Kevin Bell

Conquer Your Complacency By Welcoming A New Addiction

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There’s this weird occurrence that, when you actually examine it, it’s not as weird as one might think. It’s actually something that we all fall into from time to time.

Allow me to elaborate.

I’ve been assigned the homeless outreach detail for my police department for a few years now. It’s a very busy city, and needless to say, we see A TON of homeless.

The majority of the problems in the city stem from the drugs used by the homeless, the crime committed by the homeless and encampments set up by the homeless. A vicious cycle.

Part of my job is to shelter them and provide them with resources.

So I do just that.

On any given day, we sheltered several and sure enough, we’ll see them back on the street within the next few days. They go to shelter, shower for a night or two, but then pop back out again.

We call them “starfish”, based on the little boy throwing starfish into the ocean story. If you don’t know it, it goes something like this:

A little boy is walking down the beach throwing starfish back into the ocean that have washed to shore.

An older man walks by, sees the boy doing that and just shakes his head.

The old man walks up to the boy and says “boy, why are you bothering? They’re just going to wash back up on the shore again later.

The boy continues throwing them back in as he moves down the beach, and without even looking up at the old man, he responds:

“I know, but right now, I’m saving this one… and now, i’m saving this one… and now, i’m saving this one” (as he proceeds to throw them back in)

This is our Moto.

Now for those that accept shelter and stay a little longer than a few days, they have the opportunity to take a shuttle out of the shelter in the morning each day.

The shuttle drops them off at a bus/ train depot to go out and do whatever they want to do… but what do you think they do?

They stay right there.

They congregate around the depot smoking dope, passing out, overdosing, leaving trash, and cause a huge mess.

Then at the end of the day, the shuttle comes back, picks them up and they head back to the shelter for the night. Then do it all again the next day.

They can’t get high in the shelter, so they go the minimal distance needed to be out of the shelters reach AND THEN get high.

But what’s so sad is that RIGHT in front of them is an opportunity to change their entire lives.

They could find work and earn some money.

They could take a class and learn a skill.

They could workout and get in better health… ANYTHING.

But they stay right there.

Just far enough away to not get kicked out of the shelter.

But this phenomenon isn’t just specific to the homeless, this is human nature. And it’s scary.

People run from discomfort. From hard work, from change, from doing difficult things.

This is why so many people don’t accomplish all the things they want to accomplish.

This is why New Year’s resolutions fail.

Why mediocre is what most settle for.

Because it’s HARD. It’s hard to work against the grain.

To pull yourself out of addiction.

To find success when all the cards feel stacked against you.

To change the trajectory of your life and your families life.

This is why most don’t do it.

And it’s why the homeless that I’m referring to have the chance of a life time and WASTE it by smoking dope and throwing their life away. Literally.

Every time you think about settling, think about it as if you were just about to take a hit of some fentanyl off your dirty burned tin foil from your melted plastic straw you found on the street. Because that’s what they are doing. They’re settling.

So stop it.

Let me leave you with an actionable item that has helped me move away from this trap:

Let discomfort become a drug that you experiment with.

Become addicted to being uncomfortable.

Just like a drug addict, start small.

Find a gateway into enjoying the discomfort of life and then bit by bit add more.

For some that might look like a cold shower a couple times a week.

For others that could be suffering in a CrossFit class or running a marathon.

Whatever it is for you, find a gateway to being uncomfortable and walk through that door.

The more you put yourself in those situations, the more you will recognize when you are feeling TOO comfortable and wanting to settle.

And when that feeling of comfort an complacency rushes over you, remember how you conquered that workout, cold shower, marathon, etc and snap out of it!


Get off your butt and do something uncomfortable that you know you NEED to do.

#Growth mindset