“Complacency (n): a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.”
We all made it this far. We are all at one of the best universities in the nation. Most of us have done a variety of volunteer work, intensive research, various internships and are knowledgeable in more than one field. However, while most of us are this accomplished, a majority of the students still share the same problem: Lack of motivation.
I went to a village in India one summer to help at a local school for underprivileged kids. One would think that finding good teachers or collecting sufficient funds would be their main challenge, but when I reached there, I realized that the problem was a lot bigger than that: it was the mindset of the village children. Most of them just didn’t want to study. Having lived in their small village for 14-15 years, they had grown comfortable with living in poverty. They had accepted the fact that this is what life comprises of and had no will to change the circumstances. On my second day volunteering, I decided to go around the village and talk to the kids and their families. With every stop, the problem was the same. The parents would enroll them in school, but the kids just wouldn’t show up. Begging on the streets or selling things by the roadside was just a lot easier. That’s when I realized how dangerous complacency can be.
We, as the human species have evolved and built this whole world of technology, skyscrapers, sciences, and art because of our need to grow. Our need to fulfill our curiosity. Had we been complacent, there would be no smartphones, no concept of electricity, no rapid transportations, no urban cities, no internet for me to share my thoughts with any number of people with just one click. We grow because we are impatient, there is always scope for improvement and we won’t stop until we reach the end. This is what makes us better than any other living species. While we can apply this to our kind in general, can we apply this to our daily lives? Can we proudly say that we give in our best every day, so we can reach our maximum potential and achieve what we are capable of?
Just like those kids, we all too are only our effort away from what we can achieve. I wrote this post for all those who have so much potential but are wasting it away on TV shows and Netflix. Look around you, there is so much to learn and so much to do. Push your limits because real growth begins only when you step outside of your comfort zone.
You have achieved a lot, and while it is important to take pride in your accomplishments, always remember you are capable of so much more. “The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities” – Benjamin E Mays. Go out today with a renewed sense of purpose, and remember to never be lulled into complacency.
Written by Diksha G.
April is the cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.
-T. S. Eliot
R2: The Rice Review
Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.