Complacency Seems So Simple
20 JANUARY 2019
“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.” - Tim Ferriss
I haven’t written one of these in a while, but I saw this quote and it sparked something in me. It only took about 3 (okay, 4) months for me to come back to it to start writing these words.
Uncertainty and fear of the unknown is something I’ve written about before. But it was’t until I was neck deep into the whole “where the fuck am I and what am I doing?” thing that I even thought about it. As I write this I’d say I’m about knee deep.
I spent two entire years in extreme uncertainty, and I mean extreme by my standards, quite recently. Two years neck deep. One was spent unhappy, and the other, while somewhat crazy, was a year I will never forget (in the good way).
It wasn’t until I chose uncertainty over my unhappiness that I originally took the plunge into that period of uncertainty. And I wouldn’t even fully define it as unhappiness but more of a complacency. And if I learned anything during my two uncertain years it is that I will not be complacent. Complacency seems so simple, safe, easy, until you wake up one day to unhappiness.
And just to clarify, I have not magically emerged from the fog of uncertainty into perfect clarity in my life all of the sudden. I don’t think that will ever happen…to anyone. There will always be a degree of uncertainty in life, that’s the nature of it. Unless you’ve fallen under the spell of complacency I suppose.
There will always be a degree of uncertainty in life, that’s the nature of it.
Stepping into uncertainty opens your eyes in such a profound way it is hard to describe. It wasn’t until I had, did I realize that I had been choosing unhappiness and/or complacency over uncertainty. This realization took about three days, which is a tiny, tiny spec of sand in our lifetime. It took three days to realize such a monumental concept. I was choosing complacency over uncertainty, and in my case the uncertain route was the route I was supposed to be on. It’s like taking the wrong freeway exit and ending up in Arkansas when you were supposed to in Colorado a week ago. Except your iPhone isn’t telling you where to go.
But what if you were actually meant to end up in Arkansas? At the very least, the uncertain will teach you that you need to return to your unhappiness, wherever that may be, and make a change. Any change, it doesn’t have to be leaving the country, will open your eyes to the unhappiness or the complacent state you’ve sunk into. And I suppose that is where we have to decide what to do. Do we stick with it? Become complacent? Stay complacent? Just deal with it?
So many people do. That’s why the quote “people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty” even exists. And also why it is written in such definite terms. “People choose.” Not “some” people. Like enough people choose this that he writes it like its true for 100% of the population.
I believe it is not until we choose to just take a glance at the uncertain are our eyes opened to our own unhappiness, or complacency, or whatever your case may be. People think about it, but without taking that step ‘it’ remains defined as uncertainty. And that’s where people stop and say “no way I don’t know what that is or what would happen.” That’s the exact moment, maybe over and over again, where people choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
I guess where I’m going with this is: go. CHOOSE uncertainty over unhappiness. Dip your toe in, see how it feels. Try it for a day, a week, a month. Just TRY. If you don’t find your answer written in gold you’ll at the very least have an idea of the direction you need to go, the choice you need to make. Your complacency, unhappiness, lack of a clue will be exposed, and THAT is what guides you next.