York Times, which says my idleness is a latent talent that will likely become the subject of forensic silicon valley investigation in the years to come.

“Conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, but playing a little hard to get has its advantages.”

The journalist, who specialises in psychology, productivity and health, explained how the principle of always raising your hand in class at school translates over into being seen as an over-eager pest at work.

“Emails, tweets, Slack messages — you name it — being affable and amenable is kind of my thing.”

However, innumerable studies have shown people are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.

Or, as Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade,” puts it: “People are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability.”

This “scarcity principle,” The Times explains, “Has to do with the psychology of ‘reactance’.” In other words — when we think something is limited, we tend to want it more.

Want to become a scarce resource, lusted after by headhunters and attractive members of the opposite (or for that matter same) sex alike? Here’s what The Times recommends you do.

  • Be Less Eager
  • Don’t Jump The Gun (i.e. don’t make an offer before appropriate)
  • Know Your Market Value
  • Adopt An Abundance Mindset (i.e. remember there are always other options out there, even if they aren’t obvious)
  • Trust The Process

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