Complacency – How to Avoid the Silent Killer

We climb from the trenches to reach the top, and once we get there, we’re content with our achievements—but warning! Complacency will lead to extinction.

Success is a wild and crazy rollercoaster, full of ups, downs, and unexpected turns. While a rollercoaster ride can be lots of fun at Disneyland, it’s not a fun way to live your life.

Humans are creatures of habit, and a look back through history reminds us that, although civilization has progressed over the centuries, there are some traits that persist in our collective psyche. Some of the most vivid stories about how people get caught up in the vicious cycle of life— success, followed by complacency and ending in apathy—can be found in a book of the Bible called Judges.

According to the story, the nation of Israel experienced extreme highs and severe lows over roughly 300 hundred years. At one of their lowest periods, they were ruled over by Sisero, a commander of the Canaanite army. For twenty years, the women of Israel were raped and brutalized by Sisero and his men—Sisero’s own mother commented that it wasn’t unusual for her son and his comrades to rape two women a night.

In a moment of courage, a woman named Deborah led the nation of Israel into battle. She raised an army of ten thousand soldiers and they defeated Sisero, who was forced to hide in the home of a woman named Jael.

Courage surged through the strong mind  of Jael as well, and while Sisero was resting, she hammered a tent peg through his temple with a mallet. The blow was so forceful the peg pinned his head to the ground.

The counterattack was successful and the Canaanites were subdued—at least for the next forty years. And this is the problem with success—too often it’s followed by complacency. Complacency almost always comes from a sense of victory long after the success that created it is gone. Complacency becomes the silent killer when it slips to decay and ruin.

Complacency is highly destructive because it’s immune to innovation and fails to recognize either new opportunities or potential hazards. In fast-moving environments of risk, uncertainty, and the unknown, history books show us that this attitude is the perfect recipe for disaster.

Complacency is akin to something called rustout. Rustout is more common in America than in other developed countries and it’s actually even scarier than “burnout” because, while burnout can wear down your body, rustout can wipe out your soul and spirit.

“Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It’s the feeling of numbness that comes from taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck … Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing … rustout is underbeing.


There are many similarities between complacency and rustout. Both lead to underperformance, apathy, and unhappiness:

Here are some ways to avoid complacency:

1. Recognize Your Blind Spots – One of the greatest dangers of complacency is that it creates blind spots in people towards the areas in their life that need growth and change. Blind spots are those critical areas that need to be addressed but they are not visible to people who refuse to knowledge them.

2. Look For Vulnerabilities – When we are complacent, we no longer think strategically about the future. We become too comfortable with our past and current successes. Our thinking becomes short-term, inward, and narrow in focus. We become so enamored with our past performance that we fail to see new threats coming our way.

3. Take Risks – Success is usually achieved as the result of taking risks. People who are complacent do not look for new opportunities. They do what has worked for them in the past. What a disgrace it would be for you to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of your full potential. As Anais Nin said, “The day will come when it’s more painful to remain tight in a bud than taking the risk to bloom.”

4. Kick Laziness in the Butt – People who are complacent are internally focused on themselves instead of externally focused on others or the situation around them. They work at a constant speed, even when circumstances demand fast action.

5. Appreciate Your Life – The best way to pry yourself out of the complacency rut is to admit that your best life begins right now, not down the road somewhere. Don’t wait until your life is almost over to realize how great it’s been. Stop wanting a better one—you’ll end up taking that for granted, too.

The fact is this: complacency is lack of both confidence and courage to make changes in our lives. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are: ‘It might have been.’”

How has a complacent attitude kept you from moving forward in life? How do you shake yourself free of complacency? Why is moving out of a complacent attitude difficult for you?


LaRae Quy was an undercover and counterintelligence FBI agent for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. As an FBI agent, she believed that most barriers to success were internal. She writes and speaks about surviving in an environment of risk, uncertainty, and deception. LaRae is the author of ““Secrets of A Strong Mind” available on kindle now and in paperback in December. You can follow her on Twitter at



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

39 Responses to Complacency – How to Avoid the Silent Killer

  1. 9ja news says:

    Thanks for the blog article. Really thank you! Awesome.

  2. Stephenpep says:

    mail order viagra buying viagra online viagra over the counter walmart

  3. GeorgeTef says:

    100mg viagra viagra online canadian pharmacy generic viagra india

  4. JeremyUrgem says:

    cialis 20mg price cialis online cialis free trial

  5. EdwardOpeta says:

    viagra from india viagra no doctor prescription over the counter viagra cvs

  6. Samueleledy says:

    buy prescription drugs from india 100mg viagra without a doctor prescription drug medication

  7. Rogergaisk says:

    where can i buy viagra viagra canada buy viagra
    viagra without a doctor prescription

  8. Rogergaisk says:

    how to buy viagra buy viagra viagra over the counter usa 2020
    buy ed pills online

  9. Rogergaisk says:

    cheap viagra online canadian pharmacy viagra cvs viagra
    erection pills

  10. PeterATROX says:

    prices of cialis generic cialis cialis vidalista

  11. PeterATROX says:

    does cialis make you bigger buy cialis prices of cialis

  12. ThomasFub says:

    treatment for erectile dysfunction ed meds online without doctor prescription ed pills online pharmacy
    best ed treatment

  13. ThomasFub says:

    erection pills that work ed medications online medication for ed
    best ed pill

  14. ThomasVah says:

    buy zantac zantac coupon

  15. Roberttup says:

    payday loans online fast deposit personal loans for bad credit

  16. Roberttup says:

    personal loans payday loans online

  17. Roberttup says:

    tadalafil buy cheap tadalafil

  18. Douglasgot says:

    pump for ed can you buy viagra over the counter

  19. BrianSlupt says:

    ed treatment review ed cures that actually work male enhancement pills

  20. You have done the Great Job.

  21. BrianSlupt says:

    30 mg cialis what happens cialis online cialis

  22. BrianSlupt says:

    viagra price discount viagra online viagra

  23. BrianSlupt says:

    best ed pills at gnc buy Zithromax ed doctor

  24. BrianSlupt says:

    online ed meds online canadian pharmacy ed vacuum pump

  25. Philipvax says:

    ed drugs over the counter: ed medications online sexual dysfunction in men

  26. Philipvax says:

    medications online: erection pills medications list

  27. DanielGog says:

    can you buy zithromax online zithromax for sale us buy zithromax 1000mg online

  28. DanielGog says:

    100mg viagra without a doctor prescription northwest pharmacy canada hims ed pills

  29. DanielGog says:

    ed doctor canadian online pharmacies ed trial pack

  30. DanielGog says:

    buy medications online canadian pharmacy meds errectile dysfunction

  31. devops says:

    148912 132470I think this website contains some really very good information for everyone : D. 868537

  32. DanielGog says:

    men with ed online pharmacies in canada best canadian pharmacy online

  33. DanielGog says:

    viagra 100mg generic viagra cost viagra without prescription

  34. DanielGog says:

    zithromax capsules 250mg zithromax without prescription zithromax for sale 500 mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.