Concept/Design credit: Nathan Mills & Ryan Maxey
Sooooo, I know I have touched on complacency in prior posts but it’s still weighing on my heart and it’s popped back up in things I’ve been reading so, I guess I have to write it out. Sorry (not sorry) for the repetition. In What About Your Friends I said “Complacency is a Cancer that kills…” A Slice of Humble Pie was about how complacency almost cost me my current job and did cost me another job opportunity. Minimizing Minimalism was essentially about remedying complacency. Then yesterday I read “If you only do what you feel like doing, your life will be miserable and you will be a failure.” - Matthew Kelly (from the Rhythm of life). Sounds harsh but it’s coming from a place of encouragement. Complacency permeates life in so many shapes and forms, most of which are super subtle, but sometimes it’s just a straight up ‘I don’t wanna.’ Either way you slice it, the end result is always the same...complacency kills.
My desire is to stop complacency in my thoughts and behaviors because I see it’s effects and I want no parts of it. Growth is the purpose of life, it is literally the WHY of existence. The best version of myself isn’t a destination to be reached, it’s a state of being to be maintained. Just as perfection isn’t attainable but progress always is; it’s about wanting and pursuing the most I can get out of this one life I get. Complacency is the opposite of the purpose of life and I’ve been living contrary to my purpose. I am constantly evolving or devolving and as the world around me keeps moving and changing, I have to follow suit or I choose to waste away.
As I am writing this I’m listening to a podcast (Aubrey Marcus #121) and texting with a homie about the origin of complacency in the human psyche. If I am to combat complacency I need to know where it’s stemming from. In the podcast they referenced a quote from Waka Flocka (of all people) that said, “Comparison is the thief of potential.” From that we deduced that if not attempting to realize your potential is the definition of complacency, then comparison is the can holding complacency until we open and drink from it.
Don’t value the product over the process.
I’m a surrounded by success in my social circle. They all have flourishing careers, businesses, and projects that have afforded them very comfortable lives. But the real success is in that they are doing what genuinely interests them and makes them authentically happy. I saw what they had and I wanted that for myself but how far I was from that left me feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. To live like them seemed too large an undertaking so I didn’t even bother to try.
The years of study it took Katie, Catherine, and Pete to get their degree to get those jobs. The many cold and rainy days Nate and Ken had to work in to renovate those houses to be able to rent them. The countless hours and late nights of prayer and planning it took Elizabeth to get Living Hope off the ground. Doing the work is what allowed their careers, businesses, and projects to go from aspiration to actualization. My failure to account for and/or my lack of knowledge of the work invested cleared way for unnecessary and embellished comparison. Comparison which fostered stagnation and my acceptance of that was my willing adoption of complacency in the form of not trying to grow.
Comparing myself to them, or anyone for that matter, is a pointless act and thought path. Because I don’t know the intricacies of anyone’s personal motivations I can’t know what they had to do to overcome to get where they are. What motivates one discourages another, so the unifying factor in accomplishment is desire, desire for more. Desire should ignite action but the instant I incorporate comparison I will be paralyzed. Comparing someone’s finished product to my starting point is apples to oranges. They just aren’t relative and I need to continually remind myself of this to avoid falling in this trap.
Once I’ve overcome the apprehension of starting a growth process, done the work, and reached the goal, I have a knack for stopping there; another form of complacency. All those friends I mentioned earlier are also pursuing other avenues of growth in music, app development, property managment, and higher certifications and degrees. There is no plateauing with these folk. “The people we surround ourselves with…” #whataboutyourfriends. Once I had a job that got the bills paid, I thought I’d reached the goal. Once I was constantly being told how well I waited tables I thought I’d mastered service. Once I saw I could live happily without drinking I thought I’d mastered AA.
Early in my sobriety I was an AA fiend. I was going to a minimum of two meetings a day and when I wasn’t there I was reading every book I could get my hands on on spirituality and meditation. This helped me maintain sobriety and sobriety has allowed my head to clear up to actually grow closer to my authentic self. In doing so I was able to discover my passion and purpose. I was able to grow. What came of it was Perfectly Imperfect. From an idea to the platform you’re reading this on right now was many hours of work. Where’d I get the hours from? I had to work so I slowly started trimming time from other areas.
I started going to one meeting a day, then worked on blog stuff, and fitting in room for reading and my spiritual practices. Since the blog is growing I now have more things to attend to...more time required. I’m now reading less and getting to my spiritual practices only when convenient. Early last week, the woman I ride with to the 7am meeting tells me she’s headed out of town for the rest of the week. I don’t think anything of it and I don’t make provisions to go to any other meetings. I’m thinking, “I don’t want to drink so I’m good!” By Thursday I’m completely off. My anxiety is through the roof, everything is pissing me off, and I am snapping at people for nothing. I know that I’m feeling and behaving out of character but I had no clue why and then it dawned on me.
I’d adopted a minimalist mentality. I was doing just enough to get by. I’d gotten complacent with where I was and didn’t attend to the thing that gave me balance and facilitated (ALL) my growth.
Granted, I know how to do my job effectively but have I mastered all aspects of my job? Am I bringing my best self to work everyday? Yes the bills need to be paid but is my job my passion? My passion is my purpose and my purpose is my gift back to the universe; am I pursuing my passion? I’m sober and it’s not a huge struggle to want to stay that way but am I consistently doing the things that made that possible and building on that to fortify my foundation of resistance to continue to facilitate growth? Am I doing my best to be my best?
If I am not asking myself these questions on a continual basis, I am choosing complacency. If I am not taking action according to the answers of those questions, I am living in complacency. ‘Complacency Kills’ seems a little dramatic but it’s true. In most cases, being complacent is not going to make me keel over on my couch during a Netflix binge. If you're an addict, it just might. But what it’s killing is my spirit, motivation, and self-esteem. It kills my chances to meet my full potential and experience the unfathomable joy that comes with the fulfillment of my authentic purpose and needs...growth.
“If your dreams, goals, and purpose are not enough to inspire you to want to get out of bed in the morning, then you need to rethink your dreams, goals, and purpose.”- Matthew Kelly
The value of life is not in making it, it’s in making it better. This is a lifelong process of goal setting, doing the work, reaching it, and setting the next goal. The moment I decide to stop trying, I choose to give up on the experience of life and I will not let complacency kill that.
Because my potential is limitless, my aspirations can justifiably follow suit.
Thanks for reading.