Streamline Your Life

How to Fight Complacency

I will never cease to be amazed by the number of people out there who stand in their own way.

What makes a person go to a job they hate day in and day out? Is it fear? After all, in order to survive, one must be able to pay the bills.

What makes a person stay in a relationship that is no longer right for them? The same thing? Some of us… in fact I would argue many of us, are so in denial about the magnitude that we disallow ourselves to experience and work toward what we truly want, that we have defense mechanisms firmly in place justifying our positions. We become incredibly complacent and then fiercely defend our complacency, making excuses to ourselves to further justify our fear of change.

Of course fear is not the only de-motivator out there. There are six other things that stop us from reaching our dreams. Here is a nice, handy list of them. If you find yourself doing one of these six things (in regard to any area of life that makes you uncomfortable) then I hope this helps you!

1 – A need for security

We all need a measure of security, right? If we didn’t have this, we’d just be floating from one place to another and taking whatever job we could get at the moment. Right?

Let me tell you something very important. There is no such thing as security. Especially on the job. These days the economy is in such disarray (although really even if the economy was healthy this still would be true) that you cannot even completely count on your next paycheck.

In truth, we are all on our own devices. Only we are responsible for our security. Security is something you earn and create, not something that comes along with a job, or a relationship. If you are secure within yourself, and trust your own actions, you will never be afraid of losing your safety blanket again. The truth is, the more we reach for security, the more it eludes us, and the more we are miserable, because this action forces us into mediocrity.

2 – A dependency on what others think

If you are unhealthily preoccupied with pleasing others, you will always fall short. Why? Because we all have different needs. When you truly go after what you want in life, you will encounter resistance. People are afraid of change, and afraid of what is different. I encounter this kind of thing a lot, because I don’t “go to work” like “everybody else.” Some people don’t understand why I don’t have a “real” job. A friend of mine actually told me that he didn’t think I was giving back to society because I wasn’t sacrificing myself or my time for the greater good.

Of course, this is nonsense. If I was sacrificing my time for “the greater good” then the greater good wouldn’t be getting the best of me, which is my writing and design ability. Because I function best autonomously, it’s very important that I work in this manner. And if you are benefitting from my writing (as I hope you are) then I certainly am giving back! You should NEVER sacrifice your happiness for work. And you should never put any stock in what others tell you. You might just start to believe them… and this can be pretty dangerous to your goals.

Your best will come when you stop trying to please other people and start trying to actually make a real difference instead. Really.

3 – A need to do “what is right”

This goes back to what I was just saying about sacrifice. What good are you to anybody else if you sacrifice yourself? If the purpose if your work is to better society, you can’t honestly say that working for an insurance company for 50 hours a week while you are miserable is truly “giving back.”

Sure, maybe some people who are now covered by your insurance company will benefit. And we all need insurance, right? But you are hardly going to be doing an optimal job if you hate it! In this way, it’s better for you NOT to work for the insurance company and let someone who actually enjoys it more take your place. Their customers will be getting a higher-quality product in the end. Your “sacrifice” is actually hurting others.

Some people think that by giving to others, you are enriching your life. This is partly true, but I would argue that if you treat yourself well and “give to yourself”, then others will reap the rewards by benefitting from your efforts. I love writing, so I write for others to help give them hope and inspiration. I am giving back by giving to myself. Try it sometime. You might be surprised.

4 – A false assumption that we can not reach our dreams

This one should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people give up at a very early age when their first bad teacher tells them “no.” By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have forgotten who we are and what we really want out of life. And even if we remember, it’s very difficult to reconcile actually going after some of these dreams when we have bills to pay, kids to feed and a job to attend.

It may take time, and you may have to start by making small steps on the side, but I assure you, you can reach your dreams. Nothing is impossible.

5 – A false assumption that we are not worthy of reaching our dreams

This is a matter of self-esteem. If you think this way, then ask yourself why you feel you aren’t worthy. Many people resign themselves to their position in life, feeling that this is as good as it gets.

No way. I know from experience that life can get better. A whole lot better.

6 – Jealousy of what others have

All jealousy is really about is yourself. If you are jealous of what another person has, it is because you are not happy with what you have. People who lack jealousy do so because other people don’t have what they want, and they recognize that they wouldn’t be happy if they did have someone else’s life. They are happy with their direction, purpose, and meaning, and don’t require other people to remind them of what they are missing.

Take a good look in the mirror. Do you really like your life? Are others jealous of you? If so, maybe you are doing something right.


There is only one way to accomplish what you want. You have to just go after it. If you do this, you’ll get it. But if you only “half” go for it, or you “put yourself in a position” where it can just happen magically to you, good luck. Too many of us sell ourselves out to be secure, comfortable, and just generally let fear take over, or let money take over. If you ever want to reach your dreams, then you can’t sell yourself out to fear. Sure, it’s fine to trip up a bit on the way. We all make mistakes.

But there is a big difference between making a mistake because we went for something we wanted, then there is in living in regret. Don’t make that mistake. Life is too short to be miserable.


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