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  • Writer's pictureHassan Younes

The Pitfalls of Complacency – Five Quotes to Drag You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Complacency is the dark side of the success coin. Let Grant Cardone, Richard Branson, and other leaders inspire you to avoid it.

You must have achieved a number of ambitious goals so far. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are. Hopefully, you’ve also acknowledged and celebrated those successes.

But what happens once you’ve finally climbed that mountain that you’d been conquering for so long?

Unfortunately, many business owners sit at the top without asking the critical question:

‘Where do we go from here?’

This is one explanation of complacency, otherwise known as one of the biggest threats to a business.

You see, complacency is failure masked as success. It’s the feeling that you’ve achieved it all and are comfortable in your current position. All too often, people don’t realise that these seemingly positive emotions are mistakes waiting to happen.

How so?

Think about it:

What do you do after you’ve reached the mountaintop and enjoyed the view?

That’s right, the only way left to go is down. That’s exactly what happens to your business if you believe that you’ve achieved everything. You get stuck in that alluring feeling of comfort, not willing to disrupt the status quo yet again.

You must resist this siren song and keep levelling up. Here’s what some of the world’s most successful people have to say about how to do it:

1. ‘Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.’ – Andy Grove

Celebrating your success is vital for further growth. It inspires you to keep going and invite more of those fulfilling emotions. But if the party lasts for a bit too long, you’re bound to get complacent.

When those in your organisation notice this, they’ll grow complacent as well. Little by little, this will poison your whole company.

At first, it will only be tiny cracks in the form of the ‘we can do it tomorrow’ thinking. You’ll feel like there’s no rush as you’ve achieved the position you want to be in. You’ll start losing your competitive edge and the advantage that your success has created.

As you get more complacent, these cracks will deepen and widen. Without a counter, they’ll almost inevitably lead to your business crumbling down.

Don’t let it come to this. As soon as you notice your business is staying in the same place for a bit too long, find a way to shake things up. Keep yourself and everyone else on edge and you’ll be able to grow some more.

2. ‘A good portion of the things you want in life is outside your comfort zone.’ – Idowu Koyenikan

Humans are the only creatures with the ability to think about their own thoughts. And yet we sometimes allow ourselves to get stuck in them, unable to look beyond our experiences.

This is how we put up walls around our minds and find ourselves trapped in the comfort zone. The more you do what’s familiar, the more you reinforce those walls. At some point, you’ll start believing that there’s nothing beyond for you.

But you know there is. In fact, this is where you’ll find most of the things that you’ve been looking for. When you let yourself break free from this monotony, you can enrich your life with things that you desire. All it takes is for you to open up to the unfamiliar.

3. ‘I think it’s dangerous to think that you’re successful, because then you become complacent.’ – Tommy Hilfiger

This ties back to that mask of success over failure. At first glance, success and failure are polar opposites. But if you think about it, this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s complacency that blurs the line between the two.

At one moment, you might feel very successful and happy with what you’ve achieved. But at the same time, failure might be creeping in without you realising. You might feel like your achievements are so big that nothing can threaten them.

It’s this mindset that makes even the most successful organisations fall down.

There’s always something you can do to take your success further. That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship – where the sky is the limit. No matter what you’ve achieved, always be on the lookout for new opportunities.

4. ‘Never take the position that things just happen to you; rather, they happen because of something you did or did not do.’ – Grant Cardone

Complacency goes hand in hand with the victim mentality. Those who fail after succeeding may believe that this happened due to circumstances beyond their control.

But this is almost never the case.

You see, everything you do leaves an impact, whether positive or negative. And every action is a product of your choices. Choosing not to do anything seldom has a positive impact, even when it feels like there’s nothing that you should do.

Sure, you may not have control over everything that happens on the outside. But you do have total control of your reactions. Ultimately, this is the only thing that matters.

Don’t let success make you non-reactive. The business world is always evolving and your reactions will determine if the evolution will carry you to greatness or run you over. Complacency takes you toward the latter. To avoid that, you can leverage every growth opportunity and discover how much power you truly have.

5. ‘If you opt for a safe life, you will never know what it’s like to win.’ - Richard Branson

In tandem with the above, you must assume full responsibility for everything that happens in your personal and business lives. Doing so is one of the most liberating things that you’ll ever do.


Because you’ll see that you get to choose your path, rather than feeling like someone put you on it.

When this happens, you’ll have the courage and motivation needed to take risks that can really pay off. At the end of the day, this is what success comes down to – taking bold action that drives outsized results.

If you play it safe all the time, you’ll be limiting your growth potential. You’ll circle around what’s known and comfortable, which we’ve already established that it’s not where great success lies.

Don’t let fear make you stay in the same place. Instead, embrace the fear and use it to your advantage. Look at it as a sign that you’re doing something new and worthwhile. Eventually, you’ll transform fear into excitement. From there, you’ll be going places again.

Keep Pushing Forward

Those who’ve made it big know the dangers of complacency. They never let it chain them in the same place.

Does the same apply to you?

If not, don’t worry as this is a great area of improvement you can explore. Like everything in life, complacency is a choice. You have to power to choose against it.

So, acknowledge your success but don’t take it for granted. It’s not something that you achieve once and can then enjoy forever. Rather, success is something that you need to nurture and grow. As long as you do that, it’s not going anywhere.

Now, I get that avoiding complacency is easier said than done. This is why I’d like to help you and your organisation find out what it takes to do it. Get in touch to book me for your next speaking event.


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