Complacency

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Bruce Lee

Fear is an excellent motivator. Our natural response to fear or discomfort is to run the other way. We seek comforting things. Nostalgia. Hot comfort food. Smells. Familiar places. Routines. A consistent routine is a godsend to hectic times. But comfort isn’t always our friend.

Comfort is often the gateway emotion to complacency.

Complacency is a short path to ruin. The world never stops moving, but you do.

Essentially, complacency is feeling naively satisfied with your life and with yourself, despite all the red flags and warning fires dancing in your periphery. Funny enough, I believe complacency can come from both success and failure.

Success Complacency comes from achieving a goal and-or reaching the top of a mountain and telling yourself that you’ve “made it”. You reach the top (or at least what you think is the top) and you stop. You root.

You build a successful business but stop innovating. You make a hit song and you fold in the towel. You find the love of your dreams, get married, and stop trying.

We retire from creating. We stop improving. We coast. We smug (to use that word incorrectly as a verb). And while we’re goofing off— our skills and ideas rusting away—everyone around us is still in the game—improving, achieving and, more importantly, trying.

And suddenly we find ourselves at the bottom. The mountain moved beneath us while we were sleeping.

Failure Complacency is the opposite of Success Complacency. Not only have you not succeeded, you’re perpetually dissatisfied with how things are. You’ve tried, usually, you’ve tried extremely hard, but nothing has worked out.

Failure complacency is accepting a mediocre life or giving up after failing and resigning yourself to being a miserable sad sack. You fall into patterns of comfort and safety—or at least the little “comfort” and “safety” you have. For example, you hate your job but don’t do anything about it. It sucks, but the pay is decent, so why quit? Or you attach yourself to a certain lifestyle and despite hating yourself, you don’t want to give it up.

Psychologists might have better names for success and failure complacency. (These are just ideas I’ve observed in my own life and through the lives of others.) I want to do more research on this idea.

I do know that both success and failure complacency are difficult to overcome in their own ways. I would guess that the majority of us deal more with failure complacency than success complacency, but I could be biased.

The only way forward is to seek change and momentum.

We must challenge ourselves and learn to become comfortable with discomfort. Not for discomfort’s sake, but so that we are always moving. Even when we are resting and doing nothing, our minds and bodies are in continuous flow. Clouds dance. Nature bends to the wind. The world beneath our feet is rotating and walking through space. Life is motion.

Seeking challenge is our way forward.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1016

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Seeking Challenge

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”

Joseph Campbell

Whenever I’m feeling nervous about something, I know it’s a good sign that I need to be doing it. Singing, for example. It’s something I’ve been learning for the past couple of years. It feels natural singing and playing guitar by myself, or with friends. But I know I’m still in the beginning stages, so I always feel a little discomfort in the pit of my stomach and my heart starts fluttering when I sing for others.

If something is easy, it means we aren’t challenging ourselves enough.

It’s not difficult we want, rather challenge. Hard, not for hard sake. Hard because we want to feel uncomfortable. Well, we don’t want to bu uncomfortable, but that’s where improvement and growth build from.

Discomfort is how we grow. When we step out of our cozy slippers and step into a new and unfamiliar place, we push ourselves to grow.

There are many ways we can challenge ourselves. We can challenge ourselves by doing more. By doing less. By doing something different. By doing something that scares us. By doing something that is unfamiliar. By mimicking others.

We push ourselves to fail. Again, not intentionally, but because dancing on the edge between failure and success is where the magic is.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1015

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Comfort Zone Gaps

Comfort is not necessary a bad thing, but if it makes you feel complacent or stuck then your comfort is getting in your way of living a meaningful life.

Think of comfort zones as concentric circles like a dartboard, with you standing comfortably in the middle on the bullseye and larger circles of discomfort expanding out around you.

We don’t really want to leap for the outer circle immediately. We could try, but the problem is most of the time we won’t. The outer circle is terrifying when you are safe and stable in the middle. You might hate where you, but you’re sure as heck not about to go out there. When faced with an overwhelming amount of fear and uncertainty most of us (if not all) who are not trained do nothing. Even if that uncertain situation is something we want to do and even dream about doing. The gap is too far away.

Jumping straight into your discomfort zone is like trying to give a speech in front of a large crowd without any morsel of preparations or practice — palm-sweating and almost assured you’ll choke.

The better approach to getting out of your knitted-sweater of a comfort zone is to take it one circle at a time. What’s something you can do that puts your foot in the water? What path can you create with milestones along the way to achieving your goal? How can you use fear to your advantage?

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #668

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Life Principle #6: Live For Challenge

Imagine yourself backstage.

You’re about to go one and speak to a crowded room of thousands of people.
The crowd is lively, the stage lights are bright, and you’re freaking the E. F-ing G. out.

Good.

That means you’re doing something right.

Public speaking is one of the most feared and revered skills we can have as humans. The ability to capture the minds and imaginations of thousands all at once with words — interpreted sounds — is incredible to me!

But unless you practice and hone your skills, it’s easy to see how being in front of that many people all looking at you at once can create such a fear-inducing effect. When I’ve spoken in front of people, I’ve either killed it or completely (arti)choked. It was all about the mindset I wore and the perspective running through my mind at the moment.

One prevailing theme I’ve observed from reading multiple biographies and from my own experiences is that challenges ultimately lead to greatness.  We become more capable, more confident, and grow faster when we jump into our discomfort zones and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Life Principle #6: Life for Challenge

Mastery of life begins in our discomfort zones. Do what you fear.

When you feel a ping of fear* about something, that is something you should immediately start doing.

(* fear doesn’t mean stupid. Don’t go frolic with tigers or play hopscotch with the mob.)

Every moment of pain, discomfort, failure, critique, hiccup, rock-bottom fall is a challenge to overcome.

The worst setbacks we face can become opportunities for going further than we ever imagined. 

Setbacks don’t define you, it’s what you do with them that speaks about who you are.

Chronic neck injury, burnout, useless college education, financial meltdown, shallow friendships, fatigue, uncertainty, these are my experiences. These are the stories I have the opportunity to share with others and teach them how to endure and overcome their own challenges.

I think we all know intuitively that we have to do something in order to be something. (I feel dumb even writing it)
If you want to be a blogger, you have to blog.
If you want to be a musician, you have to practice, record and play.
If you want to start an online business, you have to start.

And yet we still let fear hold us back. We let discomfort keep us from our ideal future.
But the strange thing is when you live for challenge, you learn to enjoy the discomfort.

Do you think Jimmy Fallon still get’s nervous every time he goes out on stage during Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? Of course he does! But he loves it.  He loves the fear and uncertainty.

The same goes for everyone who’s ever done anything and stood out in their lives.

And when you do step into your discomfort zone, despite the fear, you become unstoppable. Not because you can’t fail (you will) but because you proved to yourself that you are more capable then you or others thought possible. 

Anyone can crowd surf, but only a few try.

Starting a business is terrifying. What if I fail? What if I lose all of my money?
Becoming a public speaker is terrifying. What if I bomb? What if I embarrass myself?
Becoming an author is terrifying. What if I never finish? What if it’s my work is no good?

But what if it works? What would you’re life look like if you succeed?
And if it is terrible, if you do bomb, what if you kept going until you succeed?

What’s scarier to you: stepping into the fear and challenging your comfort zone, or giving into the fear and living a lifetime wondering if your life would be better if you had?

The largest regrets I’ll have on my deathbed are challenges I didn’t take, and opportunities I missed because I was too scared in the moment to try. 

A moment of discomfort looking like an idiot, falling on my face, being criticized is nothing compared to a lifetime of giving into fear and taking the normal road.

The Renaissance Life is about challenging yourself to become a part of something greater, to be what you know you are capable of.

Live for Challenge.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Insights (From People Smarter Than ME)

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.” — Trent Reznor

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” — Steve Jobs

You’re a Slacker McFly, Just Like Your Old Man

How many of us go through our entire life living passively

We spend most of our time hoping for a better life while taking part in a life that doesn’t align with our core self. We work, interact, read and exist as if we will live forever and that we have the option to slack off. We avoid who we want to be, in service of who don’t want to be.

All the while, we could die tomorrow in a freak hotdog accident.

I don’t want to live a life of a slacker and wake up one day when I️’m fat and 85 and wonder what happened.

Slacking isn’t having negative ‘nothing’ space or spending time with what you love. Slacking off is distracting yourself from what you should or want to be doing. It’s the fidget spinner of our humanity. 

Do people plan to be apathetic?

No, I️ don’t think so. Living asleep happens gradually and it’s hard to notice unless you’re  already out of it­ looking back to the bizarro world you lived in.

How do we keep ourselves from being apathetic and complacent?

1. Have a reminder that life is short.

A phrase you read each morning or a memento you carry as a reminder.
Read I­t­ in the morning, feel I­t­ in your bones.

2. Create weekly, monthly check-ins to review what you’ve been doing.

 What’s working, what’s not?
 Are you giving time for the important things?
 Are you taking steps towards accomplishing your goals?

3. Make a plan for what’s important, and take daily actions that challenge your status quo.
    What are you afraid to do?
    

We must live in our discomfort zone to create radical change in our lives.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Related Ideas I’m thinking about:

Fear Setting from TF
The Tail End, from Wait But Why
Guilt, Happiness and Honesty, from Ryan Holiday (Feb. 2008)

Sleepwalking Mask

I’ve been reflecting on Lewis Howes new book The Masks of Masculinity. (Great read highly recommended it) In it, he discusses the mask that guys can put on as a lens into how to live in the world. Athletic Mask, Stoic Mask, Material Mask… Lady’s can have these masks too, but they generally have better support groups and talk with friends differently than guys. (More honest and open relationships about what’s going on)

Being honest and open about my life and mission in life to be a Renaissance Man is one of the reasons I started the Renaissance in the first place.

Somewhere between middle school and high school, I changed. (No duh stupid it’s called puberty idiot-face 🙂 When I say change, I mean I lost a piece of who I was and put up a barrier. Instead of being more outgoing and taking chances, I would hold myself back. A veil of apathy maybe.. although apathy might be too strong of a word… I was mild. It was more like a piece of glass between who I was and who I came across as. Paul would say I wasn’t living at level 10, instead, I was living at level 7 or 8.

Inside, I was energetic, curious, outgoing, creative (and a little rebellious) but subdued, possibly even a little distant on the outside. I still cared about things, — which is why the word apathy doesn’t quite fit — I enjoyed hanging with my friends and pursuing passions (music, art, math, sports) and creativity, but I wasn’t living my life to the utmost. I wasn’t completely awake. I was living like I was sleepwalking.

I didn’t see this at the time of course, (hindsight is a 20 / 20 Bee) and I doubt others did either. I think this continued to college and on. It wasn’t until I started the Renaissance and improving myself that I started to feel the glass between the world and my real self.

Living asleep won’t kill you, but it won’t give you an extraordinary life.

I want to find my childlike curiosity and boldness again.

There’s wisdom in living your life with child-like wonder and imagination. I’m not trying to look over the childish traits — self-centered, stingy, short — those are there too.

But the closer we can get to who we were as kids — imagination, playing, laughter, making friends, taking action, learning — the better our perspective and experiences in life will be.

 

The questions I’m facing today are:

Q: How do I live every day by being fully ALIVE?

Q: How can I increase my energy, charisma, and enthusiasm for what I do, who I am and who I aim to be?

Q: How do I live a fulfilled and extraordinary life?

Q: How do I create the most impact on others lives and build a network of incredible relationships

Q: How can I practice curiosity and childlike wonder and imagination every day in all that I do?

I don’t know if I have an answer yet on how to remove the sleepwalking mask, but I do know that continuing what I’ve been doing can do nothing but help:

Asking hard questions.

Making new connections.

Challenging myself with daily challenges.

Getting into what makes me uncomfortable.

And doing what I fear so that I can become what I dream.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

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Related Wisdom:

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”Marcus Aurelius

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” Joseph Campbell