noun, plural complacencies.
- a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
This is a word we are all too familiar with. It is a word often used to describe attitudes and explain behaviours and yet it is a word the very meaning of which has caused untold numbers of lives to be lost, countless careers to be destroyed and innumerable relationships to be irreparably damaged.
Those are just a few examples of the devastation that can be traced back to one 4 syllable word.
And each and every one of us have been guilty of bringing complacency into an area of our life, usually with no ill intention and almost always with unpleasant unintended consequences.
Those of us who drive cars have all been guilty of incorporating this word into our driving practices and it is the sheer act of good fortune that has prevented most of us from a rueing the consequences.
Complacency takes place when we don’t bother to put on our seatbelts because we are only driving a few blocks, when we go to bed while leaving lit candles to burn themselves out and when we head out to enjoy some winter hiking and toss our survival kit bag into the trunk without taking a moment to examine the contents.
Complacency is often the result of continued, repeated good fortune as witnessed by the hundreds of times we have placed ourselves unnecessarily at risk driven by a certainty that nothing untoward will happen because it has never happened before.
I believe this is the word that led to the demise of a political dynasty that had ruled our province for more than 40 years.
Having won 12 consecutive elections with majority governments the PCs went into an election this past spring with, I am sure, a quiet conviction that they would once again triumph over their opponents while, as before, paying no attention to the voices of their critics.
Taking things for granted is, in my opinion, the very form of complacency that propelled them to a humiliating defeat because of their unshakable conviction that the results would be the same as before because, well… just because they always had been.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting the results to be different, then surely the definition of complacency is doing the same things over and over again because of a conviction that the results will be the same.
The Habit of Non-Complacency is also the habit of not taking people, things and events for granted.
It is a clear understanding that just because you have driven without a seatbelt 1 million times without being injured in an accident does not mean that not wearing a seatbelt this time is any assurance that the injury caused by being ejected from a vehicle will prevent a lifetime of regret.
The Habit of Non-Complacency, when adopted with serious commitment, will allow us to escape from the self-delusion that comes from a false belief that the past does equal the future and will prevent us from harm, sadness or disappointment when we learn that it doesn’t.
Taking the future for granted is a risk not with taking and by making The Habit of Non-Complacency a key component of who you are, you will be practising risk management at the highest possible level.
And that is nothing to be complacent about.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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