This is one of the most debilitating beliefs you can have.
You get exactly what you are willing to accept. If you accept mediocrity, you will surely get it. Helen Keller once remarked, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
It is easy to fall into the mental trap of mediocrity.
Because it doesn’t take much to get by, we grow complacent. We stop growing and seeking challenges. We don’t push ourselves to succeed. We cultivate a lifestyle well below our potential, but one that is just good enough that it doesn’t require much challenge or action.
Tolerance is critical for survival. It has allowed us to endure horrific conditions by helping us quickly adapt to the situation. Our ability to adapt to our surroundings is both a gift and a curse. There are some life forms that cannot survive unless their conditions are ideal. Vary their environment even a little and they perish. We don’t have this problem. We can tolerate, and even flourish, in wild extremes.
In many situations however, tolerance and adaptability is also a curse.
We stay in poor relationships longer than we should because it is “comfortable enough” and requires so much more energy to make a change. We’ll endure critical bosses who never have nice things to say about us because we tell ourselves that they’re not “that bad.” We’ll live paycheck to paycheck for years because we fool ourselves into thinking it’s the “best we can do.”
If you place a frog in a pot of hot water, it will immediately jump out. However, if you place a frog in a pot of cold water and turn on the heat, it will stay in the pot and won’t notice that it is slowly being boiled to death*. You and I tend to act like the frog.
It’s amazing how much we can tolerate when our environment changes slowly. Incremental change is our worst enemy. It permits us to gradually accept living standards that we never would have accepted in the beginning.
The best way to determine if you have settled is to take an honest look at your present situation.
Are you where you want to be? Have you forgotten once vivid dreams and aspirations? Success has been defined as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. Based on this definition, are you successful?
There is a dark side to not “settling.”
I’m sure there is at least one person in your life that suffers from the belief that nothing is ever good enough. No matter how successful they become or how much money they make, they are never satisfied with their life. This mindset is a guaranteed formula for frustration and unhappiness.
While it is healthy and motivating to work for and dream about reaching your goals, it is imperative to be thankful for where you are and what you already have. Regardless of your situation, you have a thousand things for which to give thanks. Do not lose sight of these aspects of your life. Don’t lose sight of how far you’ve come and of what you’ve already accomplished on your journey in life.
The minute you realize getting by isn’t good enough, is the minute you will expect more for yourself. You can have more.
The proceeding blog post is an excerpt from The Six-Day Financial Makeover: Transform Your Financial Life in Less Than a Week!, available now on Amazon.
* This often repeated frog story is actually a fable. Fast Company magazine debunked this urban legend in their humorous, “Next Time, What Say We Boil a Consultant,” article. It’s still a great metaphor though.
About the Independent Financial Advisor
Robert Pagliarini, PhD, CFP®, EA has helped clients across the United States manage, grow, and preserve their wealth for the past 25 years. His goal is to provide comprehensive financial, investment, and tax advice in a way that was honest and ethical. In addition, he is a CFP® Board Ambassador, one of only 50 in the country, and a real fiduciary. In his spare time, he writes personal finance books, finance articles for Forbes and develops email and video financial courses to help educate others. With decades of experience as a financial advisor, the media often calls on him for his expertise. Contact Robert today to learn more about his financial planning services.