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Contentment vs complacency

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  • Contentment vs complacency

    I've been reading Tyler Cowen's "The Complacent Class" and he discusses (among other things) the decline in mobility of Americans - we are moving less often from state to state and county to county. I realized that I am unlikely to move again in my lifetime, unless it is for health or unexpected family reasons (ie, my future adult children need help with future grandchildren, etc). In other words, I don't anticipate having or wanting to move for economic reasons.

    Financially I'm also much less motivated than in the past. I've reached a certain level of assets which make me more or less FI. If I could double my income would I move? No. If I could get twice as much vacation would I move? Eh, probably not. If my employer cut my pay 25% would I stay? I might, depending on working conditions. I like my coworkers and my employer and my patients and something pretty drastic would have to change for me to bail. What I could do in the near future is approach my current employer about working less and if they say no... at some point I submit my resignation and do some locums, some telemedicine, some consulting, whatever. I had a dream for a while of working in Singapore for a couple years, bringing the family for the adventure and to help the kids improve their Chinese, but even that sounds like more than I want to take on right now. I had a dream once of being a shining light to help physicians get their finances in order but WCI beat me to it. Good for him, and I'm not heartbroken. I'm not feeling motivated to create big new things... all that work, all that uncertainty. Seriously, another X million dollars wouldn't change my life one bit... we save half of what we make already and I only work 200 days per year (and I don't make as much as many docs) and we have everything we need and almost everything we want.

    My own internal debates aside, how do you know if you are content - or complacent? Is there a difference? Is compacency necessarily negative?

  • #2
    Most of the people on this site are motivated, high achievers that have set goals and achieved them throughout their lives, both academically and professionally.  I think most people try to achieve FIRE not to achieve financial or personal contentment, but because it's a long term goal for people to aspire to after other professional goals are achieved.

    Once you achieve your financial goals, I think it is important to set new goals to avoid complacency, which at least for me leads to boredom and unhappiness.

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    • #3
      We all have different seasons in our lives.

      I'd caution against ever measuring anything you do from the eyes of those outside of you.

      If you are happy with what you have accomplished and are contented within your soul, and this is not coming from a place of fear, then continue to do what you are doing.

      If this is coming from a place of fear I would then examine that and see if it a limiting belief that is affecting other areas of your life.

      We all have our own races to run, run yours with blinders on and figure out your own motivations, everyone else be damned.

       

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      • #4
        There is an American ethos of achievement and progress which leads to restlessness and accomplishment. But it's not the only way to live life. There is an Eastern philosophy which is far more interested in contentment, balance, peace, acceptance. At some point, if you are high enough up Maslow's hierarchy of needs, you begin to look at internal accomplishments, not external. In my own case I did not mean to imply that I have no interest in personal growth, only that I have less interest in 'achievement'.

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        • #5
          Agreed. Once one has achieved fi finding new goals can be elusive. I am very goal oriented. Finding another goal has been hard for me

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          • #6




            Agreed. Once one has achieved fi finding new goals can be elusive. I am very goal oriented. Finding another goal has been hard for me
            Click to expand...


            I am currently having this debate with myself and with my career coach. (My 85 year old father is also pestering me about this.) I and she/coach both do not see me retiring and doing nothing. The reality is that until I have some space opened up from my schedule, there is not enough time and energy left for any meaningful pursuit. It is a little bit of a chicken-and-egg argument.

            I really appreciate the point about Eastern vs. Western philosophy in this context.

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            • #7
              time is always an important factor as we consider realistic goals.

               

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              • #8
                This sort of issue would be well worth discussing at the upcoming WCI conference.

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                • #9
                  I think this is a great discussion topic FI now what?  Retired from being a doc now what?

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                  • #10




                    This sort of issue would be well worth discussing at the upcoming WCI conference.
                    Click to expand...


                    Totally agree. I would like to be a resource to help physicians leave their practices, when the time comes, but so far, I suck at quitting myself!

                    This would be an interesting panel discussion.

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                    • #11




                      My own internal debates aside, how do you know if you are content – or complacent? Is there a difference? Is compacency necessarily negative?
                      Click to expand...


                      .
                      Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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                      • #12


                        My own internal debates aside, how do you know if you are content – or complacent? Is there a difference? Is compacency necessarily negative?
                        Click to expand...


                        1. I'd love a post about working with a coach.

                        2. I don't think ones goals have to be career or financial. Perhaps you'd like to learn how to brew coffee differently, or how to grow a garden, or how to sing in the choir, or how to ride a unicycle. If nothing sounds interesting, perhaps burnout is at play here at some level.  Otherwise, I think it's a blessing not to have to toil to stay afloat. Goodness. I don't plan to move, and it sounds amazing. Frees up all sorts of energy.

                        3. Moving takes incredible energy. I've moved 15+ times since high school. My spouse has moved even more. I suspect that isn't abnormal for physicians. Get a good rocking chair. And a good bicycle!

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                        • #13
                          Attainment of a "state of grace" with the world is my goal.  Not sure if it is contentment or complacency.  I do not believe it matters either way...the feeling is the feeling.

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