The dangers of complacency

I’ve got this, I said.

I’ve done this before.

No problem.

Let me at it.

Everything in my experience has led to this point. I can soooooooo do this.

And then it all blew up. Totally. Trainwreck city. Utter disaster.

But why?

In a word: complacency.

In a previous life, I had accomplished quite a lot, and I was unable to foresee not being able to do it again.

Beyond that, I could not foresee the possibility of failure and the reactions those around me would have if I slipped up, even a little.

And slip up I did. On one of my first big projects, I made a few amateur mistakes. In most other situations, they would have been brushed off, I would have corrected the mistakes, and we all would have moved on as a harmonious team.

But this was not any other situation. I was unable to see the competitiveness of the position and how my enthusiasm and hunger to succeed may rub people the wrong way.

And this put me in a precarious position. Here I was, eager to please, and please I did not. So I tried harder. I did everything they asked of me, which basically amounted to more “training”, the results of which were dismissed as “awful.”

How could this be happening to me? I thought I had this in the bag. How could I hit so many touchpoints necessary for success and still fail?

I’ll say it again: complacency.

At some point, I must have become too comfortable, too happy even. I stopped brushing up my skills. I stopped learning. I stopped looking to the future and considering possibilities, both positive and negative.

Maybe I had become so focused on my home-life that I stopped moving forward in my professional life.

And while the sheer length of time I had spent doing what I do had permitted me to move up a level or two, I was not able to see the dangers of moving up those levels. I had to be faster, harder, more evolved, and more aware than ever before of the politics of any given situation.

And I was not. So I failed. And it hurt. It really fucking hurt. Worse than that: it was embarrassing. How could I not have seen the possibility of failure, of the dangers of not evolving?

I, who studied Medieval History and Literature, but made a huge point of recognizing film and the internet as the present and future of communication, each with their own needs to fulfill quite different from the media of the middle ages – the printing press.

I, who gleefully cheered on the demise of the record industry as P2P and then iTunes ate away at its business model.

I, who laughed when Blackberry ate its own tail and brushed off the iPhone as “no threat.”

I had stopped evolving, stopped looking towards the future, stopped assessing the dangers of the present. I became so sure of myself in the present that I could not see failure in the future or the predators lurking just around the corner.

So lesson learned, life. I must find my vision again. I must build my awareness again. I must evolve into the upper echelons of life while being aware of the dangers that exist as I work my ass off to get there.

No more complacency. Neither myself nor my family can afford it anymore.

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