Complacency, by definition:
friendly civility; inclination to please; complaisance. a civil act.
Seems rather good characteristics. Hard to find fault with a person who may show or possess such traits.
Do not let the number 2 definition cloud your mind, it is after all the “archaic” definition.
Here is the #1 definition:
a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
I am not sure why “complacency crept into my mind as I sat down to write this. It did, and so like I do many times I wanted to understand at minimum the definition. What caught me by surprise was the phrase; often unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like. I knew at that moment “complacency” did not creep into my mind, it has been there all along, I simply aroused it.
Words without understanding have the ability to lead one astray. The ability to encourage that which should be discouraged. To understand meaning and the impact on ourselves, we must first understand ourselves.
What is it that produces the urge to expand one’s processes into areas that are unknown? A somewhat rhetorical question given the title/subject of this writing. I should not initially downplay the comfortable place that complacency can offer. We all fall into those categories in which, through life experiences or possibly personality traits we aspire to. Complacency, or as defined by the opposite dictionary; “aggravation, annoyance, bother, botheration, distress, exasperation, irritation, torment, torture” are two sides of the same coin. I have and do, for reasons not completely clear to me fall into the category of the opposite.
It may seem a very uncomfortable place to be, that of the opposite of complacency. But to those who aspire to annoyance, bother, irritation, it is very natural. As natural as the color or our eyes. Seemingly a state of constant questions in which answers are needed. Needed to help maintain, somewhat ironically, a complacent existence.
This has had a tremendous influence on the creativity which I nurture and expand through photography. It has moved well beyond the techniques of the craft into questions of personal reflection and attempts to understand that which influences my conscience decisions. If taken just slightly further I can accept the fact that in order to learn, grow, and expand my understanding, I face the opposite of complacency as a necessary annoyance which in turn further facilitates the aspiration which I desire. I am caught in a seemingly perpetual loop of growth vs comfort. I am, even at this moment, unsure this explanation is adequate. It does seem somewhat bothersome.
Like many personal quests the introduction should be one of hopeful desire. I do not believe it is a bad thing to strive for complacency, but I do believe it may be detrimental to achieve it. It seems to be one of those, “be careful what you wish for” things.
It is not my intention to be confusing on this. I believe it must be clear for anyone who strives for personal happiness. We all must have high expectations of ourselves and work our tails off to achieve those expectations. Achieving a goal should not be misunderstood for complacency. If you reach a goal and stop there it is at that moment complacency begins to undermine your present position.
I am unaware of any of the great artists that were or are complacent. They understood the best they could do was a factor of the moment and that they could improve moment by moment. It may also be true they were driven with such forces that complacency would never have a chance to infiltrate their lives.
There are also those who may be overly self assured or boisterous in their achievements. There may not be anything inherently wrong with this. If stopped there it would then take on the aire of complacency and drag the artist to their demise. If one must gloat or pat themselves on the back they just need to make it quick then get back to work.
Be confident in yourself, your abilities, and aspirations. Do not be persuaded by those who may not see as you do. March to your own drummer and be assured that all great and noble things have started simply from desire and carried forward to greatness with the lack complacency. Setting expectations and goals is but the first step in understanding yourself, what you do, and why you do it. Create from within to please yourself. One life attempting to create that which satisfies the inner soul. If you come up short, work harder, create more and never ever be complacent.