At one time, Jim Rohn was a loser. His life was a financial disaster.
According to his words, he had pennies in the pocket, no money in the bank and debts which he couldn’t pay off. He had been working hard for six years only to find himself in a miserable situation.
And it was easy for him to recognize he was a loser. The facts were undisputed. He was 25 years old, an American male with all the reasons to have a good life and he was broke (his words again).
All that he had been doing before had led him to the point where he was broke. It was easy for him to ascertain he needed to change.
If you are not a loser, your situation is much worse in this regard.
Let’s take me as an example. I’m from a poor farming family. My grandparents were all farmers.
My mother is a housewife. My father is a highly educated technician, but he worked more hands on than conceptually.
I was raised in a poor country, struck by a communist government and in a relatively poor family—one source of income, 6 kids.
I was a witness of my parents’ financial struggles. When the freedom finally came and new opportunities arose I saw their attempts to make our situation better.
They tried MLM and failed.
My dad started a solo business. We had more money, more things, but we had also more debts and dad was working 12-16 hours a day.
An uphill struggle
I was practically on my own from the age 21 when I started my family.
During my university studies I struggled to feed my kids, to assure the roof over our heads.
The work was a scarce commodity for a young man with family obligations and zero experience. We survived somehow.
For the first 6 years of my career I was the sole breadwinner for our family. After two years of my IT career we managed to get a mortgage for a flat.
In 2010 I was laid off. It was an incentive for my wife to start her career. I quickly got the job with my current employer. In 2011 I bought my first car. Mazda 626, she is 15 years old.
We have more than 4 monthly salaries equivalent in a savings account. I paid off my student loan this year. The only debt we have is the mortgage and the monthly payment is about 5% of our income.
What does all that mean in my eyes?
I’m successful. I have things, money and lifestyle no one else in my close family enjoys. I’m complacent. I’m smug.
And that’s the worst curse that can happen.
If I’m successful, why should I change? I’m comfortable. I’m content with myself. There is no reason, no real motivation within me.
If what I have is enough, then why struggle to get more?
is THE curse
If you are complacent it’s close to impossibility to realize you perform below your real potential.
It took me several years to just think about that issue. Years! Only to think!
If you are complacent you don’t search for ways to improve yourself. Nobody tries to improve perfection 😉
I didn’t blame myself; I was congratulating myself:
Well done Michal, take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.
If you are complacent and eventually decide to improve, it’s not easy.
Your ways are established. What is more, they really work! There is a reason you are complacent after all, isn’t there?
I didn’t know why I needed a change. I didn’t know what to change.
Errors in judgment? What are those? I don’t err!
If you are complacent, keeping the momentum is a tough job. With every small success your complacency grows and the friction grows.
I wrote my first booklet in English. It took me more than a month. I congratulated myself and was ready to be content with that.
The struggle to actually publish it was overwhelming. Find an editor, write the book description, order the cover…
What a fuss! And what for?!
But I kept my commitment and published the book. Sales started to trickle. My friends congratulated me. Strangers started to read my works.
A success! And the comeback of temptations to give up.
Why struggle more? For those few cents? My single overtime hour at my job is worth more than a month’s sales of my booklets on Amazon! (true up to October).
And it goes like that over and over again. Second book, my first website, third book, establishing the mailing list—every small success is an excuse to stop, to cease the fight.
I think there is no fixed formula for breaking complacency. You cannot go directly from being content to desiring change. It cannot be obtained from an outside source. What ignited me and what keeps me going is the Lord’s grace. Power from within, but not my power.
What also help me are my daily disciplines. A lot of them. Complacent or not, I still have my daily obligations to fulfill. Somtimes only they keep me going.