Complacency is a silent killer in a pandemic

You never know how you’ll act during a pandemic, especially if it’s your first one. When you look at how you’re doing in life, right after the world goes into lockdown, you might be surprised. I know I certainly was.

Recently, I took stock of everything that was going on. I spent a day taking a step back and assessing how everything is going.

This morning I metaphorically spat my coffee all over my computer screen. Do you know what hit me? This pandemic has revealed I was complacent. Let’s explore further so you can see if some of the same trends have appeared in your own life.

Comfort With Half the Income

This month I will make at least 50% less income than last month. Overnight, the world has changed and I haven’t changed with it.

By sitting idle and doing the same old thing, I’ve been caught out. A pandemic can wipe you out financially if you become too complacent — it all depends on how much of a buffer you have.

The thing about complacency is it can destroy all that you’ve worked for if you don’t identify it and innovate. Thankfully, I have time to pivot. Hopefully, you have the same opportunity if you find you’ve become complacent too.

A Failure of Habits

The habits that have served me well over the last couple of years have been going to the gym, practicing public speaking at Toastmasters, and meditating on the way to work.

During the pandemic, these habits have disappeared and I’ve become a complacent couch potato, minus the potato chips (they’re sold out due to doomsday hoarding).

Complacency makes you think you’ve got it all together until a crisis like a virus sweeps the globe and you realize your habits are built on shaky ground. It took less than a week for these habits to disappear, and now they are a faded memory that feels like they belong in someone else’s life.

eBook Sales

As the world’s dumbest book salesman, I launched an eBook right before the pandemic. It did really well and then fell off a cliff.

I didn’t properly assess the economic environment and in hindsight, should have waited until the virus has passed before launching an eBook. My progress as a writer has made me complacent. I assumed the outcome rather than setting myself up for the intended results.

Complacency can silently kill new projects.

Issues in My 9–5 Job

A normal workday has changed too. I became complacent with how my job works and what I needed to do to succeed. Now, forced to work from home in a sales job, I’ve realized how my situation is radically different thanks to complacency.

I could have upped by offline sales game before the pandemic and remained nimble. Instead, I bet big on only having in-person conversations with prospective clients. This was a mistake. It was a flawed strategy.

Family Relationships

It’s easy to take your family relationships for granted. When the planet goes into shutdown mode because of a black swan event, you’re forced to see what you have created at home.

Working from an office and coming home is far different from being at home with your family 24/7. It challenges your psyche especially if you are introverted and like time alone.

The other day, a member of my family had to drop an item off to me. We met in the car-park of my home and spoke to each other through the car window to avoid contact. It was surreal. It felt like being part of a drug deal in a James Bond Movie.

When I went upstairs to my apartment carrying the item they dropped off to me wearing rubber gloves, I realized, even with family I had become complacent. I assumed they’d always be there for me. They would also be just one phone call away for the rest of my life. That is a fallacy though.

We never know how long we have with our loved ones, especially with a virus roaming the streets at night and looking for its next victim who didn’t follow the isolation advice.

Here is what I did when complacency crept up on me:

Notice what has occurred

Seeing complacency in your life is the first step. The act of awareness helps you spot the problem and do something about it.

Many people live their entire lives being complacent and then get surprised when an unexpected humanitarian crisis wipes out everything they’ve built.

If you can see complacency, you can defeat it.

Move to action

Commit to doing something about your complacency. If you notice complacency and do nothing about it, at some point it will hurt you.

Write an action plan.

  • What can you do about your income going down?
  • What can you do to get your health on track again?
  • What can you do to get your ass back to the gym?
  • What can you do to appreciate your family more?
  • What habits can you adopt starting from tomorrow?

There’s no point crying over spilled milk because of complacency. Take action and let go of the past.

Innovate your thinking

Innovation and business are joined at the hip. Everybody is talking about it and a few businesses are ‘doing’ innovation.

The same applies to solve your complacency problem. How are you going to adapt and change your thinking so this doesn’t happen again? Own the situation.

Your thinking was flawed or missing a few key pieces. Forgive yourself and change how you think going forward.

Rebuild

Complacency can cause a lot of devastation in your life like you can see it did to me recently. You can rebuild. You can start again.

I am in the process of creating new habits and bringing back some of the old ones. I have a new game plan when it comes to making money going forward. My investment strategy has changed too as a result of complacency.

It’s what you do after complacency, and the challenge of a global pandemic, that makes all the difference.

You can rebuild and go from complacency to being aware and grateful for what you do have and what you can achieve in the future.

Humility defeats complacency.

There is always an upside to every situation in your life. A pandemic just shows us more of who you are and who you can be when you attack areas of your life where you’ve become complacent.

Sometimes all you need is a wake-up call and this pandemic has been exactly that for me. I hope, as the virus dissipates, that you too can see where you may have been complacent, and take action.

Complacency doesn’t have to rob you of everything you’ve worked for and seek to achieve. Notice when you’ve been complacent and rebuild.

This originally appeared on Medium.

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