In a recent O Magazine article I saw a quote by Iyanla Vanzant and jotted it down in my journal
When we believe we cannot have what we desire, when we lack faith in ourselves and in the goodness of life, we settle for less. We decide that whatever is in front of us is better than nothing. But believe me when I tell you – better than nothing isn’t good enough!
I never give up on people no matter how much they are struggling; I believe that they will find a way to move forward…to make progress. I have always been intrigued by “the process”—the process of how we learn and grow. When I work with others, I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, although sometimes that happens but I do expect something to happen especially when I can clearly see potential sitting across from me in the form of a person, who hasn’t yet seen his or her real self.
In a Success Magazine article ‘Learn How to Live Your Own Life’, Napoleon Hill told this story: “Many years ago, a young army veteran came to see me about a job. He told me he was disillusioned and discouraged; all he wanted out of life was a meal ticket, a place to sleep and enough to eat. He had a look in his eyes – a sort of glassy stare – that told me he thought hope was dead. Here was a perfectly capable young man who was willing to settle for practically nothing when I knew very well that if he changed his attitude he could earn a fortune. There was something about him, an almost hidden spark…”
This is the spark that I see in so many people yet they settle: in careers, in relationships and in lives where they no longer fit. They comfort themselves with ‘at leasts’: at least I have a roof over my head; at least I can eat a food when the day come; at least I have a job that I can be thankful for. And nothing is wrong with being grateful just that you shouldn’t settle.
We are all settling on some level or the other and this is not a Trinbagonian thing. We need to stop this BS that Trinis are lazy and aren’t “ready” whatever that means. We are constantly putting ourselves down and then wonder why we are where we are.
Settling is a HUMAN condition. In the Old Testament Abraham’s father Terah, had hope to move to the place where God later led Abraham. The Scripture says, “Abraham’s father left Ur and set out for Canaan.” [See Genesis 11:31] Now Canaan was the Promised Land, and Terah had intended to lead his family to that land of abundance. But the Scripture reveals that Terah “stopped along the way and settled in Haran” [See Genesis 11:31]. In other words Terah settled for good enough. The question we normally ask at this point is why? Why did Terah settle? Why do we settle? Better than nothing? At least you’re…? This is good enough for you?
Instead of asking why we settle, we need to take a look at what happens WHEN we settle.
Five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, and mysticism Caroline Myss says “Whether you “settle” for less than you want in a relationship or in any other area of your life, the knowledge that you have compromised your heart and intuitive truth will consciously or unconsciously lead you to sabotage your own choice.” Stay with this phrase for a bit and reflect on it. Hopefully you will connect with the full truth of this statement.
Why would you sabotage your own choice? Caroline continues “Your actions may not be conscious, but no one can live with the pain of self-betrayal and not find an outlet for that pain. That pain may get routed into an addiction or into depression or into anger at the other person for becoming a constant source of disappointment, but that pain has to go somewhere. In a very real sense, this negative behavior is actually a form of survival in that a part of your psyche is deliberately trying to break out of a situation that you cannot survive in, much less thrive in. Your conscious self may be too frightened to take charge of such bold steps directly. Therefore, you take these steps covertly through anger or food addiction or becoming more withdrawn and depressed.”
How do we remedy not settling? By beginning to look at the choices we’re making and why we’re making them. Look at what you want versus what you need. Don’t go for the short-term payoff. You will know if where you are isn’t where you’re supposed to be and that you’re settling.
Caroline cautions, “Following what you want is often a path filled with disappointments because it operates on a pain-pleasure scale, easily tipped and easily broken. The path of what you need, on the other hand, is a far deeper soul path that often anchors us in challenges that serve as depth charges. Through these challenges that seem to eclipse our wants, we so often discover our greatest talents and inner resources precisely because the path of what we need is the one demanding the most of us. Ironically, it is the path of what we need that leads us to that place of saying, “I would never have chosen this, but I am so glad I’m here.”
This is your life! Don’t ever think that you have no choice in the matter. You do have a choice. You may not always know what you need to do after you make the choice but once you do, it will become clearer to you. Actress Naomi Barr shares that you can either walk through the door or you can remain stuck. You can allow others to put you down, a bosses excoriation to deflate you, or your own insecurities to knock you out! Or you can choose to remember that no matter who you are or what you dream of becoming – no one came here to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small!
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