The Issue with Complacency & How it Will Hold You Back in Life

The Issue with Complacency

Do you ever convince yourself that you’re the best you can be while the back of your mind knows that you truly could be doing better?

I am not talking about pressuring yourself to live up to some unrealistic expectations that you or your mom or society set for you. I am talking about when you are aware that you have the potential to do more or be more but you’re settling for less just because it’s easy.

It’s when you’re overly satisfied with yourself when you have the potential to do more. It is when you waste your potential.

That, my friends, is complacency. 

A Witness to Complacency

I don’t think I have known the comfort of complacency in years, but I have definitely seen it. Maybe it is not my place to be bothered by it, but when you love and care for a friend or family member and you see them give up everything to do, well, nothing, it hurts. 

Of course, it doesn’t directly affect my life, but I think it is pretty natural to want to see the people that you love succeed. You want what is best for them. You want them to be fulfilled and happy. 

When you see somebody who is super intelligent, talented and has the financial support to achieve their goals and they give it because just not doing anything is easier, that is sad. 

Complacency is living in your comfort zone. But I feel that the only way to grow and live to your potential as a human being (whether that is finding happiness, advancing your career, making waves in the world or whatever the universe has in store for you) is to get out of the comfort zone.

I have seen too many people stay in their comfort zones for a variety of reasons. But in my opinion, most of these reasons are no better than lame excuses. Maybe I am narrow minded, but I cannot see how somebody can feel joy and fulfillment while staying in the same place emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually.

You’re given one life, and if you don’t use all of the resources provided to you to simply be better, you’re wasting it. 

Examples of Complacency

You can experience complacency in just about any area of life, but there are three major examples of complacency that I’ve witnessed the most: complacency in careers, relationships and personal growth.

Complacency in Careers

So, you have a 9-5. You’ve been there for 20+ years. You’ve only received raises that were supposed to account for inflation. You’re not valued.

This is not what you deserve. 

The trend today—especially when it comes to entrepreneurs and pyramid schemers—is bashing 9-5s and employment. 

While I’ve chosen the entrepreneur route, it doesn’t mean I believe it’s the path for everybody. But I do not believe in settling for less than you deserve. Speak up.

While I’ve heard some different views on whether or not you should ask for a raise. If you’ve been working at Chick-fil-A for three months, don’t ask your manager for a $5 raise. She will laugh.

But if you have worked hard for a company for 20 years and you started out at $40k, you shouldn’t be making $41K this year. You’re worth more.

Complacency in Relationships

How many of you have stayed in a relationship, either romantic or platonic, that wasn’t good for you?

This friend or more than a friend may have treated you horribly, but you stuck around because you felt like that was the relationship you deserved and it was easier to just stay.

People talk about toxic romantic relationships all the time. But we don’t talk often enough about those platonic friendships that you shouldn’t be in. You know those friends who take the playful bullying a little two far? The ones who constantly put you down or steer you down the wrong path? But at least you have a friend, right?


I am not saying ditch every friend who has told you a white lie or done you wrong in even the slightest. I am saying be smart.

The fix could be much simpler. Tell this friend that you deserve to be treated better. Tell them how to treat you. If they are a true friend, they will respect your request to be treated as you deserve. They may not recognize the harm in their behavior until you say something.

Complacency in Personal Growth

This is a bit difficult to talk about just because personal growth means something different to each person. Personal growth comes with experiences. It could be something as simple as daily meditation or as wild as traveling the world.

Personal growth comes from the effort that you put in pushing yourself to try new things or working to better yourself at something you already do.

Beating complacency in personal growth does not have to be expensive. Meditation and reflection are free. If you have a gym membership at school or work (or you’ve personally invested in one), step out of your comfort zone and try a new class. Just try new things.

Personal growth is free, so stop making excuses. Stop being complacent.

The Root of Complacency

In my opinion, complacency is rooted in some sort of insecurity or self-hatred. Even though “self-satisfaction” and “self-approval” are synonyms of complacency.

If you lack the desire to move on from where you are, it is probably because you don’t think you deserve better or you’re scared to get out of your comfort zone. Insecurity and self-hatred are tough, but as humans we all deserve the best. We all deserve to be our best selves.

Avoiding Complacency

I’ve avoided complacency by regularly making choices that make me uncomfortable. I don’t mean buying drugs from a stranger in a sketchy alley or walking over a bed of broken glass. Of course, I am not on a mission to self-destruct, but I am on a mission to grow.

Growth doesn’t come without growing pains. The growing pains may be as serious as a bit of financial struggle or as simple feeling a bit awkward at an event because you don’t know anyone there.

Getting out of your comfort zone is the biggest thing.

You’ve been wanting to go back to college? If you have the money, just do it. If you don’t have the money, research grants and scholarships, or take free courses online to get back in the game.

Been wanting to get in better physical shape? There are tons of free resources online. You don’t need a gym. Just start.

Not happy with your life. CHANGE IT. Do something, anything, differently, even if that means going to bed 30 minutes earlier so you feel more refreshed.

Change is possible, but only if you’re intentional.

Swearing Off Complacency

I like to be surrounded by people who are geared towards growth. I enjoy the company of goal oriented people. (Even if your goal is to visit every McDonalds in the United States, go get ‘em tiger).

Just whatever you do, don’t settle. Celebrate accomplishments and keep moving forward. Don’t be complacent.


  1. this is the type of person i need to surround myself with. i’m tired of being backstabbed by people i thought i trusted. you are influenced by the five people you hang out with most. i need friends who are serious about commitment. thank you for this article, Emily.

    Liked by 1 person

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