(Just think about how long a complacent ninja would live… not very.)
There is a lot of talk about how giving up(don’t do it) is the biggest dream killer out there. Whereas that might be true, it’s not the only one. Some remain hidden, silently stalking their prey until they see the opportunity, and strike!
If you’ve started working towards your goals, there is something you will encounter on your journey. Something dangerous, silent like a ninja, it creeps up on you, and without warning it infiltrates your very mind.
As it builds up, you start to lose motivation, your drive gets replaced by self satisfaction. Then you start working less, and less, until you finally conclude that you have no reason to work anymore. You’ve basically, well kind of, reached your goal, and that’s enough right? Not if you want to actually achieve something in your life.
Step #0 Never Look Down
As with many other things, the best course of action is prevention. If you aren’t currently under attack, this step alone will be plenty.
For almost everything I undertake, I will reach a point where I am better than average.. and I will start to feel the first signs of complacency. This happens because I realize that I am comparatively better than this and that person, so I end up concluding that that fact makes me good at… which is complete crap. Especially since most of the time, the people I end up comparing myself to, either don’t have the same goals as me, or aren’t invested to the same degree.
When you’re aiming for something great, never look down. Stick to people who are doing better than you, and find out exactly why they are better. Do they work harder? Smarter? Ask for details wherever possible, and find out the rest the hard way if you have to. For almost any goal you could possibly set for yourself, there is a corresponding success story you could look to if you have no real life examples around you.
When you master this step, you will avoid becoming complacent in the first place, and thus avoid having to go through the next steps again.
Step #1 Open Your Eyes
Let go of the notion that you have gone as far as you can, and really question whether or not you have. Challenge your perception. Sometimes you are a victim of your own self delusion. Many question it’s origins, but the general consensus among the viking alliance, is that it emerges because of a desire to break free of the from the risk of failure. The sometimes overwhelming feeling that you could fail, that you might not succeed. To avoid that, you exaggerate your small successes, and blind yourself from the truth.
Open your eyes, realize where you actually are on the road towards your actual goal.
Step #2 Remember Your Original Goal
Remind yourself of the goal your originally set for yourself. Hopefully you have it in writing somewhere. Find it, whether that involves dusting off ancient scrolls, or a quick search on your computer or blog. Revisit the past, and the truth of the present shall reveal itself before you.
If your written goals were modest enough that you actually achieved them, try to remember that crazy, unthinkable goal that you were too frightened to write down. Such as becoming a best selling author that speaks 14 languages. Or become a space traveling, generous investment banker. Remember the dream that you were afraid to label as a goal, and adjust your current plans and actions accordingly.
Step #3 Find New Motivation
As I mentioned in step#0, only looking up is a great way to remain motivated. If you are feeling complacent, I recommend that you find two different people, or at least their stories. One who has completely reached your ultimate goal, and one who is a bit further down the path from where you stopped, and still working.
Given that I live in a relatively small town in Norway, and my dreams consist of making a living writing online (in English), I sometimes have a hard time finding more successful peers. But I actually managed to find a few, when I really looked. Also, don’t be afraid to think a bit outside of the box. For example if you want to be a specific kind of painter, but you can’t find any peers more successful than you in that genre, look outside the genre and also age group.
For some people the stick works better than the carrot as a motivator. So seek out the worst horror stories about people who felt they had succeeded and stopped working. Then before they started to suspect anything, everything started to fall apart.
Back in high school I felt that I was doing more than well enough, and I ended up having to change schools. And my friend who was a pro gamer stopped playing in his free time, and ended up getting cut after under three months.
As far as success stories go, I got my first paying client for my writing last week, and although I am nowhere close to my goal rate pay, or number of clients, it is one step I am ahead of some people on the same path.
But your motivation doesn’t have to come from people in your field, or people at all for that matter. Find something that motivates you, and fall back on it whenever the road gets bumpy.
Humor My Curiosity
What are you going to do, now that you’ve(hopefully) overcome your complacency?
In the interest of inspiring fellow readers:
What is your biggest goal, and what are some of the small, or humongous, successes you have had along the way?
Do you have a horror story you would be willing to share?
Have a Fantastic Friday, and remember:
“Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” – Aesop
Picture by: Ninja Tottori (not on purpose, just a very happy coincidence.. or maybe that’s just what I was lead to believe.)