“Because why would you want to be anything less than your best potential?”
The Ghostbuster Challenge: A series of challenges to combat the various “ghosts” within me, to fight off the evil voice in my head that stops me from reaching my best potential. This is to remind me, and you too, if it is relevant; to fend off the unnecessary negativity or toxicity within ourselves that limits us to become who we desire to be.
I think that there is an ongoing debate about accepting yourself just the way you are versus constantly pushing your own limits to become better. I do believe that either extremes do no one any good. Essentially, it all comes down to striking a balance between the two aspects to create a fulfilling life.
However, I think that our generation’s mindset, together with the reinforcement of what media is telling us, we tend to skew towards the idea of how much we need to rest and relax. We talk about the need for a “work-life balance” and how important it is to live a life that is not spent hustling through the hours. We are constantly captivated by the indulgent idea of taking it slow and enjoying life without being too hard on ourselves.
Do not get me wrong, I am all for taking breaks and enjoying some good ol’ self-pampering sessions. But in this post, I want to focus on the danger of being too taken away by that “take it easy” attitude, which leads to the toxicity and handicapping attitude of complacency.
When I say complacency, I am referring to that autopilot part of our minds that tell us, “I may not be doing my best, but it is still good enough”, “I don’t really feel like trying anymore, just like this will do” etc. It is that reflex attitude we have towards things when we are too fed up or lazy to push ourselves to make it better. Complacency is what makes us a little too comfortable, losing that fighting spirit that will allow us to soar higher.
As there is a fine line between overcoming complacency and entering the danger zone of perfectionism (which is equally damaging), here are a few pointers on how to combat complacency to strive for the better, while still striking a good balance of self-acceptance.
1. Prioritizing is important.
It is so much better to admit right from the start, you cannot have it all (as much as you would really want to). Hence, when working towards eliminating complacency, it is important to set your priorities right. Don’t be too greedy. Choose a maximum of 4 areas of your life that you want to push yourself further at this moment (you can switch it around after a few months). It could be anything; such as your career, a workout regime, or even investing in relationships with those that really matter to you.
Once you have decided on your priorities, commit to putting your all towards it.
2. Small things go a long way.
When it comes to overcoming complacency, it takes real conscious effort to fight it. From the small things like “I had a long day at work, maybe I should skip my workout tonight” or even “5 more minutes of snooze time” might affect you from pushing yourself. This is going to be very difficult I know, but I want to at least be aware of all these small voices in my mind that block me from pushing myself a bit harder.
Again, it is all about the balance. Do not expect to change everything right away, but take small steps, work on that extra detail to make your work proposal better, eat that extra serving of vegetable you know that is good for you, etc. Believe that baby steps do go a long way accumulatively.
3. Celebrate small accomplishments.
This is a continuation of the previous point. When we are working towards striving for the better, we tend to get lost or demotivated when we see no results. Truth is, the desired results take consistent effort over a long time. Many of us start off strong, but halfway through, we tend to feel drained and give up.
Hence, what actually helps you to stop complacency is to set near-sighted milestones along the way. Look out for every small progress you make. It could be as small as sleeping 15 mins earlier than you usually do or reaching your office 10 minutes earlier each day for a week. Whatever small accomplishment you do, acknowledge yourself for it and keep pushing yourself more and more each day.
4. Remind yourself why it matters.
Often at times, we slack off when we are doing something is because there is a small part of us telling ourselves it is not that important. Think about it. When your alarm rings in the morning, you tell yourself, maybe five minutes won’t make much of a difference. So you hit the snooze button. But if you train your mind to remember WHY it matters, you will try harder to stick to your schedule.
When you are want to stop being complacent, remind yourself why it is so important to you that you push yourself. Remind yourself of your goals and why those goals matter to you. When you know that you MUST achieve something, you will be more discipline to work towards it.
5. Have a good support system.
As much as this ghostbuster challenge should mainly comprise of your own effort, having supportive people around you can help make the journey a bit easier. Look up to people who inspire you to want to be better. Share your goals with your close friends to keep yourself accountable to achieve them.
With positive people that genuinely cheer you on, you will find that you can stay on track for a bit longer, without running off each time it gets difficult. On top of that, when you have people who believe in your potential, you do feel more motivated to push your own limits further.
I really think that your twenties are the best time to be squeezed for all that is within you and more. Hence, I really do want to take this time to focus on what is important, be it improving a skill or general betterment of my wellbeing; and consistently build towards a solid foundation.
This is the time where we have complete control of our lives, without too much commitment and responsibilities that we need to tend to comparatively. Why not take this time to push ourselves a little bit further, a little bit better?
After all, there is no better time than now.
If you are working towards fighting the complacency attitude we have within us, and instead push yourself to make greater progress, I wish you all the best.