Discipline Against Laziness


On discipline against laziness.

Reilly was born bone lazy.

It was only fifty-odd years later, as he was sorting out his Mothers belongings after she passed that he discovered just how profoundly his lack of discipline had affected her. There, in a blue valise beneath her bed, and bound neatly with a large rubber band was a series of letters and reports containing the evidence of his truancy.

The years couldn’t alter the contents. The abiding and enduring comment on each report was ‘Reilly lacks discipline.’

Reillys’ Mother, being a true disciple of the school of hard work, took decisive and peremptory action. Reilly was summarily dispatched to boarding school to the Cistercians in Roscrea. She was assured they had both a reputation for pig-headed discipline and hard work.

His penchant for truancy followed him effortlessly to Roscrea. Within the first week, he’d been assigned the moniker of ‘Doing Nothing’ by Dan Smith, the biology teacher.

If he was itself, he was equaled and bested by one other classmate called Jimmy Walshe, who earned the sobriquet ‘Doing Nothing At All.’

Walshe was by far and away the laziest person Reilly or Roscrea had ever encountered.

But if he was itself he excelled at languages, and athletics and already had gotten off with Anne Duggan, the best-looking sister of a first year on the first Sunday of the school year. In the parlance of performance management rhetoric, these would be considered serious KPIs – or Key Performance Indicators.

In addition, by the age of twelve, he’d developed a philosophy on life, that albeit contrarian, was way beyond the maturity of one so young.

To Walsh

Laziness was not an affliction or a malady to be cured, but rather a Maslovian embodiment of self-actualisation to be pursued,  harnessed, and mastered.

In Connemara, it’s said that ‘aithnionn ciaróg ciaróg eile’ ‘one beetle recognises another and it was no surprise that Reilly and Walshe would quickly become best buddies.

As they bunked class, mass, and study together, Walshe would share with Reilly his burgeoning Credo on laziness. This would later form the basis of his seminal work ‘Lazy Discipline’ which would, in turn, inspire business people and executives throughout the world.

On one of these early sorties, Walsh explained to Reilly the basis for his Manifesto.

‘Reilly, my Credo is predicated on the answers to three simple questions. During the study the other night I asked myself:

‘What do I hate to do?

‘What can I tolerate doing?

‘What do I love to do?’

‘I concluded that I hate science subjects’


‘Your son lacks discipline, Mrs. O’Reilly. And if he doesn’t repair his ways he’ll end up selling newspapers.’

Jesuit Priest to Tony O’Reillys Mother.

‘And he was right.  I did.’

Tony O’Reilly


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