Last month, I discussed how our lives tend to be ruled by assumptions and that challenging them could give us a fresh perspective and open up new possibilities. This month, I’d like to look at complacency and how it also can stop us from growing.
Complacency—when we believe it can’t happen to us, that we are “immune” somehow, and, therefore, we don’t need to take any action.
We can find many examples in our everyday lives: “Our kids are good kids. They’d never do that, so there is no need to discuss this issue with them.” “I exercise regularly and eat well. I couldn’t possibly have a heart attack, so a checkup isn’t necessary.” “This client has been with us a long time, so he must be happy. Why bother doing more for him?” “I’m married now, so there’s no need to keep looking for new ways to please my spouse.” And, the list goes on …
Complacency shows up everywhere in our lives, and as humans, we have a tendency to succumb to it. We take our spouse for granted, we ignore possible signs of bad health or we don’t listen to our troubled kids. Why? Is it easier than confronting the situation?
(Okay, I have to come clean. I am petrified at the idea of having dentistry work done due to a traumatic experience in the past. For the last couple of weeks, I have suspected one of my old fillings is cracked. So, you know what I did? I stopped eating on that side of my mouth! That way, if I leave it alone and don't feel it, maybe it will disappear, go away on its own? Right! And, of course, the longer I wait, the worse it will get … I know this. But still, the idea of scheduling a visit makes me sick, so I haven't mustered the courage. Of course, now that you all know, I will have to face it, right?)
I believe this behavior hurts us in numerous ways. By being complacent, by not looking at the issue, by not facing the problem, we risk much more than we do by addressing it. There is no personal growth, we’re not paying attention to what is going on right in front of us. When we think, “Why bother?” or “I’ll worry about this later,” it makes us play small or even give up … Is it mental laziness? Fear? Our gremlins? We think that by “sweeping it under the rug” it will go away. (For those who have been introduced to Energy Leadership, it looks a lot like energy 1 to me: Core thought— Victim; Core feeling— Apathy; Result— Lethargy!)
So, what can we do? I think the first step is to be self-aware, to take notice where and when we tend to be complacent. Then, it will be easier to recognize it, to address it in the moment, and make a conscious decision to act on it. What is stopping you? What fear (gremlin) are you letting get in the way?
A complacent life is a life not in action. This month, how about looking at where you have been complacent? What can you take on and address? I know I will now make that appointment… Where can you take action? Ready? Set? Then go!
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