Having recently looked at regret, and how it can either be a negative emotional state or a force for good, I would like to explore one of its main causes; complacency. In life, we often reach a certain level only to become comfortable, shift our priorities, develop a routine or just settle. In doing so, we lose some of our drive and stop chasing our goals with much purpose. Most worrying of all, though, complacency blinds us to many of the opportunities which present themselves to us. These could be opportunities, which with some work, have the potential to further improve our lives. However, we often don’t realise this until it is too late and the opportunity has long since passed.
Our minds, if we fully take advantage of them, are incredibly powerful. In the animal kingdom, doing everything they can to the best of their ability is a matter of life and death for many creatures. If they want to survive, then lions must become expert hunters, just as monkeys must become expert climbers and always alert. Humans, however have a choice. We actually choose, whether consciously or not, to do less than our best.
Every single person has the ability to choose their own destiny and to actually make it a reality. This is why some people, despite the most difficult of upbringings, achieve incredible success while others from privileged backgrounds falter and fall short of their dreams and ambitions. What is the difference, and why does one group soar, while other stumbles or falls flat on its face?
Much of this is tied to our mental and emotional strength. Anytime we pursue our goals, we will likely face challenges along the way. The bigger the goal, the bigger the challenges. It is our reaction to the challenges that we face which determines our success. The brain considers change to be a threat to the status quo, therefore we often become resistant to it or find ways to avoid it. Humans love to walk the path of least resistance. At crucial moments, we doubt ourselves and lack confidence. We give up too easily after a setback. Or we settle when we reach a certain point, for fear that the challenges which we will face as we try to strive for our next goal will be too big and beyond our abilities to overcome.
Challenges, as I have said before, are wonderful things. They are an important ingredient for success because they can teach us so much if we pay attention. We can gain knowledge, learn new skills or improve our abilities in a certain area as we strive to overcome them. Facing fears, challenges and obstacles which arise on your journey towards success also builds character. Or, if your prefer, you can avoid them and just remain comfortable while not exerting yourself. You are unlikely to achieve much with that attitude and approach though.
Settle for less or relentlessly go after your goals. One of these leads to a fulfilling life, the other to regret. The choice is yours, so choose wisely..