Compound Settling

In Bronnie Ware’s book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” you’ll find the following:

“MOST PEOPLE HAD NOT HONORED
EVEN A HALF OF THEIR DREAMS AND
HAD TO DIE KNOWING IT WAS DUE TO
CHOICES THEY MADE, OR NOT MADE.”

This sentence had a profound impact on me because I realized I haven’t honored my dreams and could possibly die knowing this was because of choices I made throughout my life.

Since reading this and thinking about it, I’ve come to the conclusion we don’t honor our dreams because we “settle.”

Here’s the definition of settling: Adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in permanent job and home. “One day I will settle down and raise a family.”

We settle every time we let go of something we want in life. We settle when…

  • We choose to compromise with others
  • We choose to give up
  • We choose to quit
  • When we stop pursuing our dreams

Settling always leads to regret later in life.

Here’s my version of her quote…

“MOST PEOPLE SETTLED AND HAVE
TO DIE KNOWING THEY NEVER
LIVED THEIR DREAMS.”

After reading Ware’s quote, I made a list of the dreams I’ve let go in my life. I felt regret over each and every one. I couldn’t imagine the regret I would feel later in life after allowing my settling to compound over decades.

It seems that when we settle on one thing, it sets us up to settle on a second thing. Then we settle on a third thing. Settling becomes a habit. A habit we’ll surely regret.

So from this point forward, I will NEVER settle. I will NEVER give up on my dreams. I will NEVER compromise away what I want in life.

In your life, what dreams have you let go? Where have you settled? Do you feel regret?

This may be your chance to fix this.

We have the ability right now to say “Fuck Settling.”
We have the ability right now to unsettle.
We have the ability to not give up on our dreams.
We have the ability to eliminate future regrets.

Here’s what I’ve finally realized…

WE SETTLE BECAUSE
WE’RE AFRAID OF FAILING.

This fear of failure holds us back in our lives. We don’t want to fail, so we don’t take any risks. We settle instead.

Staying Safe = Limited Life

To live a life of no regrets, we have to take big calculated risks.

Think about every great fighter, coach, team, athlete, artist, or entrepreneur… did they take risks? Hell yes, they did!

How much risk do you have to take to step into the ring for a title fight?

How much risk do you have to take to play in a national football championship?

How much risk do you have to take to step on the stage by yourself to sing in front of millions of people?

How much risk do you have to take to build Amazon, Apple or Berkshire Hathaway?

In every example, there is a significant risk of failure. Each person you thought about took the risk anyhow. They didn’t settle.

Here’s the real deal:

We don’t take risks because of this fear of failure. The
crazy part is that failure is valuable. It’s important
because it makes us smarter, stronger and better. We
learn very valuable lessons from each failure.

Check out the first few minutes of this video:


Within the first minute of this older interview with Nick Saban, who is probably the best college football coach in history, you’ll hear something extremely valuable.

He was being interviewed after winning the 2018 National Championship. during the the interview he was asked about their 2017 championship loss to Clemson when he said:

“Never Waste A Failing.

The team’s motto for their 2018 season was to not waste their championship failure in 2017. I have a feeling they have the same motto this year after losing the championship to Clemson this past year.

Think about the choice of words he used: “waste a failing.” When the average person uses the these words, they’ll typically say something like:

“I don’t want to waste my time.”
“I don’t want to waste my money.”
“I don’t want to waste my college education.”
“I don’t want to waste my calories.”
“I don’t want to waste this opportunity.”

The idea is that we don’t want to waste something that is important to us. Something we actually want more of.

The way Saban used the words “waste a failure” shows us that he believes failure is extremely valuable. Failure is important. Failure is something we might actually want more of. Failure is something we shouldn’t let slip through our fingers.

We should use this valuable experience to our advantage. Just like we should use our time, our money, our college education and great opportunities to our advantage.

This is so damn powerful.

It suggests that there is value in pursuing risky goals. It suggests that we really only fail when we don’t try. When we settle. When we avoid or waste a failure.