Complacency and Opportunity

My last post ran away from where I had intended it to go. Oh well, these things happen.

What I wanted to talk about was complacency and opportunity.

When life seems comfortable, we don’t often work to improve our lives. We become complacent. That is, we do not see the need to work on changing our lives because our lives seem to be in a good place. Why rock the boat? Why begin walking a path that will lead to discomfort?

Yet it is at these times that we are often the most resourced and capable of managing change.

On the flip side, when things are not going well, we are the most likely to change. This is reflected in crisis theory, which I have covered before (find it here). In short, we are most ready to change when we discover that all our usual methods have failed.

By it’s very nature, when things are not going well, we are usually under resourced for change and highly stressed and agitated. We tend to see the world as out to get us, that we are useless, incapable and not worthy of a good life. We become our own worst enemy.

In the book “Global Brain” by Howard Bloom, he points out that people can be seen as cells in the body made up of the network of humanity. Much like cells in our own personal bodies, if we deem ourselves as ‘surplus population’ we begin apoptosis, that is programmed cell death. We see ourselves as ‘surplus population’ when we feel unneeded, unwanted, unworthy and unlovable.

The most common method of apoptosis for humans is isolation (not seeing people), abusing our own resource use (not eating /over eating, not sleeping / over sleeping etc) and damaging relationship with other cells that can help us. This will then lead to illness and/or risk taking activities. These can then lead to death.

[I have noticed that this blog has got away from me again. Time to bring it back to where I wanted it to go.]

To change course from apoptosis, one must begin to over rule the temptation to minimise ourselves. We must look embrace our importance in the world. I will cover ontological security in the future. We must learn to love ourselves again.

To avoid going down this path at all, we must change the way we see adversity. Life not going well for us is not an indication of our worthlessness, nor a sign that we only deserve bad things. Instead see adversity as evidence that we have opportunities to become greater than we ever dreamed we could be. Adversity is a challenge to live and to grow.

Complacency, then, is the enemy of recovery. It prompts us to feel that we have reached the peek of what we can be.

By all means, when you feel complacent, enjoy life. You deserve it, you deserve the break. Just don’t mistake this life as the best, and don’t be afraid to expand and extend your life at the risk of ending this streak of comfort.

Despair, dreams and opportunity

Despair is knowing that nothing you can do can move you to another, better, place, and the place you are in now is not good. At this point you stop trying to improve your situation and just coast, collapse, or stop trying. One the one hand, this is deadly to recovery and on the other, it is an important opportunity.

The deadliness lies in the stopping of trying and the death of the hope that your dreams can be achieved, in part or in full. The loss of motivation is also the loss of momentum in moving anywhere you choose to move. To escape/defeat this, revisit your dreams and stop worrying if they are achievable or not, or how it can be achieved. Just discover your dream. A quick and dirty way to do this is to imagine what the world would be like if there was nothing wrong with anything. Now consider the defining difference/differences in this world. Why does this difference make the world better and what about this difference makes the world better? This abstraction is your dream. I’ll cover this in more depth another time.

The important opportunity is recognising that all of the things you have done are not working. This opens you up to trying new things. This is akin to Crisis Theory. When all the things you have done fail, then you are open to trying new things to actually fix the problem instead of just compensating for it.

New ways of solving problems often come from talking to other people – people you don’t normally talk to – or reading books you don’t normally read, or thinking about things you don’t normally think about. Keep in mind safety, but don’t be frozen by fear. Accept reasonable risks and discard the dangerous. More on this another time.