Complacency and Risk

I recently read an article I wrote more than seven years ago, warning of the dangers of complacency.  The article dealt with complacency of businesses and the effects thereof, but the arguments apply as well to individuals and organizations.

I wrote about the dangers of complacency, citing Blockbuster as an example of its dangers. Today, Netflix is a big, thriving business. It began as a provider of video DVDs, a service it still provides, but it adapted as technology changed and allowed for streaming videos. Blockbuster is a mostly a memory, living on only through legacy services through DISH Network.  Blockbuster, too, was a big, thriving business.  But unlike Netflix, it did not adapt to changing times and changing technologies; it was complacent and its complacency exacted a heavy toll.

The topic of complacency was on my mind because I think there’s a danger in becoming complacent as a writer. If I write what has always been written, or if I treat the subjects about which I write the same way they have always been treated, I might be comfortable, but I might also be assuring the irrelevance of my writing. Risk is hard to accept, but sometimes it is the only thing between success and failure; the absence of risk does not assure success any more than taking risks assures failure.

Within the next few months, I may illustrate my points by illustrating what I consider risks in writing; right here on this blog.  Those risks might bring failure.  They may not.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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