Why do people settle?

posted by Russ, August 31 in lifestyle design with tags , , ,

1 comment so far

This question is often on my mind, and can be interpreted in many ways. What I mean when I ask myself this is why do we settle for mediocrity when it comes to jobs, relationships, or even the life we lead in general? There are many reasons for all of us, I know I do it as well, and my reasons are probably similar to most. When I think of settling in my own life, I think I mostly about my career and my lifestyle.

For a long time, pretty much since I’ve been out of college, I’ve never been fulfilled by my jobs, nor have I been fulfilled with my daily life. Is it bad, am I unhappy? No, most days I am happy and most days I have nothing to complain about. Is my life better than most people’s? I would say yes. However, do I feel that I am living up to my potential? No I don’t. And do I feel like each day could be just a little bit better if it were different? Yes I do.

Mediocrity. I suppose like most people I am guilty of settling for it. I have these weird introspective moments very often, where I see myself in a life that is truly amazing, where I am making a difference in the world, getting to fulfill my dream of experiencing other places and cultures, and most importantly, living each day to the fullest and not “wasting” time working for someone doing something that doesn’t bring me pleasure.

So why haven’t I made the jump to this life that I often dream of? I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but I believe that there are several reasons. The first being uncertainty, and the second fear, both of the unknown and also of what people will think if I make a drastic change.

Uncertainty is a given. When you have a job and a certain way of life there is security, whether it is in a regular paycheck and benefits, or in a routine that has become comfortable. To get past this you need to realize that with any change there is uncertainty. And likely, prior to getting into the position you are in, there was uncertainty before it as well. The second, fear is a little more personal. Everyone may have a different fear. For me part of the fear is of the unknown; “what will happen when I make a change, what will happen, and will the result be worth it?”. The other part of fear I suppose is breaking a societal norm. Again in my case of career choice, I have ended up where I am because I studied in college and created this path. If I suddenly break from it, I will be breaking for the traditional “ladder approach” to life that most people take. Starting at one position and slowly and steadily moving upward. A drastic career change or change of lifestyle breaks this approach, and in addition to causing you to be unsure, can also cause other people to question your motives and try to keep you “in line.”

So what is the solution to ensure that you don’t settle in your life? It is different for everyone, you have to first figure out where and why you are settling, and then make a decision to change.

Originally posted on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 at 3:05 PM .

One Response to “Why do people settle?”

  1. Maybe try something different in your ‘spare’ time and see if it looks like it might work out.

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