It’s not a four-letter word, but maybe it should be. Here’s why….

If you’re a complacent person then you’re overly content and pleased with yourself. As a result, you’ve stopped paying attention to the things that matter. Blissfully unaware, you have come to ignore the real dangers in life, like your shortcomings, imperfections and flaws. Yeah, that.

You are in a rut. You are the only who doesn’t notice this.

Everyone around you is aware of your complacency and, frankly, they don’t like it one little bit; they know there’s way more to you than the way you’re showing up.

If you’re complacent, others experience you as smug, self-righteous and conceited. Please take notice that, in this version of yourself, you won’t win any popularity contests.


  • Don’t vote

  • Don’t have anything to feel scared about

  • Don’t pick up an extra project at work

  • Don’t mentor others

  • Don’t pick up garbage at the playground

  • Don’t stay current with the news

  • Don’t see anyone else’s perspective

  • Don’t add value

  • Don’t pay attention

  • Does the bare minimum

  • Don’t disrupt

  • Don’t try anything new

  • Don’t grow

  • Don’t seek promotions

  • Don’t take the initiative

  • Don’t speak up

  • Don’t self-reflect

  • Don’t share themselves and their ideas

  • Don’t advance their careers

  • Don’t improve their relationships

Most people become complacent at some point in their lives.

Yes, even (or maybe, especially) high potential people.

You know these people. You work with them, live with them and hang out with them. You might even be complacent yourself (Yuck, right?)

When you’re complacent you see no need for change, improvement or even self-examination. Are you tired of feeling indifferent and complacent?

Complacency isn’t laziness as much as it is self-absorption: Think: Blindspot! Things are moving along dandily in your life, so why change anything that doesn’t affect you? It’s easier to leave things alone, let sleeping dogs lie and all that.

That’s why it’s so dangerous.

When we’re complacent, we don’t take a stand for anything; we’re in neutral and we refuse to shift because, hell, we just don’t want to. Sound like a brat? Yeah, pretty much.

Yes, it really is that simple. Complacency makes us stay in our comfort zone which, inevitably, will become damn uncomfortable. But you don’t have to worry about that right now, do you?


  • The status quo

  • We’ve always done it this way

  • Business as usual

  • It’s not my problem

  • That legislation doesn’t affect me

  • I can only do so much

  • I don’t care

  • Lack of accountability

  • I like my life to be predictable

  • Things are fine the way they are

  • I have bigger fish to fry

  • I don’t have time to consider the issue

  • That’s Bob’s job

There’s another side to complacency that’s equally risky and threatening to your mental and emotional health, and that’s lethargy.

When we’re lethargic we abdicate responsibility for our lives and work. We give up. We stop caring. We surrender our power. Here’s how we do that…

We hope things will get better; that a new job will magically appear. We dream about a change in our financials, relationship or health.

We wish we could start a new business, scale the one we have, or delegate the things we do horribly.

We sit still.

We wait in our rut. With our head in the sand.

But nothing changes by itself. Nothing will change until you get moving.

Action is the ONLY antidote to complacency

The human brain is programmed for progress, and the human spirit is highly motivated to have an impact, and make a personally meaningful difference. None of these things can occur in a complacent internal or external environment.

Complacency kills everything worthwhile in your life. Here’s a partial list of…


  • Engagement

  • Innovation

  • Creativity

  • Productivity

  • Absenteeism

  • Presenteeism

  • Ambition

  • Security

  • Professionalism

  • Enthusiasm

  • Passion

  • Motivation

  • Competition

  • Change

  • Collaboration

So what’s a complacent person to do?

The first step is to notice that you’re complacent (see list above). The next step is to, well, take a step. Make it small. Make it doable. Make it something you care about. Make it something you know, in your heart, you will succeed at accomplishing.

Remember this: You can’t steer a bicycle until you get it moving! The same goes for you and I.


What causes you to be complacent?

  • Is there a trigger for your complacency?

  • How do you get out of it, and start moving again?

  • Anything you want to add?

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