Complacency and stagnation come in many forms. Some of us get complacent because we have reached a plateau, or maybe we’re scared to make a mistake and start to put off decisions. For whatever reason it may be, stagnation and complacency can cripple your life and throw your goals off track because it deprives you of growth. It can stifle your creativity and make you adverse to taking risks.
The good news is that you have the power to rewire and re-program your mental operating system so that you don’t end up complacent. To do this, you must identify and deal with it early on. So how can we tell if we are falling into the trap of complacency and how do we negate stagnation in our lives? Let’s define the basics first.
What is Complacency and Stagnation?
Complacency is a state of mind where people become satisfied and too comfortable with their current level of success and stop striving for growth or improvement. Complacency leads to stagnation, as it is the halt of the progression of challenging yourself to push the boundaries. This means you are no longer learning or developing. Without growth, you can fall behind those who are still striving for improvement.
Not only does complacency lead to stagnation, but it leads to a zapping of one's creativity and innovation. This can become apparent in your work and your personal life. No longer thinking outside the box and being a problem solver can cause harm to you and those around you. So how can you avoid complacency and ensure that it does not hurt your success?
The Best Ways to Negate Complacency and Stagnation
You know you have fallen into the complacency trap when you take things for granted, stick to what you know, stop learning, resist change, avoid risks, have too much routine, and feel bored. In short, you become complacent if you take the path of least resistance. To avoid that, here are a few best practices to overcome stagnation.
Set New and Challenging Goals for Yourself
Setting new goals is not only a solid step in personal transformation but also a great way to decrease the effects of complacency. Setting goals will give you a sense of purpose and motivation that encourages you to continue growing. These can be anything, from learning a new recipe to reading a chapter of a book every day. Challenge yourself to stray from routine!
Create Routines Without Saying No to New Experiences
Routines are great. They are ultimately a mental checklist of the accomplishments you achieve throughout the day, like going to the gym after work or cooking dinner. However, while it’s important to have routines, it’s also important to recognize when they can become stagnant and that is when change needs to ensue. Experience something new and branch out from your agenda when you feel like you are getting complacent.
Continue Expanding Your Knowledge and Skills
Continuing to learn is the best way to grow. Whether it's through taking online courses, attending social networks or workshops, or even just reading books and articles, it’s important that you keep honing your brain to learn something new constantly. Growing like this helps you stay relevant and competitive, and will also provide immense inspiration to your everyday life.
Source: Bert Seither (2018) Three Reasons You’re Stagnating
Source: Zach Sabin (2023) 4 Ways Complacency Stifles Your Success and How to Prevent It
Source: Matthew Royse (2022) 7 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Escape the Trap of Complacency