Guarding Against Complacency
One of the real dangers we face in the work place and in life, is that of complacency. We reach a point where we do not feel the need to give our best, to give our all. We reach a point where we feel that “good enough” is good enough!
The drive that once was part of our day to day lives becomes lessened and transforms into something different- something less than it was before. The passion for excellence, the desire to give and do our best is supplanted by the feeling that what we do is “good enough” and “good enough” is all we want to give.
It is precisely at this point that we begin to devalue ourselves and our contribution to the work place, our individual tasks and to our lives. This is not the same as balancing priorities where there are times that we must sacrifice “perfect” for “good” or “great” in order to accomplish other items. Sometimes we need to go with the good, but we should always work for the great! One is a temporary situation where the other is a more permanent mind set.
Complacency is not the same as contentment. The difference can be a subtle albeit important one. Being content contains within it a sense of peace that we have and are doing all we can do. Contentment contains within it, a sense of happiness. Complacency on the other hand indicates that we are no longer interested in doing our best but rather only barely enough to get by.
It is easy to see that complacency is fueled by an absence of passion, of the desire to invest ourselves fully in the process and give it our best. We may desire an excellent outcome, but we lack the care necessary to make an outcome all it should be. The lack of a personal desire to express excellence in action and the discipline to carry it out stifles creativity, passion and lessens the eventual outcome. It is also unfair to those with whom the individual is in relationship as they are not truly carrying their weight.
I have often found it impossible to motivate people with exterior means, such as incentives etc.. for any extended period of time. True motivation must originate from the interior of the individual. They must see performing with a desire for excellence as an expression of who they are at their core. It must be part of their vision of themselves. In this way, they can be content with who they are, the job they have performed while knowing they may still have more to learn in how regarding performing with more effectiveness and efficiency.
While we speak of these terms as they relate to actions we perform, the truth is they are a reflection of how we see our selves, our work or relationships. In all cases, it revolves around how we see our self and our relation to the world around us.
Let your sense of personal integrity of a job well done pervade your thinking. Did you sign on to do a mediocre job? If so, then you are harming yourself as well as those who count on you. Remember we are here to give to each other. Give your best and you will receive the best from others.
Complacency deadens the spirit and soul, while passion and contentment invigorates the heart and mind of both the individual and those around them. Jeff White