“I appreciate the best, but I’m settling for less, I’m looking for the next best thing.” – Warren Zevon
Ordered (aka ‘kindlized’) a book last night based solely on the title, or you might say – I judged by the cover, that this book might be worth a read. The Complacent Class: The Self-defeating Quest for the American Dream, by Tyler Cowen, Economics Professor at George Mason University.
I was thinking, after I heard the title of the book mentioned, “have I become complacent?” And if so, how did I get there? I know I haven’t always been complacent, satisfied with whatever and/or wherever, content not to push harder, dig deeper or challenge myself and others. I remember times in my life when I viewed the ‘status quo’ like Roger Bannister viewed the 4-minute mile – as something that had to be broken!
Truth is – there are areas of my life where I’m very content, even willing to accept 2nd (or 9th) place. Is that bad? I mean, I don’t have to prove my point in every situation anymore, I don’t have to win every argument or beat every traffic light. Not everything is a competition. And when it comes to dealing with, shall we say ‘irregular’ people, I’ve learned to heed the advice I’ve given to countless others over the years “never rassle with pigs, you both get dirty and the pigs like it.”
Maybe the ‘next best thing’ is OK, right? Just to be content, with whatever, after all, it’s biblical, right? I mean, the Apostle Paul said “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content therewith.”
Well, no, just the fact that Paul feels he needs to mention it tells me that ‘contentment’ is something that we humans don’t excel at. It’s a coping mechanism, but certainly not a license to stop trying.
There are areas in my life and work that I’m not satisfied with, complacency threatens to keep me right where I am. By nature I have a bias toward action, I have all manner of scars to prove it too! Complacency diminishes and stifles my true self. Yes, complacency might also spare me some pain and new scars, but I’m not convinced that the trade is fair.
So, I was thinking…am I the only one considering the dangers and benefits of complacency. What do you think? Complacency good? Complacency bad? 50/50?
I know this, the more I look at the areas of my life where complacency has set in… the more I don’t like it.
I have an 11 hour plane ride in about a week that should be sufficient to devour the 200 or so pages of the book, I think I know what direction the author is going to go, but I’ll report back, just in case.