Most people hear the word settle and immediately get negative vibes. They imagine working at a dead end job, being married to someone that they can’t stand and basically going nowhere in life. I think that this is because most people confuse settling with giving up.
Whenever I think of settling, I think of my all-time favorite basketball player, Allen Iverson. Iverson was a small, wirery point guard that could score at will and pretty much dominated opponents in the NBA from the late 90’s to the mid 2000’s. Allen lead the league in scoring and even one the M.V.P award given to the player said to be the most valuable in the league. For a while there, Iverson was on top of the world and just couldn’t seem to miss.
While Iverson was still good enough to put up great scoring numbers and really help a team, he was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers and sent to Denver. Allen still played well on his new team but was sent to some other teams over the next few seasons and each team wanted him to come off of the bench (this means to not be a player that starts the game but to come in at a later point). Allen Iverson felt that is was an insult for a player that had won an M.V.P and lead the league in scoring to be asked to come off the bench when that player had proven that they were still very good. The truth is that Allen actually had a point and was probably right. Unfortunately, the league didn’t really agree with him and his attitude toward the situation actually cost him the opportunity to keep playing in the league.
Now, I don’t think that you have to be a basketball fan to understand where Allen what coming from, what if you had spent several years giving your all to a company and making that company great only to be told that you were to be demoted and asked to work under someone that you felt that you were for more capable then? I think that most of us would balk at the idea and say that since we know our worth that we aren’t going to put up with this kind of humiliation and disrespect. Well, Allen Iverson felt that he knew his worth and wasn’t going to be humiliated by being asked to come off the bench and even if he did for a short period of time, he wasn’t going to do it smiling.
Well, anyway, after being out of the league for a little while, Allen Iverson said that he just wanted to play ball and was actually willing to come off of the bench in order to help a team win but there really wasn’t much interest anymore. Iverson was aging, had some off the court issues and it really seemed that the NBA had just moved on. As an Iverson fan, I was outraged by the treatment of a legend and to some degree, I still am. I really just didn’t see why Allen Iverson wasn’t getting a real opportunity to be great again.
All of this happened several years ago, and since then I have had a lot of time to think about it and I think that Allen’s problem is that he didn’t know the difference between settling and giving up. Settling is when you take what is in front of you so that you can keep going down the path that leads to your ultimate goal while giving up is doing something that takes you off of the path completely. See, if Allen would have just come off the bench with a great attitude and a big smile on his face, he would have been one sprained ankle, torn ACL or bad shooting slump away from being a starter in the NBA once again. The truth is that every year several players have season ending injuries or just get benched for one reason or another so the odds were actually in Allen’s favor that he would get a chance to be a starter once again. Even if none of those things happened, just by playing well off the bench and showing how much of a team player he was, Iverson could have impressed another team enough for them to make him a starter on their squad.
By the time Iverson was willing to accept his new reality, the opportunity was gone. The thing about life is that the opportunities that are right in front of you will quickly become the opportunities that are behind you. Since most people refuse to settle for what is actually available, they won’t accept something until it has become far out of their reach. When Iverson was willing to accept coming off the bench, that opportunity wasn’t available for him anymore and was probably much farther away than being a starter had been before.
Now, before you judge Iverson as being silly, stubborn or self-destructive, think about all of the times that you have passed on things that could have been beneficial to you in the long run because they were not exactly what you wanted in the moment? It is almost second nature for us to be self-destructive when it comes to taking things that are right in front of us and using them to do better instead of just walking away with nothing.
I believe that this happens for two reasons: one, we care what others think and two, we don’t really believe that we can succeed. Of course Iverson could have sat on the bench and probably got an opportunity to start again but he didn’t want people to see him as washed up or not good enough to start. Obviously, being on a team gives a person a way better shot at starting than not being in the league at all but what will others think if they see a superstar on the bench.
A lot of us make these kinds of decisions for the exact same reasons. Sure you are more likely to get married if you stay together but what will your friends and family think if you stay with someone for 6 years without being married? Sure you are more likely to pass your classes in community college but what would your friends think if you didn’t go to that big university right out of high school? A lot of decisions aren’t really made because they seem the best as much as they seem to be the most acceptable to those that we care about.
Nobody wants to feel like they are falling behind or are achieving less than the people around them so sometimes it is easier to be seen doing nothing than to be seen doing something that doesn’t make you look like the most successful person in your circle. This is why people buy cars and houses that they can’t afford and strain their families to the point of breaking apart. We are human so we care what other humans think but at some point that has to come second to your long term goals.
Most of the time we would take the temporary humiliation if we really believed that it was temporary but most of the time we don’t. The truth is that if people really believed in themselves, they wouldn’t be afraid to take whatever keeps them on the path to success. If you really believed that you could get that promotion, there is no way that you would quit the job and if you really believed that your current relationship was going to be your chance at real happiness, you wouldn’t walk away from that either. People don’t really believe that their dreams are going to come true so they do everything in their power to make it look like their dreams are already coming true hoping that no one can tell the difference.
Settling isn’t about giving up or remaining stagnant, it’s about putting yourself in a position to move forward. I would never tell anyone to give up or to take less than what is available to them but I would tell everyone to find something that you can get now that will help you to get what you really want in the future and to do so no matter what anyone else thinks.
Settling for Success
Taking What You Can Get to Get What You Want
As you may already know, I have been helping people on YouTube for 5 years with my channel called askchazzellis. I love helping people find their purpose and their happiness through truth and self-reflection. One of the biggest things that I have noticed while helping others is that most of us seem to think that life is all or nothing and “settling” for what is right in front of you is a negative thing. I see this attitude cost people several opportunities that could really help them move forward in their lives. I am writing this book to help people learn the difference between settling and giving up and to give them the strength to use where they are to get where they ultimately want to be. If you can’t enjoy the process, you will be miserable with any results. I am using GoFundMe as an opportunity for supporters of askchazzellis to get the book early and at a great discount. Simply donate $10.00 and your reward will be an early digital copy of the book. If you would like to donate more to support the project and ensure its success that would be greatly appreciated. Get this book, make a donation, or both!