At one time Jim Rohn was a loser. His life was a financial disaster. According to his words he had pennies in the pocket, no money in the bank and debts which he couldn’t pay off. He had been working hard for six years only to find himself in a miserable situation.
And it was easy for him to recognize he is a loser. The facts were undisputed. He was 25 years old American male with all the reasons to have a good life and he was broke (his words again).
All that he had been doing before leaded him to the point he was broke. It was easy for him to ascertain he needs to change.
If you are not a loser your situation is much worse in this regard.
Let’s take me as an example. I’m from the poor farmers families. My grandparents were all farmers. My mother is a housewife. My father is a highly educated technician, but he worked more on hands than conceptually. I was raised in a poor country, struck by a communist’s government and in a relatively poor family – one source of income, 6 kids. I was a witness of my parents’ financial struggles. When the freedom finally came and new opportunities aroused I saw their attempts to make our situation better. They tried MLM and failed. My dad started a solo business. We had more money, more things, but we had also more debts and dad was working 12-16 hours a day. Those are my origins.
I was practically on my own from the age 21 when I started my own family. During my university studies I struggled to feed my kids, to assure the roof over our heads. The work was a scarce commodity for a young man with family obligations and zero experience. We survived somehow. For the first 6 years of my career I was the sole breadwinner for our family. After two years of my IT career we managed to get a mortgage for a flat.
In 2010 I was laid off. It was an incentive for my wife to start her career. I quickly get the job for my current employer. In 2011 I bought my first car. Mazda 626, she is 15 years old.
We have more than 4 monthly salaries equivalent on the savings account. I paid off the student loan this year. The only debt we have is the mortgage and the monthly payment is about 5% of our income.
What that all means in my eyes?
I’m successful. I have things, money and lifestyle no one else in my close family enjoys. I’m complacent. I’m smug.
And that’s the worst curse that can happen. The complacency.
If I’m successful, why should I change? I’m comfortable. I’m content with myself. There is no reason, no real motivation within me.
If what I have is enough, then why struggle to get more?
If you are complacent it’s close to impossibility to realize you perform below your real potential.
It took me several years to just think about that issue. Years! Only to think!
If you are complacent you don’t search for the ways to improve yourself. Nobody tries to improve the perfection ;)
I didn’t blame myself, I was congratulating myself: “Well done Michal, take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time”.
If you are complacent and eventually decided to improve, it’s not easy.
Your ways are established. What is more, they really work! There is a reason you are complacent after all, isn’t it?
I didn’t know why I need a change. I didn’t know what to change. Errors in judgment? What are those? I don’t err!
If you are complacent, keeping the momentum is a tough job. With every small success your complacency grows and the friction grows.
I wrote my first booklet in English. It took me more than a month. I congratulated myself and was ready to be content with that. The struggle to actually publish it, was overwhelming. Find the editor, write the book description, order the cover… What a fuss, and what for?!
But I kept my commitment and published the book. Sales started to trickle. My friends congratulated me. Strangers started to read my works.
A success! And the comeback of temptations to give up. Why struggle more? For those few cents? My single overtime hour at my job is worth more than monthly sales of my booklets on Amazon!
And it goes like that over and over again. Second book, my first website, third book, establishing the mailing list – every small success is an excuse to stop, to cease the fight.
I think there is no formula for breaking complacency. You cannot go directly from being content to desiring the change. It cannot be obtained from an outside source. What ignited me and what keeps me going is the Lord’s grace. Power from within, but not my power.
The Slight Edge is quite a good cure for this problem, too. Complacent or not, I still have my daily disciplines to fulfil. Only them keep me going.