John Kenneth Galbraith, a Canadian-American economist, diplomat, public official and intellectual once said “We should comfort the afflicted, but we also need to afflict the comfortable”. The reason being that too much comfort is more of a moral vice than a virtue. I am not kicking against comfort because it is the reason why some of us, if not most of us work extremely hard. But if we can look closely, being overly comfortable often leads to the troubling vice called COMPLACENCY.

Complacency, is the state of being pleased, especially with one’s self or one’s merits, advantages, or situations, often without awareness of some potential danger or defect. Another definition goes thus; a feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy. One major cause of complacency is the thought that “all is well” in one’s disposition. This sort of smug satisfaction deters and deflects the crucial task of self-examination and self-criticism, and progresses into the examination and criticism of others.

Most of us are guilty of complacency. It is normal to feel satisfaction when we get something right, but we shouldn’t feel too satisfied that we start to have stunted growth. Earlier this year, I met a baker who learnt how to bake cakes watching YouTube videos. She started making really beautiful cakes and she soon started to get patronized. Over the months, she repeatedly made the same cakes for people, she didn’t border to change recipe, neither did she change designs, she just kept repeating the same old cakes and designs whenever someone ordered for her services. Sooner than later, she started to lose her customers and then it dawned on her that she got too satisfied with her results and that led to her customer base dwindling drastically. She started to make efforts to learn better recipes and designs after that. Anyone can fall a victim of complacency and that’s why we have to be on the lookout, constantly examining ourselves to make sure this vice doesn’t catch us unawares.

Now, there is a difference between self-reward and self-satisfaction. Whenever you get something done right, commend yourself. Buy something for yourself if you can afford it but ensure to make that achievement a stepping stone to greater future achievements. Don’t ever encourage complacency. Complacent people do not strive for more and that alone is a disease that will plague you for the rest of your life if it isn’t cured. It is better to try something out and fail than not try at all, because your mind will always taunt you about it.

One way to always put complacency at arm’s length is to regularly engage in introspection. Introspection is simply the act of evaluating one’s self; interrogating one’s self. When it comes to having conversations with other people, you can easily chip in a lie or two, but not when conversing with yourself. Even if you verbally tell yourself a lie, the truth will speak more loudly on the inside, and by so doing you would recognize the areas that require tremendous development.

Growth isn’t easy, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.