“Sometimes success needs interruption to regain focus and shake off complacency”
– Lennox Lewis-
If there is one positive outcome of the pandemic it is that a growing number of people are seeking spiritual meaning and truth with the specter of death serving as a daily reminder of the impermanence of life.
A culture, feeding on the need for immediate gratification and the addiction to more of everything, is inherently disconnected from the spiritual. Complacency and familiarization are the enemy of spiritual growth and raised consciousness.
Success inevitably breeds complacency
It is a dangerous time when the ego shines in its glory and becomes immune to any type of criticism or alternative suggestion. I was recently told the story of a very successful young stockbroker who earned millions but then through a string of bad decisions ended up broke, losing his wife, home, Ferrari sports car, and all the other trappings of wealth. He had failed to foresee market changes, hear the warnings, and adapt accordingly.
Familiarization and relationship decay
In relationships, we fall into the trap of familiarization where we become blind to the positive attributes of our partner and take everything for granted. There is that initial high in the romantic phase where everything is seen through rosy eyes. Then reality starts to set in. The nuances of change, beauty, and preciousness are being taken for granted. A negative cloud of boredom, unhappiness, and familiar routine stifles all creativity and growth. Both partners fail to adapt to inevitable changes in personal needs each blaming the other for their unhappiness.
We take friends, family, colleagues, and long-term business partners for granted, forgetting to give them the validation that every human being yearns for until they are no longer there and we ask ourselves why we didn’t find the time to show them mindful appreciation.
What comes after reaching the pinnacle of success?
We see it time and again with highly successful athletes, movie stars, politicians, and entrepreneurs. Once they have reached the pinnacle of success it doesn’t get any better. Popstar Michael Jackson became deeply unhappy, losing his vast fortune when he realized that he would never again repeat the success of his single “Thriller” that topped the charts in 13 countries and sold more than seven million copies in the US alone.
Life purpose and meaning change several times during a lifetime. Impermanence is the seed that is sown by the universe to keep us inflow and to prevent us from falling into the trap of complacency that is defined as a feeling of smugness or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.
It is our destiny to constantly grow, adapt, change, and learn to be alert and curious
It is a recipe for unhappiness when you start losing your curiosity and the willingness to learn. We are living in an age when we have all the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. Isn’t it time to start a new hobby, learn a new language, or build something? Check out even simple courses of learning that you can download for a cheap fee here.
How many people that you know are saving all their energy for the day when they retire and can finally start living the life of their dreams. When the day comes they discover that they have all the time chased an illusion. The body decides that it is no longer needed and succumbs to illness and decay.
The biggest myth about our daily lives of “stressful living” is that stress is inherently bad. A more or less permanent emotional and physical stress situation indeed is very unhealthy and will inevitably lead to serious mental and physical illness.
But when we are in a healthy sprint and recovery cycle short bouts of stress trigger those energies that we need to overcome a challenge. We sometimes need that extra burst of adrenaline to score a goal and to focus all our intention on a victory.
Facing a global challenge such as the pandemic is also a huge chance for humanity to grow both on a collective and individual level. Our world will never be the same again. The great Buddhist master of mindfulness teaching Thich Nhat Hanh, who died last week at the age of 95, once said: “It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker