To settle is to accept the status quo; to accept things the way they are. It is to have ‘Que Sera, Sera’ (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) attitude to life. Settling is the mentality of non-achievers. People that think settling don’t take responsibility for their lives, they simply take whatever comes.
The reason having a settling mindset is an anomaly is because it negates the fundamental attribute of the universe, which is change. Everything in life is subject to change; even the planet we live on is changing as a result of its constant rotation and revolution. Choosing to settle in a world that is constantly changing is ridiculous.
Why people settle
During his visit to my home country in April 2012, Dr. Farrah Gray, the prodigious young millionaire from the United States of America, asked the audience, “Do dogs like bones?” Some people answered ‘yes’ and others said ‘no’. Dr. Gray eventually said, “Dogs don’t like bones. They like steaks but they settle for bones because that’s what we give them.”
Dr. Martin Seligman, an American psychologist, made a ground breaking discovery with the concept he termed ‘learned helplessness’. The theory of learned helplessness was discovered by accident during Dr. Seligman’s experiments that began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression.
In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape. Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation. Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be impassive and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus.
It’s easy to identify victims of learned helplessness; they are people that have simply given up trying anything new. When you try compelling them to make a change, they will give you a litany of things they have done that have not worked.
People also settle because they find their abode comfortable. That abode could be a job they’ve had for years and the thought of doing something else is unimaginable. In Deuteronomy chapter one verse six, Moses reminded the Israelites, “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain…” This is interesting because Mount Horeb represents the mountain of God. If God told the Israelites to move forward from His Mountain, there’s no reason for you to remain where you’ve always been, no matter how good the place is.
Another reason people settle is what someone called, ‘doomsday thinking’. The mental orientation of people in this category is: The world is going to end soon anyway, what’s the sense in trying? What they don’t realize is that whatever evil is prevalent now has been around for about 6,000 years! Solomon said’ “There’s nothing new under the sun”, especially when it comes to the basic aspects of human existence.
How to unsettle a settling attitude
The cure for a settling attitude is the transformation of one’s mind. Someone said, “Why live but to grow?” Growth is one of the synonyms of change. Growth or change brings along with it temporary discomfort or, better still, pain. However, when you remain committed to your decision to change, the pain soon gives way for excitement and joy.
The prerequisite for growth is to set goals. Goals have the attribute of stretching you and as you achieve your goals, you grow. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Once stretched by a new idea (or a goal), a man’s mind never regains its original dimensions.” Goals build the momentum for growth because the achievement of one goal lays the foundation for setting more goals, which results in growth.
The Christian faith abhors that anyone settles. Apostle Paul was committed to a lifetime of personal growth. In his writing to the Philippians, he said, “…This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward…” (Philippians 3:13). You’ve got to reach forward towards your goal. When you forget the past successes and failures, you build capacity for future success.
To deal with attitude of settling, do something new, if possible, everyday. This may be as simple as taking a different route on your way home. Just try doing something you never did before. You could have it as a goal to talk to someone new every day.
I make every effort not to be a settler because I’ve come to understand that when I embrace change, as painful as it may be, it ultimately brings happiness. The hatred I have for being in a rut makes me think of what I need to change regularly. I made my first major change when I left my first, well-paid job for another job. It happened in the year I received my biggest bonus ever. The main reason I left was because I felt I wasn’t growing. The situation worsened when one day a friend (also a banker) asked me what ‘warehousing finance’ was. I had no clue what he was talking about because the job I was doing didn’t give me that kind of exposure.
Faced with the stark reality of not understanding what ‘warehousing finance’ meant, I thought: “How many other concepts am I unaware of? How can I call myself a banker if I don’t know what my contemporaries know?” With this challenge, receiving two fat bonuses couldn’t keep me on the job. Even though I took a pay cut on the second job, the change I made then has been one of the best decisions of my life. The change reinforced my belief in the ability to make a change when I consider it necessary. This has led to many other critical changes.
Make a lifetime commitment to growth and you will not regret it. I recommend you share this article with your friends and colleagues. You can also tell them to subscribe to receive articles on ‘Personal Development for Significant Living’ through the link http://waleadeniranye.com.
Related topic: http://waleadeniranye.com/how-to-get-what-want/