The Wiring of Our Brains When it Comes to Complacency

If we look back at human evolution and skill-building, there’s one thing that’s made us evolve, build new skills, and create new habits extremely quickly, and that’s the fear of being killed.

Because of all of the threats, we could never stay complacent, because if we did, we would have died.

In the 21st century, this is no longer the case. This is because we no longer need to fear being killed, and because of that, the human race has become complacent. Complacent with the way that things are. While we dominate the world, and animals bend to our will.

Every company that has dominated a market has continued to iterate, and because of that desire to avoid complacency, they’ve become monopolies in their sectors.

Just look at google, it’s no longer just a search engine, it’s a verb. It’s in so many different sectors at the forefront of up and coming technologies.

Let’s look at the biology of being complacent…

Your brain 🧠

Your brain is wired to keep you safe, and becoming complacent is the easiest way to assure that you’ll stay safe.

If you’re only living in a realm of what you know, and you haven't died, chances are that if you repeat that behaviour, you’ll get the same outcome (not dying).

You might be thinking something along the lines of “not dying sounds pretty good to me… why is complacency really so bad?”

The dangers of becoming “comfortable in certainty”

Firstly, your habits are going to suffer. It will become harder and harder to create a new habit, but once you’ve become complacent, you’ll convince yourself that it isn’t necessary to start working out right now and that you’ll be able to do it when the time is right, so you’ll just never start working out because you’re stuck in your complacency shell.

If one of your goals is to improve yourself, you’re automatically failing by remaining complacent because that is the opposite of self-improvement.

One of the paradoxes of avoiding complacency is the fact that you need it. To identify where you can improve/see if there’s a clear path for improving, you have to be complacent. The goal is just not to fall into the habit of continuously putting off improving if there’s a clear path to improvement.

Some ways that you can take action (RIGHT NOW!)

So throughout this article, I’ve been repeating the idea that complacency is bad for you, and you should be continuously improving (if that’s what you want)… but how do you actually do that?

This week, I tried a few methods, and this is a refined list of what I found worked:

  1. I set goals that were just outside my limit so that I have to push myself in order to attain them
  2. Questioning everything -> Don’t settle, figure out the root cause, ask why you do things a certain way
  3. Figure out what’s up with your ego, and then crush it up. Don’t be a know-it-all, that’s a huge anti-complacency road-block
  4. Learn from the best. People can only teach what they know, so if you want awesome knowledge, learn from people that have that knowledge

The reality is that you can’t avoid complacency altogether, but that being said, the first step to avoiding it is acknowledging that you’re stuck in a no-progress routine. Life happens, but you gotta just get back up and figure out how to keep going instead of riding around in circles all day.

Key Takeaways

  • Your brain is hardwired for complacency because it’s proven to keep you alive (if you repeat the same behaviour that didn’t get you killed, you probably won’t die from it in the future)
  • It isn’t good to settle into a complacent lifestyle because your habits are going to suffer and you’re not going to accomplish more and grow more as an individual
  • There are a bunch of things you can do to minimize complacency in your life

Got questions? You can reach out to me on LinkedIn

And — Feel free to check out my Website

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Written by

I’m 16 year old high school student who’s learning more and more about emerging technology. I write about tech, philosophy, social sciences and personal growth.

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