I was recently thinking about my life and evaluating the progress I have made thus far and the goals I wish to accomplish in the near future. If you really know me, you’ll know that I am practically obsessed with growth and self improvement. I live to unlock new levels of myself. The idea of who I can be propels me to chase a better me every time.
I don’t like settling. And there are times in my life where I have settled. In my academics and in other aspects of my life. And you probably say “But you do so well.” True, but knowing that I could have done better at something tends to make me feel disappointed in myself. I know what I am capable of and if I fall short of that, I won’t be pleased.
But at the same time, I endeavour to be satisfied in life. To be content and to embrace and learn from whatever situation I find myself in.
But like those ads on TV, conditions apply.
What do I mean? There is a difference between settling and being satisfied. They are two concepts that not everyone has fully grasped or I like to think that some individuals have misconceptions of.
To settle is to be less than one has the potential to be. For example, a student, with great potential, waits until the night before a major assignment is due to complete it. After some time, she decides she wants to go to bed because she is tired. She quickly types up the final section and submits the assignment. When the results are back, she receives 89%, the highest grade in the class.
Great,right? Not really. See, if said student procrastinated, gave mediocre effort and still managed to cop the highest grade in the class, can you imagine what her score would have been if she had not waited until the last minute and had given it her best?
This is a classic example of settling. You settle when you give the bare minimum. You settle when you dim/dumb it down. You settle when you know within yourself that you could be doing way more but you act average.
Settling doesn’t serve you. By settling, you sell yourself short.
When I was in high school, whenever I got test papers back, I would take them to my dad and if I had scored 90%, he’d say “Good, but where’s the other 10%?”
At the time, I thought that he was just being too hard on me. Can I tell you that I stopped showing them to him? Because in my head, he didn’t understand my “struggles” and he didn’t understand that high school was not a walk in the park. But really, I was the one who didn’t understand. I didn’t understand that I was wasting my God-given potential. I didn’t get that he knew I was a smart kid who only needed to apply herself to whatever task she was assigned and she would be successful. Thankfully, as I grew older, I got to see what he saw. That I could do so much better. That like Davianne Tucker puts it, I was “made for more”.
So as I go through life now, I keep that in mind. I try to steer myself away from mediocre paths and definitely away from mediocre people. I work really hard to bring my A game to every activity I do. And when I give my best, then I can be satisfied.
Being satisfied involves knowing that one has done all in his/her power; that one has given his best. You can be content when you know that you gave your all even if the outcome was not the desired one, favourable or the best.
For example, a student has a final exam. She begins studying weeks before the exam. She does practice tests and visits her professor in office hours to ask questions and seek clarification on the things she doesn’t quite get. Though she wants to binge-watch Power, she decides against it and instead, reviews her notes. When the results are back, the student scores 75% on the test. She is happy and her professor publicly commends her.
Why celebrate the 75%? Simple. Because it is worth celebrating. She gave her best to prepare for the exam. She denied self-gratification and focused on self-actualization. She is satisfied and has all right to be.
So if you know in yourself that you have not given your best but you are “satisfied” with your basic performance, then in reality, you have actually settled. If you have given your best, then and only then can you have true satisfaction.
These are the conditions that apply.
So do this for me. For you. The next time you settle, go in front of your mirror, look yourself in the eye and say these three words, “I have settled”. Give yourself that wake-up call. No, you’re not lowering your self esteem. I’m all for positive affirmations but I don’t support lying to oneself. I don’t support beating around the bush. While one needs to be optimistic, one also needs to be realistic. Face the facts. The only way to solve the problem is to acknowledge it. Don’t make excuses for yourself. You will never unlock your best self if you do.
Don’t be an individual subscribing to the Average Life package. In your career, in your relationships, in your academics, in any and every aspect of your life, bring your A game, give and take only the best.
Because really, only the best is good enough. I like the finer things in life, what about you?
– Nashelle .S. Hird
(She is what deep souls crave)