Complacency: it’s something each and every one of us slip into now and then.
Someone asked me the other day what the biggest mental hurdle or struggle I personally deal with and, if I’m being truthful, it’s complacency. I get going really, really well in one area of life and then I start coasting.
A prime example would be in marriage. We date our girlfriends. We try to impress her. We buy her nice things. We take her to fancy restaurants. And then, when we get the girl, what do we do? We coast. We stop courting her. We stop going on dates. We stop the flirtations. And before you know it, your wife says “the passion is gone.” Of course it is. You forgot to keep bringing it to the relationship, right? I speak from experience on this guys.
This shows up at work too, right?
You land your dream job or get that killer client and you begin to think you can take the rest of the year off, right?
So you stop making sales calls, you stop making appointments, you stop following up with your clients and, before long, you realize your bank account is about to hit zero so you immediately pick up the phone and start dialing prospects, right.
You know exactly what I’m talking about.
This is human nature. It’s what I call the “natural man.” He will get you killed – literally and figuratively. The “natural man” is lazy. He’s immediate gratification. He wants everything now and he doesn’t want to work for it. And when things are good, he slacks off.
I spent 8 years in the military. I spent time in Iraq in 2005-2006 and during that time, I had the chance every single day to look at a sign on our base that read, “complacency kills,” as in literal death.
Soldiers would leave our operating base and, because they had done that route so many times before or nothing ever happened when they left, they’d let their guard down, and unexpectedly and without being ready, they’d get ambushed or hit by an IED.
I’m not suggesting that vigilance will keep you out of harm’s way at all times but it will certainly mitigate the risk of getting caught with your pants down.
We cannot let this happen. Frankly the world needs us more than it ever has. There are enemies lurking. There are those that would prey upon the weak. There are wolves in our midst. And, less obvious but equally dangerous, you might be the one to get in your own way.
I don’t want any of us to ever slack off. I don’t want any of us to ever take it easy, or take the easy route because, as soon as we do the enemy will meet us there and destroy us.
I’m not talking about a physical enemy although it could be but I’m talking about getting fired or demoted because you forgot to keep getting the job done. I’m talking about your wife blindsiding you with divorce papers because you forgot to continue dating her. I’m talking about a medical diagnosis that could have been prevented through a simple diet and exercise program. I’m talking about depression or loss of purpose and clarity in your life because you got too busy to be deliberate about taking time for yourself.
None of these things will literally kill you but the do have the potential to destroy you. I talk with men dealing with each of these situations on a daily basis and I can tell you that all of them wish they would have done a little more, pushed themselves a little harder. It’s critical you guys.
My wife’s grandfather grew amazing tomatoes. Each year, he would take a shovel and chop of a quarter of the roots to each tree. He said putting the tomatoes under a little stress helped the fruit grow better. If the tomato plant believes it’s in trouble, it will work harder to stay alive.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true because I’m not a botanist but, I can tell you that every time I’ve been under stress, I’ve performed better.
I’m not going to suggest to you that you should put undue amounts of stress on yourself for the sake of growing. I also believe that if you chopped ALL the roots off that tomato tree, it would probably die.
But, a healthy dose of pressure, hardship, stress, and challenge will test you. It will push you beyond your perceived limitations, and it will keep you from growing complacent.
I did a podcast interview with the Founder of Onnit, Aubrey Marcus on Tuesday of this week and one of the things he said to me which I’ll remember forever was, “Pressure makes the diamond, dragons make the heroes, and demons make the angels.”
So, with that said, here are your marching orders for the week. Here is what I want you to do. I want you to get out a piece of paper right now (if you’re driving or working out I’ll give you a little leniency on this and allow you to do it later).
I want you to divide the paper into four sections. And, I want you to title those 4 sections: Relationships, Health, Wealth, and Self.
Now, on a scale from 1-10, ten being the highest, how much are you pushing yourself in each of those areas? How hard are you working? How much pressure have you exposed yourself to?
If you’re not ranking at at least a 7, you don’t have enough pressure in your life.
Next, I want you to write 3 things – 3 tasks you’re going to complete in each one of those areas that’s going to put a little stress on you. And, I want you to get those tasks done by the end of next week.
In relationships, it could be a date with your wife. It could be undivided attention to each of your children. It might be helping a friend move.
With your health, it might be going to the gym for the first time in years. It might mean you sign up for that Spartan Race you’ve been meaning to sign up for.
With your wealth, it could mean that you finish that product you’ve been meaning to finish. Maybe you ask someone to buy something from you.
And with yourself, you could carve out time for reading a book each day. You could pick up that hobby you haven’t been able to take the time to do in years. It could mean that you go camping with your buddies.
The bottom line is this guys, you have to push yourself. Don’t ever let yourself get comfortable. There is no coasting, no middle ground, no default mode. You’re either pushing to new heights or falling behind.
Complacency kills. Don’t be ordinary. Do not allow yourself to get comfortable. Never be complacent.