“Pretty Good” is a Trap

Being at a point in your life where things are pretty good is a dangerous place to be. Comfort is quicksand. You sink slowly into it, unconcerned at first. By the time you realize you’re stuck it’s extremely difficult to pull yourself out.

Any of this sound familiar:

  • Hard work and a few good opportunities early in your career put you at a point where you’re comfortable enough to relax a little. Maybe you buy a nicer house, a better car, and don’t worry so much about the budget. Until you find yourself in the paradox of being broke while making really good money.
  • Spending a decade or so building a solid relationship with your significant other makes it easy to devote less attention to the relationship. And then a little less. And then it’s on auto pilot.
  • As work and family start taking up more of your time, your friends start receiving less. But that’s ok because they are also busy with careers and kids. Then, one day, you realize you haven’t added any new friends to your life and the good friends have faded away until the relationship is nothing more than a quick “happy birthday” on Facebook.
  • You know you’re not as fit was you were in your 20s (who is, right?), but looking around you can see you’re in better shape than most desk jockeys. It makes it easy to forget that “better than bad” isn’t necessarily “good.”

The second law of thermodynamics tells us that “entropy increases.” In other words, things break down unless we continually put energy back into them. If we’re not giving continual focused attention to our finances and career, relationships, fitness, etc. it’s safe to say they are in the process of decaying and falling apart.

Having things going pretty good in our life can fool us into thinking we can coast. It tricks us into believing we no longer need to give it our attention. Then, by the time we do notice our lives are so far from where we want them to be it feels like it’s not worth the effort to get back.

But that’s a lie. It is.

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