The Tony Robbins Trick to Push Past Complacency

UPDATED: August 31, 2016
PUBLISHED: August 31, 2016

We’ve all felt it. It starts when you have good a routine going and you get into a nice, comfortable rhythm. Newness and uncertainty, any kind of change really is scary, so we work to squelch them. We strive to get past the crazy ups and downs of beginnings: Will she? Won’t she? What did that mean? What should I say? We long for a plateau.

But plateaus are flat and predictable. Over time, your fire for life fizzles, your drive at work slows, your passionate relationship starts to lose its fire. And then you wake up one day, realizing you’ve been on autopilot for months or even years. You’ve become complacent.

Related: 5 Ways Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone Made Me a Better Person

The interesting problem here is that we can’t get a new job each week. Who really wants that? And the agony of new and scary? Roller coasters are only fun for a day, not every day.

Tony Robbins, life and business strategist to presidents, Olympians, celebrities and the rest of us, taught me an interesting solution to that problem. In our interview, he explains how you can push yourself past this complacency by playing without a safety net.

If you’ve seen his new documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, on Netflix, you’ll see how he does this. At every seminar, he approaches audience members to talk through their problems on the spot. We watch him help a daughter work through what she believed were diet issues, which turned out to be deep-rooted tensions with her father. We witness him solve deep, decade-long issues in real time, in front of thousands of watching, hopeful eyes. He’s been in the same industry, doing the job he’s done for more 30 years, but using his gifts under extreme pressure, over and over again.

You might be thinking, But what does that mean for me? I am not about to do that!

And you shouldn’t.

But you do need to ask yourself, How can I put myself in a do-or-die situation with my gifts and talents this week?

Here are some examples:

  • The boss asks for a volunteer to tackle an intense, high-pressure project and you wouldn’t normally raise your hand—it’s go time. Get your hand up.
  • If you’re the boss, when is the last time you held open office hours and let anyone come in and ask you anything, pushing you to provide them with answers on the spot?
  • Perhaps you are a writer but you’ve never done a live reading at a mic night, or never pushed yourself to write for a major publication or for someone else’s blog. Maybe it’s time to tighten your deadlines.
  • If you’re a singer who has never done anything outside of church on Sundays, grab your guitar and go find a street corner downtown.
  • If you’re a problem solver, tell your boss, publicly or in writing, that you can get it done a week earlier than you normally would.
  • If you’re in sales, commit to a higher quota this month.
  • If you create video content for your followers, do a live stream broadcast with them instead.
  • If you’re a speaker with a few set speeches, swap out the usual ending for live Q&A.

Does it make you feel uneasy to read those ideas? That’s normal. That uneasiness is the first step before excitement. The passion that comes after excitement is the momentum you need to get past the plateau of complacency. Suddenly you’re waking up supercharged, feeling hopeful and inspired.

I know this method works because I’ve used it in my own life.

Instead of a safe, audio-only podcast, I chose to put my gifts to the test and launch a traveling, in-person talk show. Within 18 months, I was sitting down with Tony Robbins. Next week I will interview Larry King. Larry King. I set deadlines with my distributors and make public announcements to maintain this crazy speed. Sure, I spend a decent chunk of time feeling that nervous nausea you feel as a coaster click-click-clicks up the track. But those cameras turn on, the guest gets mic’d up and the coaster is moving. There’s no stopping it now. Since launching my show, the passion and excitement has spread into all other areas of my life, I’ve lost two dress sizes, I am more intentional with my husband and daughter, I write more than ever before, I am present with my friends… the list goes on.

Trust me, the ups and downs, the stomach flips, they’re worth it. The world doesn’t need more comfortable bystanders, drifting on autopilot. We desperately need you at your best, giving this world your best work. You can’t do that from a stale state of complacency, so try this exercise this week!

Watch the interview with Tony Robbins and Joe Berlinger, documentary director and producer, here:

Related: The Pursuit: Tony Robbins’ 5 Steps to Break Through Your Limits

Kelsey Humphreys is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and host of success talk show The Pursuit.When she's not interviewing the mega-successful, speaking at events or writing about the journey to success, you'll find her creating her popular motivational Quick Pep Talk videos.