Complacency is a Killer

We are driven towards the intrinsic need to stay on course. To try things for what they are, experiment with them, construct a pattern in which we are to interact with them, follow it blindly. And while this affects the bigger victories we have in life only in a narrow band of circumstances, it does in fact shape everything else without question.

Be that relationships, habits, even our quest for self-improvement. We stay on the course, follow the set of rules we already set, and progress is more than imminent. It’s a given, you see. More math than anything else. But this is changing over time too.

Complacency is a killer

Mid-way into whatever that is we are in, things can sometimes take a different turn. And had this been a turn that is sudden and narrow, we may react well. But it’s rather further from a U-turn than anything else. It’s gradual to say at least.

So gradual, that we never see it coming and it slightly shifts us off course, or simply into a perpetual chase around the maypole, where no results are ahead.

We know it as complacency. We learn a new thing, grow with it, and suddenly get stuck with the delusional feeling that there is nothing more to learn, to improve.

And this is not laziness, not even procrastination, but rather the self-delusional feeling that we are progressing, when in fact, the least we do is retaining status quo.

We have this in many forms to say the least. And for the most part we are unaware of it. It’s self-delusional in the sense of us being sure we are moving forward; giving our best. The truth of the matter is, though, that sometimes we abandon the hunger for more, the curiosity for the new, and are stuck with what can only be described as complacency.

Being satisfied with what we achieved, never moving pass that uncertainty again. We get complacent, follow the habits and the rate of progress only halfheartedly.

And this can be wrong at a number of levels. Take your progress into anything to serve as an example. You thrive for a while, and then things take status quo again by no reason. Forget procrastination, forget laziness, forget lack of creativity and guidance, this is way bigger.

Examples where complacency kills your potential:

  • When we try new things, we approach everything from a new angle.

    Try one thing after another. And so it happens, maybe as a result of lack of creativity or passion, that we abandon the search for new and fresh approaches, and follow what brought us half way through.

    We read the same blogs that helped us spark that change at the first place, do the same exercises that got us half way through in shaping our perfect looks, follow the same habits that have worked for productivity the year before.

    Being novice at something is not that bad of a thing after all. It’s rewarding, instead. We shouldn’t get as easily satisfied as we are used to, when doing the same things over and over.

    Had I not started interacting with new people, new reading material, I would never had discovered new outlooks, or a change in perception. And that unmistakably leads to an entirely different epilogue.

    Had I followed only specific writing styles, I would never had stumbled across internet marketing, thing that looks as promising to me now as rarely other things had before. It’s all about moving over that biased outlook that there is nothing more in your approach to be added.

  • Standards are not a given.

    They too can drop couple of bars down. You see, we are often times convinced that doing things just for the sake of doing them they buy us a lot of progress either way.

    And this is wrong at a number of levels. I remember when I was professionally playing the violin, and was assured that progress is a given had I followed my thing. But connecting the dots retrospectively, I now see that compliance to the routine may also result in losing sense of the outcome, the results.

    I realize that perpetually following the same pattern, it lost in terms of quality. It’s like anything else in nature – things either progress or retrograde – retaining the same course is not even an option.

    Had I been aware of this early on, the results might have been different by a huge margin. This way, the time put never equaled the results, and all due to the inability to notice the gradual drop in quality of the routine I so blindly followed. Realizing that even the biased approach can be changed can go a long way.

  • What we already know can bring us only so far.

    Hence we should abandon complacency and be open for learning, or better yet, relearning. We can then not only notice whether there was some drop in our routine in terms of quality, but rather come up with a solution.

    This not only is fairly innocuous with regards to our routine, but having the ability to enhance it, we may as well see the results coming up from the other end better than we expected.

    And complacency doesn’t allow this, in short. It does, in fact, quite the opposite.

Change is not always what brings results on the short run. It’s more of a lifestyle shift you know, giving the direction. Hence sometimes we are to be stuck with the routine, with the compliance of it.

However, realizing that complacency and bias can be substituted or eventually erased, our routine can get that much of an improvement, and allowing to be changed it can transform our results as well.

Image credit: By nicholᴀs.

5 opinions already. What's yours?

  1. Jaky

    Hey Slavko, I’ve to say you’ve a flair for writing. I read you recent article on Pick the Brain and couldn’t resist coming up here and reading this complacency stuff. Really inspiring.

    I believe that we all need to keep striving to achieve more and keep complacency under check, but often when we are competing or working upwards with people around us, we feel discouraged about what we’ve been doing all this while and how some people get things ready and serving on a silver spoon.

    Definitely looking forward to your upcoming stuff.

    Reply
    • Slavko Desik

      Thanks for your words Jaky.
      Sometimes it’s not the fulfillment of the goal that matters, but rather the journey instead. Therefore, even not witnessing the same results as some, our own pace dictates an entirely different rate of progress, or even change for that matter.

      Reply
      • Jaky

        Oh, I completely agree to that. Cheers! And thanks for the inspiration.

        Reply
  2. Beryl

    Hi Slavko

    Great content here. i recall a business man telling me that very often he had seen business who reached a level of success (say a million dollars) sit back and say “I’ve made it!” That’s when their business declined – complacency had set it…

    Keep sharing this valuable content! Many thanks

    Beryl

    Reply
  3. Slavko Desik

    That’s what happens with athletes as well. All of us in fact get into the routine that brought us to play our A game, but we forget to realize that it was good to get us just so far. Not to keep us there, or better yet improve us.
    Thanks for your comment Beryl

    Reply

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