Has complacency crept into your life? It has a way of slipping in gradually and going unnoticed. That is, until you face the consequences. Bit by bit, a situation you're in that was merely less than ideal at first escalates, until you're facing conditions that are far worse and much more difficult to handle.
Complacency can take root in anyone’s life, whether it’s in the area of work, relationships, health, or somewhere else. Struggling with complacency doesn’t mean you’re lazy or deficient in some way. Once you get acclimatized to circumstances, it’s natural to want to leave things as they are, even when those circumstances aren't serving your best interests.
Initially, complacency is the easy choice. Over time, however, you pay a price for that ease. So how do you deal with complacency in your life?
Here are the five things needed to move you from a state of complacency to a state of action.
What is it about your situation that isn’t quite right? Where is there a current problem, or potential problems looming on the horizon? What are the red flags or warning signs you’re seeing?
The first step in confronting complacency is getting clear on what’s going on, and identifying where there are issues or warning signs. If you're feeling a vague sense of uneasiness, discomfort, or apprehension, you need to clarify where it’s coming from.
Once you’ve clarified what’s going on, you may be tempted to sweep it under the rug so you can carry on as usual. That’s why honesty plays such an important role in breaking through complacency. You need to be honest with yourself and face up to what you’re observing, the impact it’s having now, and the impact it's likely to have down the road. Don’t ignore, dismiss, trivialize, or minimize the issues.
For example, you might be clear that you have a friend who tries to turn every conversation into a gossip session, which you find off-putting. But that clarity isn’t enough. Rather than dismissing the issue and telling yourself you’re overreacting, you need to be honest with yourself about how you feel and where you stand. That might mean acknowledging you’re extremely uncomfortable with your friend’s behaviour and don’t wish to be a party to it.
Once you’ve gained clarity and been honest with yourself, breaking through complacency requires conviction. That is, you must genuinely believe and feel strongly that the issue needs to be dealt with and/or the situation needs to change. This is how you reach the inward determination that action is necessary.
Without conviction, you’ll be lukewarm in your stance and lack the motivation needed to take action.
Once you have a conviction that change is needed, you need to commit to taking action. Commitment takes you beyond thoughts and ideas. It pushes you forward to the place where you take steps to bring about change. It turns your intentions into reality, by forcing you to iron out the details of what you need to do next to bring the complacency to an end.
Those next steps won’t necessarily be quick or easy. Commitment enables you to push through the difficulties and stay the course.
But what if you’re unsure about where those next steps will lead? What if you’re wrestling with fear or doubt, both of which are completely normal and natural? That’s where you need the final piece of the puzzle: courage.
Why do people remain in harmful or unhealthy situations? There are many reasons, but much of it comes down to the fact we all cling to what’s comfortable and familiar. Ironically, even an uncomfortable situation can take on a certain sense of comfort due to its familiarity. Or, as the saying goes: better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.
Taking action to break through complacency often means stepping into unknown and unfamiliar territory. Even when you’ve worked everything out in your head and you know it’s in your own best interest, it can still feel scary. It takes courage to push through in spite of the fear, based on your conviction that you can’t allow things to remain as they are.
Conclusion: complacency may be easy and effortless, but that only lasts for a time. Confronting the complacency in your life now will spare you from all kinds of pain later on. Furthermore, the skills you build in the process will strengthen and refine your character, leading to greater success across all areas of your life.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.