Don’t settle! I loved it when I first heard the speech of Steve Jobs during the graduation rites at Stanford University in 2005. It’s because I adhere to the principles he mentioned, particularly this one about not settling.
What does “don’t settle” really mean? It means you will not accept something that is less than what you want. A very common Filipino expression is puede na which I’m not very fond of. The puede na mentality accepts something that is knowingly mediocre. Somehow this does not appeal to me as a standard way of doing things, of living my life.
But let’s face it, applying “don’t settle” in all aspects of life all the time can be exhausting! I think this is even the basis of the have-it-all illusion that we propagate especially among young mothers. Let’s be careful, nobody wants to hang out with a super high-strung individual always exacting the most out of everything, ending up being an A-hole in the process. Remember that sometimes we let go of our usual standards on something not because we are less than the next person, but because that thing is not that important to us.
So how do we balance between not settling and not being exhausted? In my experience, I choose what is important to me. Let me share with you some of these chosen fields – the fields in which I don’t settle for anything less.
- Marriage. To me this is the most important contract I’ve ever signed in my life! Early on I knew that I wanted to have a great marriage and I was willing to give it my best shot. I remember a conversation I had with my husband Marvin in the early part of our marriage, he said, “Hon don’t expect that we’d always be so in love as we are now ha? I just don’t want you to be disappointed.” But I countered with, “But do you want us to become less loving in the future? I want us to be this in love, if not more, when we’re old and gray.” I was not referring to always being on cloud 9 but I was referring to the quality of our relationship. We had an interesting discussion that led to an agreement that yes, we could actually not settle for what is “normal” or what he was expecting to be normal at that time. And we knew that this kind of relationship was not something we could get overnight. It was something that we had to work on, take seriously, yet with a big dose of humor, and respect. Fortunately, after 25 years, we still profess to each other that love, not the same as it was at the beginning because it has grown a lot deeper and stronger, with the same (if not more) dose of romance, which we consciously and regularly put in our day-to-day encounters. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it; neither is it that hard because the love is there in the first place. So couples out there, if you want a happily ever after, don’t settle!
- Parenting. Bringing a child to this world is the most serious endeavor a person could ever get into. Here’s the thing, if you choose to bring a life into this world, you better make sure you’re bringing someone who will make this world a better place. You have to be fair to the child you’re giving life to and the people he/she will affect in the future, so to me parenting is serious stuff. My heart bleeds when I see street children begging for food and can’t help but hate the people who brought them to life for neglecting their serious and even divine obligation. And that, my friends, is the reason why I gave up my investment banking career. Bringing up a person involves a lot of facets that entails constant presence of the caregiver. It so happened that my job then, which I enjoyed and was proud of, didn’t allow me to be with them in a meaningful way on a daily basis. Something’s gotta give, and I decided it wasn’t going to be my boys. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best parenting I could give. Again, this entailed sacrifices and some what if thoughts. Today, I celebrate that decision of not settling on my parenting as I see them grown up. I can’t help but feel that they are not just God’s best gifts to me and Marvin, but also our best gifts to this world!
- Self-development. My original vision of myself was that of a successful career woman, then no. 2 made me do a detour. Nonetheless, I made sure I didn’t settle for a less version of me. I continued to read, attend workshops. I even studied Art and Photography. I avoided teleseryes so as not to be melodramatic, I vowed to be a student for life. I continued to keep that vision of a great person even without an impressive calling card! And it was fun! Today I find myself busy with advocacies that allow me to affect others by sharing what I know and in the process allow me to continue developing as a person. Isn’t that great?
So the next time, you find yourself settling for something less than what you want, ask yourself, “Does this mean a lot to me? Is it part of my core values?” If the answer is yes, then don’t settle. Keep searching, keep doing more, until you achieve what you really want. You will know. Your heart will tell you.
Not settling for anything less than the best for your family includes equipping your family members with a high FQ. Join us on May 9, 2015 1:00-5:30pm for an afternoon of learning and bonding in the FAMILY FQ WORKSHOP BY THE FAUSTOS at the SMX Convention of SM Aura, Taguig City. Click this link: I want to know more about joining the Family FQ Workshop
Great Commencement Speeches:
- To view the commencement speech of Steve Jobs I mentioned above, click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA
- Another interesting one was that delivered by Lisa Macuja at the ADMU 2015 Graduation, where my second son was a part of, click link: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/682265/a-speech-that-will-be-remembered-for-a-long-long-time
- Still another good speech is this one delivered by Nix Nolledo, owner of listed stock Xurpas, click link: https://www.facebook.com/nixnolledo/posts/10153362520460827
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com
Attribution: Photo from brian-kolb.com modified by the author to help deliver the message of the article.