Imagine a triangle of fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia, all driven by some ambition that’s bigger than you. That is the complete extreme antithesis of complacency. 

If you are truly a disciplined, obsessed, monomaniacal fanatic discipline, you’re non-complacent.  If you are firing bullets and you are bringing a constant and empirical approach, that is not complacent.  And if you are building reserve funds and you are always asking the question, "What if?" what could go wrong?  What could come around the corner?  What opportunity might be there?  That’s the productive paranoia.  It is the complete antithesis of complacency.  

The only issue is that you might actually not sleep as much as you might like.  These people are obsessed, they are creative, they are intense.  And the idea of stopping, of resting, of breathing, why would you do that when there’s so much to create?  Why would you do that when there’s so much that could hit you?  Why would you do that when you are on a relentless march to accomplish something? 

So if you embrace these three - you have fanatic discipline, you have empirical creativity, you have productive paranoia, and you have ambition for something bigger than yourself, you are going to be of immense value to whatever enterprise that you’re part of.  The only problem is you’re probably going to discover that you are of such immense value that you’ll want to go and do it yourself.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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