When you stop and think about it, how many of us are settling? Doing something that is acceptable or tolerable because our dream didn’t work out?
But wait, how many of us actually tried to attain our dream? Further, do you know what your dream is?
My experience is there are far too many people who settle because they don’t know they don’t have to. Or because they don’t know how to do anything else.
It is easy to not settle, it just doesn’t seem like it because it is not comfortable. You have to step out and start behaving differently: set a goal, figure out what you have to do differently to go after it, break it down into bite size chunks, and get it done!
Think how powerful our world would be if we didn’t settle! How many of us might even want to run for President? So we settle. We pick the “lesser of two evils” as my friend often says. We have companies that don’t change even when the world around them does; they try to slow the fade, but eventually die. Read Adam Hartung’s blog if you want to see the current list of fading companies.
Seth Godin has it right in Linchpin. We all need to do the best job where we are. I stopped reading the book (no offense, Seth) because I thought it was obvious. But if it was, why does every chapter repeat itself and why do people buy it?
Settling is easier than pushing the edge. But pushing past the possible, doing more than you thought you could, is exhilarating. If you have never experienced it, you might not know, but it is worth it. Ask Chris Gardner, the true life character chronicled in Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happyness. A life of doing what you want the way you want and making a difference (most of the time) is hard and occasionally disappointing, but oh, so worth it!
What set me off to write this? Actually, Seth’s blog. I read it faithfully. Today, he talks about not limiting your potential to a one-in-a-million shot at your dream. I have two sons who had athletic dreams and pursued them. One evolved into a different role and is as happy as he can be, but he gave a professional athletic career a shot first. The other is still living his dream and working hard to ensure it will last a lifetime. And both are wise enough to get a college education and have options.
So my edit would be, give your dream a shot, but don’t be one-dimensional. Go after what you want, but want more than one thing. If you can’t be the athlete, be the trainer, the coach or the GM. Give yourself options, but go after the dream. First—you will know you tried, second—we learn from failure, and third—no reason not to (unless you don’t believe in yourself). And if you don’t believe in yourself, you will likely not succeed no matter what else you try.
So start with your dream, live life with high expectations, and you will find you will get very satisfying results. Don’t settle. You don’t have to.