Complacency is the bug that I have been fighting for the last little while. It is really hard to snap out of it and, once you become aware of it, the results of it never leave you with a good feeling. Since my head was so stuck in this rut, I sought some insight from websites I often visit looking for inspiration:
Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It’s the feeling of numbness that comes from taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck … Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing … rustout is underbeing.
— Richard Leider and Steve Buchholtz, The Rustout Syndrome via Pick the Brain
Complacency wins by doing nothing. If you’re not actively supporting a meaningful purpose, you’re growing complacent. You gain power, control, resources by accepting the situation as it is in the moment. But don’t let your acceptance become complacence. Value fades when it is not utilized, built upon, and expanded. Yesterday’s victories will be worthless tomorrow if you don’t continue the effort. By its very definition, life is a dynamic experience, and standing still is not an option. Either you move ahead or you fall behind. Any time you feel complacency begin to engulf you, reach deep inside. Connect with those things that make you determined to make a difference. Let your purpose, your determination, your desires, dreams and passions keep complacency away. Make the most of the progress you’ve already made by keeping it going.
– Ralph Marston on The Daily Motivator
So, I turned these tidbits into newfound motivation for this post and my intention to get over this phase. Here are the ideas I came up with to keep complacency at bay:
- What are the activities that make you complacent? Try to limit those to well-deserved relaxation time. With technology, the number of activities that fit into this danger zone are growing: TV watching, video games, mindless conversations, browsing social media updates, and shopping are my vices. They are not entirely unbeneficial activities but countless hours spent on them to just pass the time will not have any commendable results. They can leave me complacent and, eventually, as a result, unproductively restless when I notice the time lost.
- Is it just laziness or fatigue? Fatigue has other root causes that impact our day-to-day activities. Learn to differentiate the symptoms and, if it is indeed fatigue, then you need to make other lifestyle changes and even consult a doctor or naturopath.
- Don’t be too strict. If the schedule is 100% jammed with one task after another, I just want to flea, turn off my brain, and enjoy a complacent activity. Keep a better, healthy balance that accounts for the things that need to get done, time for self care, and the importance of rest and recreation. Find a rhythm that works for you and maintain some flexibility.
- Set aside some time everyday to think about your past and future and where your present fits in between. Complacency can take root deeper when you ignore the important stuff. Remind yourself everyday. This attitude will not destroy progress from your past, keep you mindful, and prevent missed opportunities.
- Be rational or get help. Sometimes, complacency is the safe zone we stay in because we do not want to take risks or deal with complex issues and tough decisions. Running away and not deciding and acting when the time is right, that is generally the worst decision one can make. Don’t hide. Face your problems with some rational thinking: write down some pros and cons, and what you are worried about. You can get advice from someone else who can help you to be stronger and make the tough calls.
- Find some causes to care about and work hard for: generally, I find that people who care about a cause and have something to fight for are less complacent. Put yourself in that position, educate yourself, and build on a passion. Even if I give myself some slack time, I know that there are important issues that need my commitment and I cannot fail them.
- A piece of lifestyle advice often encountered: you have to start working towards the life you want TODAY! But time is precious and you have to use it well. Otherwise, the future you want will always stay as just that, an imaginary picture of a distant future.
Do you encounter complacency in yourself or others? What are your thoughts on it? How do you overcome it or fight its impact?