Psychology Self Improvement Self Motivation

Complacency the Enemy of Self-Actualization

It’s human nature to seek comfort.  We all want to be warm, safe, happy and comfortable. We want stability, we want routines, things and people we can depend on, but we also like having something we look forward to doing or experiencing.

Some people look forward to a cocktail or two after work to take “the edge” off, (or rather, to dull the senses to help take the edge off). How many times have you heard people asking, “what’s the meaning of life, why am I/are we here, what’s the point to this existence?” I’m not going to answer that since many others before me have tried and there’s a lot of answers to this, and people who are truly looking for answer will find one that suits them. Some self-help gurus will tell you that Man’s purpose in life is to serve God, or other higher power, while others state that purpose doesn’t matter, but experiencing the NOW is where your focus should be.Self-Actualization-Test-Maslow-Hierarchy-of-Needs

In my humble opinion, people are seeking reasons for existence because they’re not quite as happy as the could be.  I opine that seeking a purpose is equivalent to seeking a method by which to get true happiness out of life. In my psychology classes in college and high school we learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and at the top of the hierarchy, or pyramid, was the term self-actualization.

SELF-ACTUALIZATION-  in layman’s terms it means to reach your potential, your true utmost achievable ACTUAL potential for your SELF. Without purpose, or a drive to seek a purpose, there are no goals set, therefore no achievements, therefore no ACTUAL realization of the true potential of the self. Without purpose, or goals all we’re left with is complacency.

Why do people have middle-age crises?

Because they had their noses buried in work, careers, marriages, which is all well and good since those institutions can help individuals better themselves by developing their natural skills that made them enter that particular line of work, and to develop themselves as a soul mate/partner, but is that what we really need to do and experience in order to reach self-actualization?

Did we major in finance because that’s our passion, or because we knew that majoring in finance was a good path towards a lucrative career?

If you have a talent and true passion for finance, then maybe this career path is going to help you self-actualize, but in most cases, people find their true “happy place” at home or away from work doing something else entirely.

  • Complacency… in life in work at home. Why do marriages get stale, old? Why does the sex life wane over time? Because it’s SO easy to let happen, since complacency is the easiest thing to let happen to you. Remember, we like routines, safety, things we know, but those are somewhat short lived and can get “old”…

Marriages require work and dedication to self and to significant others, and careers do, too to a certain extent.  If you want to move ahead in your career complacency is NOT a virtue but something that going to get you passed over for promotions and even from seeking other horizontal or vertical movements up or across career ladders.


Why’s that important?

Because without achievements there’s no chance of self actualization.

Tips for setting goals…

  1. Do it for the right reasons.
  2. Set goals that will bring you some sort of long-lasting happiness
  3. Set long term and short term goals

Late in 2010 I weighed 230 pounds, my heaviest ever, and I was slaving away on a treadmill trying to shave off a few pounds when I saw a running magazine. The articles were talking about road races, marathons, running tips for ednurance runners, and being someone who had run 2 marathons previously, I got something akin to an epiphany…

I said to myself, “self, why not do another marathon, the next one is 5-6 months away and you have plenty of time to run it?” So, I took my SHORT TERM goal of losing a few pounds here and there and turned it into a long term goal, to run the Boston Marathon. My thinking was, why not focus on a long term goal instead of a short term goal, that way I can focus on one far-away goal and let the journey be the reward. Meaning… the journey would consist or running lots of miles without regard for weight loss, which would be a natural byproduct of running 30-50 miles a week. So the weight loss goal which is semi-permanent for me, became a sub-goal, a sub-achievement and the loftier goal of running a Boston Marathon become the higher achievement goal.o-MEDITATION-facebook

Now, when I run this race on April 18th, 2011 my satisfaction with self will be that much greater because I gave myself a harder to achieve goal, but in the meantime I will have lost close to 50 pounds, form 230 down to 180 or so…


Even when setting goals, don’t be complacent, give yourself long term loftier goals to derive more satisfaction out of your achievements.

Once a goal gets reached, especially long term goals, the feeling is almost anti climactic, so you should remember that complacency is always waiting and ready to jump into your mindset and get you back into normal routine that don’t help you self actualize as an individual. I can say with 100% certainty that I would not have lost 50 pounds in the last 5-6 months if my goal was merely to run on a treadmill and hope to lose a few pounds here and there.

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