Comfortable

IMG_4496Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with success. I wanted to be the best dancer, the favorite student, and the perfect daughter. I was unsettled by the idea of mediocrity, so I pushed myself to be better. I didn’t understand the students who were okay with average grades or my peers who weren’t involved in multiple extracurricular activities. People who accepted average were a complete mystery to me, and it bothered me that they seemed to be inhibiting their potential.

It never occurred to me, however, that maybe to these people, their idea of awesome was my idea of “average”. While I was devastated by an A-, some were elated by a C+. Success is a standard that is measured differently by each individual, and it took me a long time to understand and accept that. But then again, in a society where there are clear divisions of poor, average, better, and best should everyone be striving to reach the top?

This sparks a motivation question. I understand that there are individuals with learning, behavior, or physical disabilities that may cause a limitation in success. I’m addressing the individuals who have clear opportunities and a decent level of intelligence who seem to be taking the easy way out. What are the reasons behind this phenomenon? Some may argue that classes or life can be too challenging and this can cause even the brightest of  individuals to come up short. While true, I have seen many cases where it’s not a lack of intelligence or brain power- it’s a lack of drive. And this shortcoming is a glorified version of laziness.

Basically, these individuals have the ability to get an “A” but because they don’t feel like studying, they get a “C”. It means that they have the degree to land an amazing job, but they don’t feel like meeting with company recruiters to even sign up for an interview. It means they have a terrific significant other, but have no plans of making a bigger commitment.

It seems as though these individuals are “okay” with the way things are.

Why rock the boat, right? Why study more than necessary if I can pass the class? Why meet with employers when mommy and daddy are getting me a job when I graduate? Why propose to my girlfriend when our relationship is fine how it is?

Answer: Complacency won’t work forever. And if it does for you, I guarantee it won’t work for your friends, parents, and/or significant other. One day, someone close to you will realize that they can’t support someone that finds leading a mediocre life appealing.

You don’t have to live in a mansion, drive a Ferrari, or be the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, but if you have no desire to do something or go somewhere with your life, it all seems like a big waste. It’s frustrating for me to see fully competent people doing nothing with their lives besides the bare minimum. They say they are “comfortable” with the way things are, but I’m convinced there is a bigger issue. And I think that issue is a deep-seeded fear of failure. These individuals would rather not try for something than to make a mistake. God forbid, they interview for a job they don’t get or they ask a girl out who rejects them.

A suggestion: As cliche as it is, you won’t get anything if you don’t try. More than likely, people aren’t going to be banging down your door, begging to give you a job or a better grade in a class. Sure, familiarity is great, and the unknown is one scary place, but when everyone else is packing up and moving on, do you want to be left behind?

Your thoughts: Is being “comfortable” with your life acceptable? Should we always be striving for more?

16 Comments

The Pwopmeister

about 5 years ago

Interesting questions. Worth discussing when next we see each other. Few thoughts: Yes, we should try to be the best we can be, but people who constantly try to compete with everyone are a pain. Also over doing the striving is not good. Leads to dissatisfaction. We need to balance by being content with what we have, not slipping into envy of others. This is a key to happiness. Keep blogging!

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dmcrae17

about 5 years ago

The Pwopmeister, thank you for your comment! I agree that the competitive and I've-got-to-be-the-best type of personality can be annoying. Not sure if it is an ingrained trait or something we learn or pick up on during our childhood. Sometimes, I wish that I had a little more of the "I don't give a crap" mentality, haha. Leading a balanced life is a great point. Thanks again for the comment!

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Hannah

about 5 years ago

To answer your question directly, I think the answer is both yes and no. "Comfortable" in this situation can also be "contentment" in life. If your aspirations don't lead you to have what others would consider an "awesome" life (by their personal standards, of course), it doesn't mean you aren't pushing yourself or reaching your goals, just that your definition of personal success doesn't match up with theirs. That being said, if you are not putting any effort in to your life, whether it be present or future aspirations, that's where being comfortable is not okay. It is especially grueling to hear those who complain about their current or future situation without any intention of changing their life path. Quite frankly I think some people prefer the "comfortable" life because they enjoy the pity party in the moment. If you are unhappy, it means you can complain, when you complain you usually have at least one person listen and provide sympathy, and really that's all it takes for the perpetual cycle of the "comfortable" life to continue.

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dmcrae17

about 5 years ago

Great point, Hannah! I definitely have had to learn how to withhold imposing my beliefs or my perception of success on others. Sometimes, I want to shake people and say, "You are awesome. Don't you see? Why aren't you pursuing x, y, or z?" but I realize that most of the time, that is not my place. The pity party/playing the victim is great insight!

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Scott

about 5 years ago

Very good points. Do you think there are parts of our lives that are ok to be content with? Like you said, maybe not needing a new car, or accepting when your hair starts falling out and you get wrinkly, or accepting you will never outrun an Olympic sprinter. If there are parts that we need to be comfortable with what we have, what areas do you think are important to strive to keep growing?

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Amanda Fretz

about 4 years ago

I really enjoyed this. I am a recovering perfectionist that recently received my first C+ and was completely elated by it. I am learning that there is more than a set of letters and numbers on my transcript that make up all of me. So while I won't say I've grown complacent and I can promise that I never will, I've learned that destroying my self-esteem and self-confidence over a letter or percentage is preposterous. Strive for something other than 'the grade' - involve yourself in something bigger than what a certain GPA will do for your ego. Basically let go and get over yourself. There are bigger fish to fry.

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Danielle

about 4 years ago

Thank you for your comment, Amanda. I love that you are a "recovering perfectionist"- a great way to describe it. I have an entire post coming up on GPA alone, so be sure to check it out!

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Kelly D

about 4 years ago

I think a big part of getting ahead is recognizing an opportunity when it presents itself, and taking advantage of it. Those C+ students might be very successful right now if they were in the right place at the right time and took advantage of opportunities. I am hoping an opportunity will present itself next year for me when I will have both children in school for the first time, and I will have time to work a more steady job.

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Danielle

about 4 years ago

Thank you for commenting, Kelly and thank you for your entry into the Trader Joe's Giveaway. I think that you are exactly right about success being related to the "right place at the right time." I know for me, there are times where I have so much going on that my personal success can vary. I hope that many opportunities will open up for you!

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Mindy Davis

about 4 years ago

This starts such a good conversation. As a perfectionist, who somewhat burned out at 13 - I know, 13? I grew up to have to re-evaluate what success means to me. I believe in working hard at things I believe in, but there are plenty of things society values, that I do not - I even think many of those societal values are dangerous.

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Danielle

about 4 years ago

Thank you for your comment, Mindy! I feel like I reevaluate what success means to be everyday. Working hard at what you believe in is a great way to live your life!

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Glen

about 4 years ago

"You don’t have to live in a mansion, drive a Ferrari, or be the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, but if you have no desire to do something or go somewhere with your life, it all seems like a big waste." Not only do you not "have to" do those things, but to imply as you seem to be that they are somehow better options than any other position in life is preposterous. People will do what they want with their lives, and as long as they are not bringing unhappiness to those around them, I encourage them to continue doing what they are doing. In my opinion, if person A around feels burdened or inconvenienced by lazy person B's lack of effort, it is up for A to distance themselves from B, or identify the true reason behind B's "laziness" and attempt to fix it if they value B's presence enough to warrant the effort.

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glen

about 4 years ago

I did not mean to sound rude, but I called one of your ideas "preposterous". I can understand where you are coming from so preposterous is not the correct word.

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Danielle

about 4 years ago

Hi Glen, thank you for your comment. I didn't take it as rude at all. These "thoughts" are intended to foster healthy debate. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, haha. I did not intend to imply that "being a CEO" or "driving a Ferrari" is in any way a better option in life. I picked those examples, because society as a whole has set standards of what is best. Society implies that to be the best in your career, one must strive to be the ultimate boss. Society encourages its population to drive a better car or buy a bigger house. I don't personally believe that those things are better. In some cases, those things make for crappy people and materialistic lives. The examples used were hyperbolic in nature, and not meant to offend. As to your other point, I have such a hard time not "fixing" other people's lives. I have to constantly remind myself that it's not my job to decide anyone else's future but my own. And you are absolutely right; either remove yourself from the situation/relationship or help in a healthy way. Thanks again for the comment!

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