Complacency Breeds Failure

Lessons I Learned From A High-Performance Coach

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Lessons I Learned From A High-Performance Coach

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive”

– Andy Grove, Co-Founder, Intel

Being goal-oriented is hugely important in life. But what happens when you reach the goal you’ve set for yourself? Once you finally get that raise or lose the 50 lbs. you’ve been working for?

The natural feeling is to pat yourself on the back and sink into a state of complacency. The greats don’t do that.

Legendary football coach, Nick Saban talks about his hatred for complacency quite a bit.

“Complacency creates a blatant disregard for doing what’s right. You can’t do what you feel like doing. You got to choose to do the things that are going to help you accomplish the goals you have. When you get complacent, you lose respect for winning.”

I had a chance to interview Ben Newman this week. Ben is a highly regarded Performance Coach, International Speaker, and Best-Selling Author, whose clients include Fortune 500 companies around the world, business executives, sales organizations and professional athletes in the NFL, PGA, NBA, MLB and NCAA.

One team that Ben works with is the North Dakota State Bison Football Team. You may know them as the school that Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback, Carson Wentz attended. This year for the Eagles, Carson was the starting Quarterback until he suffered a season-ending injury.

When this happened, his true character was revealed. He didn’t sulk and he didn’t discourage his replacement, Nick Foles, or worry about him taking over the limelight. He coached Foles up and they created a legendary underdog story by winning the Super Bowl against my beloved New England Patriots.

“Don’t allow your feelings to dictate how you show up.”

But Wentz is far from the only success story for ND State. The Bison are an absolute powerhouse. They’ve won 6 of the last 7 National Championships. Despite this success, the team is far from complacent. Ben said that 2 weeks after their last national championship, they were back in the weight room and were hungrier than they’ve ever been.

That’s largely inspired by the culture of the organization. They’re not allowed to wear any form of championship gear in the weight room. There’s no time to dwell on past accomplishments or failures. There’s only time to focus on the next mountain to climb and obstacle to overcome.

“Life is a continued fight.”

Originally published at

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