After watching Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” for the second time this semester, I started to consider what I would say if I were in that position. For several days I thought about this and I think that most of what I would say falls under a single category. Never settling.
When you stop to think about it, settling for less is the worst thing that you can ever do for yourself. You never do yourself, or anyone else, any favors by settling. The bottom line is that in every situation, good is the enemy of great. Until someone figures this out as an individual, true success in the Hero’s Journey will not come. It is impossible to reach our goals if we are willing to settle for second best, the good, or the mediocre.
As I think back on these past three or four months, the times that I have been at my lowest were the times that I accepted defeat in some way—the times that I settled. On the other end of the spectrum, when I pushed myself as far as I could and refused to accept anything less than great, I felt great.
Never settling means that you have a plan and goals. If you don’t have those, then you have already set yourself up for the mediocre. But having goals is the easy half of the battle. From there, you still have to work for it. This takes reminders, daily effort, and support. It also means stepping outside of the comfort zone and into the growth zone.
One thing that is important to note though, is that never settling does not mean meeting or accomplishing every goal or dream of yours. In Pausch’s speech, the thing that got to me the most was, “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” In other words, when you are going for what you want and are learning as you go, even if you don’t get that job, internship, trip, etc. you still come out on top. Never settling means always learning.
If the world at large would stop settling for less, we would all be in a much better place right now.
So if you have a dream, go for it. If you fall short, take the lessons learned and apply them. Then, keep moving forward. Live smart and be smart. Always, always, always go for the great instead of the good! This will not make your life perfect and struggle free, but it will bring you both joy and strength through the journey.
In every situation GOOD < GREAT!