I’ve always believed the greater danger is not aiming too high, but too low, settling for a bogey rather than shooting for an eagle.
– Peter Scott
I wrote a post about settling in a relationship back when IEvo first launched and how it was a trap that many people fell into.¬† People get comfortable or they figure they simply can’t do any better, so they stop trying.¬† They settle for people who don’t satisfy them in the way they would like.
At the time, I hadn’t thought to talk about settling in general, but I realized just recently that I (And probably many others.) tend to settle just as often for the little problems and nuisances in our day to day life instead of seeking them out and fixing them.
I’m not talking about the big issues in life, (Though for obvious reasons I don’t believe you should settle in regards to those either.) I’m talking about those little annoyances like having a cluttered desk, or having a hole in one of your window screens.¬† If it’s not what you want, no matter how small it is, it’s worth changing.
Why you should sweat the small stuff
Cheeky book references aside, (Actually, I highly recommend Richard Carlson’s Dont Sweat The Small Stuff (And Its All Small Stuff))¬† everyone has those small annoyances in life that aren’t quite the way they want them.¬† Little details like dishes left over in the sink from last night, not painting your room/apartment/house or using an uncomfortable computer chair are the little details a lot of us tend to ignore because we feel like they’re not anything that adversely affects our life.
While that’s true on an individual, item per item basis, when you have five or more of these things (Which most of us do.) piling up they do detract from your life.¬† You’ve probably noticed that already, but what the hell, right?¬† They’re small and there are other, better things you can do with your time.
The reason leaving these things alone is detrimental to your life is because they stress you out whether you realize it or not.¬† Every time you sit down in that uncomfortable computer chair, even if it’s only for an instant, you think: ‘This chair sucks!’
Not that big of a deal, right?¬† Multiply that by the amount of small things in your life that you’ve settled on.¬† The little things you would have loved to have done, like painting, but that you didn’t bother with because it was too much work.¬† Suddenly something that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal becomes a lot more substantial.¬† Now instead of just thinking ‘This chair sucks!’ you’re thinking ‘This desk is so cluttered!’, ‘These walls are so bland!’, ‘There’s dishes in the sink!’, ‘These windows are all dirty!’
You start thinking about these things quite often throughout the course of the day, sometimes thinking about the same thing multiple times depending on what it is and what you’re doing.¬† Over time it starts to wear you down and you start to feel like your life is a mess, or that it isn’t going the way you want it to.
What you’re communicating to yourself when you settle
What you’re communicating to yourself when you settle for these things, whether you realize it or not, is that you’re not worth enough to fix these things. That your happiness and your satisfaction in life isn’t worth the (often small) amount of time it takes to fix these issues.
And the longer these things remain in a unsatisfactory state, the longer this information has to sink in.¬† Over a sustained pereiod¬† of time you tell yourself that the things that you want aren’t worth it.
That’s a dangerous thing to be telling yourself.
Ignoring these things also makes it difficult to be truly grateful, something that I find to be an essential practice in being happy on a daily basis.
Take some time and think about those little things that you want to get done or that aren’t what your ideal would be and fix them.¬† Just handle them one at a time, don’t overwhelm yourself.¬† But the next time you notice that little annoyance, don’t just ignore it as one of life’s many small problems, but fix it.¬† Make it so that it doesn’t annoy you anymore, or, even better, change it so that it makes you happy when you encounter the situation.
It’s easier than you think– and well worth it.¬† Don’t settle for less.