Comfortable inaction is not doing something because at the present time the consequences of not acting are not bad enough to force you to take action.

To make this clearer here are some examples:

• Thinking “I need to lose weight,” but doing nothing about it because you can still fit into your clothes.
• When you have a nagging problem in your head but instead of tackling it head on you wait until “you can wrap your head around it.”

It’s only recently I have learned that the term for this is “comfortable inaction.” But it’s something that I have thought about for a while as I have a *former* friend who practises this a lot… although we just used to call it “laziness.”

For example he would put off going out to look for a job because it was raining. It was more comfortable to stay in where it was warm and dry, rather than going out and getting wet. He would think, “Its okay, I’ll just do it tomorrow,” but of course he never did because something else would come up. At the time it didn’t seem like a big deal because his Mum wasn’t at the point of kicking him out yet and he didn’t desperately need money. But this left him unemployed for a long time because of his inability to take action in the present.

He has also lost friends for the same reason. He would not turn up to places he had been invited to because he “couldn’t be bothered” or because of the bad weather, or because he didn’t have money (from not looking for a job of course) or some other lame excuse – probably thinking he would make it up another time. He never did and therefore fell out with a lot of people just because he wouldn’t “act now.”

And this is the problem with comfortable inaction: at the present time it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal and the consequences of not acting right now don’t outweigh the discomfort it would cause… But over time these small things can add up and have sometimes catastrophic consequences.

Especially in business.

As John F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and cost to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

Comfortable inaction can be a significant threat to an organizations operations and growth. In a business there could be an employee who you know isn’t performing well and making small mistakes. As they are only making small mistakes you don’t want to seem petty and unfair so you allow this to continue as right now it doesn’t seem like that of a big deal.

Over time these mistakes add to make one big mistake, costing your business to lose a lot of money. If you had only acted in the first place this could have easily been avoided.

So there you have it, some possible effects of comfortable inaction. Now you are aware of it, DON’T let it happen. TAKE ACTION NOW.

Tom Duffy