Complacency comes when things are going well, or at least relatively smoothly, in your life. That sounds like a fairly good thing. However, the word complacent actually has a rather negative connotation and there is a good reason for that. This word implies satisfaction with one's self, but this self-satisfied comfort comes with a bit of smugness and being unaware that there could be danger lurking around the corner. Becoming complacent is a significant contributor to feeling stuck in a rut. It holds you back by keeping you in place and limiting your potential. Complacency is the enemy of self-growth. Read on to discover its hidden dangers and how to overcome them.
Signs of Complacency
First, let’s look at some of the signs you may be approaching life in a complacent manner. If you don’t see life as a learning experience and aren’t making efforts to learn something new for yourself or your career, you’ve likely fallen into an over-confident rut. When you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing. You could be putting yourself in a position to be passed over for a promotion by someone who has shown the initiative necessary to thrive. It’s also likely that your personal relationships could suffer because you’ve become lax in paying attention to signs of discontent. Another symptom of complacency is never feeling nervous or scared in your life. This is an indicator you’re avoiding risk, which is a key element of success. Significant life achievements require stepping out of your comfort zone. Fear of change is often seen in complacent individuals. This fear, as with most of forms, limits you and holds you back from greatness. Life has to change somewhat in order to get better, and things can always be better.
Dangers of Complacency
When you become comfortable in your situation and feel no need to take steps to improve yourself or move on toward better things, it’s easy for inertia to set in. This state of remaining unchanged becomes harder to overcome the longer it remains. Thus, taking initiative if life should throw you a curveball will require extensive effort once you’ve become entrenched in your static position. When you’re coasting along comfortably in life, it’s also easy for your judgment to become impaired. You may begin to become overconfident in your abilities to handle everything that is on your plate and to underestimate any challenges that lie ahead. This is definitely a dangerous place to be, as it leaves you ill-prepared to effectively manage a challenge. When you’re constantly working to improve yourself and to learn, you are far more able to proactively generate solutions to surprises you may encounter.
It is possible to overcome a complacent nature. First, use the above listed suggestions to help you recognize whether you’ve become complacent. If you feel you fall into this category, take action by setting some new goals for yourself. You can start small by choosing to do one thing each day that takes you out of your comfort zone or you could brainstorm some bigger goals that could improve your life. For instance, sign up for that technology course that could put you in the running for a new position at work. When setting your goals, try to ensure that they’re challenging enough to help you move past any inertia you may need to overcome. In addition, be sure to keep a purpose in mind for each goal. Your why or reason behind the goal is what will motivate you to complete it. You’ll soon find that this forward motion will easily build upon itself, pushing you to reach for more challenging goals.
It’s easy to see how complacency can be the natural enemy to self-growth. You have the power to overcome it, though.
Keep this information in mind when working toward becoming your best self.
Sometimes it can seem like improving your life is an uphill battle, or like digging your way out of a hole in the sand – things seem to be working more against your favor than in your favor. You may be making a mountain out of a molehill.
There are actually a number of fairly small things that you can do to change your outlook, improve your health and make your life better. I only list 5 of them here; some of them take some commitment but try out a few of these and see if that uphill battle doesn’t get a little easier.
1. Join a Social Group
This could be a club, a sports team, or just a group of friends that go out for drinks once a month. The important thing is having friends.
Having friends improves our self-confidence, it gives us a network to help us deal with things like stress, or grief, and it even improves the immune system. All of these things also have secondary benefits. Probably because of the potential for lowering stress, people with strong and healthy social networks are more likely to maintain a healthy bodyweight and to live longer than those that don’t.
2. Find Faith
For quite a while now, many experts have understood that following a religious faith genuinely helps people in a number of ways. It gives us a sense of purpose. It makes us feel like we’re a part of something larger than ourselves. It encourages us to be understanding, forgiving and generous. It makes our lives better and it makes us better people.
While the religious can and probably will argue that their religion is the best, most religions have very similar basic philosophies. It sounds crazy, but think about it: Which religion says that we shouldn’t help the poor? Which religion says that we shouldn’t be kind and forgiving? The name of the deity may or may not change, but what that deity asks of us is more or less identical from one religion to the next. So, find one that you like and stick with it.
3. Learn A New Language
Learning a “Modern Language” like English, Spanish, French, German, or Chinese, can be practical in a business setting, or just while you’re walking around town. Learning any additional language, however, comes with a number of benefits, including helping you to learn and remember other things, and helping you to see things from new perspectives.
Some universities may let you audit classes on foreign languages, community centers may have classes in foreign language that are open to the public, you may be able to find books on learning new languages at book stores or thrift stores near you, or you could download any number of free or cheap apps to learn another language on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
4. Change Jobs
If you hate your job and/or your company you work for, you can read this as “quit your job and start over,” but you don’t have to. If you worked hard to get where you are and you like the work that you do, consider a lateral job change in your own company.
See if you can work in a new department for a bit, even if it’s just filling a position while someone is on vacation or while management is looking for someone to fill a spot permanently. Changing jobs provides a nice change of pace, it helps you to understand your own abilities and versatility, and it helps you to understand what the world looks like from someone else’s office.
5. Go to College
Even if you’ve already been there, or even if you can’t or don’t want to stay for a four-year degree. College is a unique experience where you get to meet new people in an institution specifically dedicated to learning and looking at new ideas.
Even if you’ve already been to college, many find that the experience is quite different when they return later in life, even if it’s just to audit a class.
Some of the things listed in this article are a pretty big commitment. Other things on the list, however, are things that you could do pretty quickly and with little or no financial burden. Give them a try, and hopefully you’ll notice yourself feeling better before too long.