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  • Writer's pictureDennis Guyvan, Life Coach

How understanding the difference between Gratitude and Complacency can help you move forward.

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Have you ever heard about this coaching theme: “Gratitude will attract more of what you want into your life ?” Have you heard that we need to celebrate more of what you have today to get even more tomorrow? On the contrary, this can keep you stuck if you misunderstand the statement and take it too far.

I do see sometimes how people after achieving something in life think that they are not grateful enough because they still want more from life. They think that gratitude cannot go together with desire. So they become guilty of "not being grateful enough for what they achieve". As a result, gratitude is forced into complacency.

Complacency ( misunderstood as gratitude) can keep you stuck. Complacency destroys hunger and desire. Complacency can keep you stuck with what you have. It doesn’t want you to think about moving forward.

Gratitude on the other hand makes us move forward. Gratitude turns into motivation and hunger. Gratitude gives you the message that you are on the right track and that you can keep going. It makes you feel empowered and propels you forward. So allow yourself to feel gratitude but do not force it.

I also think that there is more to this than just gratitude. I believe that there are two main components to achievement: gratitude and hunger. They aren’t mutually exclusive. There are two. They go together. These are two sides of the same coin and they are inseparable. For high achievers, it is crucial to remember this.

The key is to keep the balance between gratitude and hunger, especially in the long run. If you only focus on becoming hungry and only notice things that you do not have, you most likely are going to get overwhelmed and break down emotionally. If you are trying to only force gratitude when there are clearly things that need to be taken care of, you can end up being complacent. So you need to cultivate both of them daily to keep the balance going.

So, what are some ways to cultivate hunger?

There are a few great and quick exercises that I do with my clients during life coaching sessions to help them unlock their potential. I want to share them here and I highly encourage you to do this with me right now. This will help you to really get what I am talking about here.

  • Find your favorite place: it can be at home, by the ocean, in the mountains, surrounded by people who inspire you, etc. Put your favorite music on, ask yourself these few questions and start writing the answers down for at least 10-15 min. The key here is to keep writing whatever comes to your head.

  • What do you really want? What do you really want to have, to do, to be, to share?

  • If you knew you could not fail, what would you do? Who would you be? Let yourself feel like a king/a queen.

  • What specifically do you want? For example, how exactly would you want that house to look like? What qualities will that friend or significant other have?

Key: It is important at this point not to think about how to make this all happen. Just let yourself dream and go full-on. Create the list and keep writing for at least 10-15 minutes.

2. Once you are done with that exercise, keep the door of the opportunity open for yourself. For the next few days keep noticing what you want, who you want to be, and what you want to do. Keep collecting new desires to build that list. Remember to separate dreaming from planning; being creative from structuring.

To sum this up, remember that both gratitude and hunger are two important elements of your journey of growth and development. Keep dreaming, that is where your hunger is. And do not forget about being grateful for what you have to keep the balance. I think balance is crucial in a life coaching process and in life in general.

“ The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. ”
Eleanor Roosevelt


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Dennis Guyvan, a life coach. He provides individual life coaching sessions in Denver and Chicago, and worldwide via video and phone calls. Schedule your free 30-minute coaching consultation with Dennis Guyvan.


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