Fall Asleep At The Switch & You Might Become A Boiled Frog
The consequences of failing to take action until it's too late - Complacency, procrastination & denial can result in boiled frog syndrome.
The Boiled Frog Theory is a parable which was presumably based on a fictitious early 19th century "scientific study".
The Boiled Frog Theory claimed that if an attempt were made to immerse a frog in a pot of hot water, the frog would immediately jump from the pot but if the same frog were immersed in a pot of cool water and the temperature of the water was increased gradually, the frog would not perceive the gradual change in temperature and would allow itself to be slowly cooked to death.
Lack Of Awareness & Complacency While the theory itself has been debunked, the parable of the boiled frog has continued to be used as a metaphor to illustrate how people experiencing small incremental changes over a sufficient period of time tend to become complacent & completely unaware that their situation has changed. Because the changes are so gradual & small, they may not even recognize the consequences and the modified situation simply becomes perceived as the "new normal".
The metaphor illustrates how small, gradual & continuous changes in your environment are often imperceptible but their effect can be cumulative and, at some point, the cumulative effect of these incremental changes can possibly become so great that it may be too late to do anything (the point of no return).
The principle is one of gradualism. Because the changes are incremental over a sufficient period of time, there is no perception that things are changing, there is no sense of urgency and no alarms are triggered.
It escapes notice until the damage is done or there is not enough time remaining to react or save yourself.
Procrastination & Denial - Pollyanna Thinking On the other hand, there are some people who are aware that changes are occurring but they deliberately choose to postpone taking action ("kicking the can down the road") by deluding themselves that there will always be plenty of time to take action or that the impact of their inaction will not be cumulative or irreversible.
The Insidious Nature Of The Boiled Frog Syndrome - It Seems To Sneak Up On You. For many people, when the consequences are eventually recognized, they are shocked that it happened so "suddenly".
The reality is - It did NOT happen suddenly.
It happened continuously, progressively and gradually over an extended period of time.
Obvious vs Oblivious To "outsiders" (family & friends) the growing problem is obvious while the people intimately involved are completely oblivious to the negative progression of their own circumstances.
Unfortunately, the longer you remain unaware of the problem, or the longer you choose to ignore it, the worse the situation becomes. And in some instances, the situation can progress to the point of being irreversible or even dangerous.
To Avoid Becoming A Boiled Frog, Stop Periodically And Take Stock Of Your Situation. The impact of the cumulative effect of incremental change can only be noticed if you pause from time to time and deliberately evaluate the present vs the past.
Because most people do not have the discipline to consciously stop & make these periodic evaluations, they often become the engineers of their own demise.
Is it time to stop & take stock of your situation?
Have you been considering downsizing but just haven't gotten around to it?
Would you like to know what you need to do NOW to sell your home next year (or the year after)?
As Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did NOT do than by the ones you did do."
And as Vince Lombardi said, "We didn't lose the game. We just ran out of time."