5 Signs That You Have Settled

“Don’t settle”. These are the words from Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech that echo in my mind long after first having watched the video.

Have you settled for second best (or worse) in life?

This can be a difficult question to answer, as no one really wants to think that they have settled. I am a big believer, though, that being truthful with yourself opens the door to change. But even then, what if you don’t know or are unsure if you have settled? The following are 5 signs that may indicate that you have settled, whether it is in a relationship, a job, or some other way in life.

1. You Wish The Time Away

Can’t wait until your lunch break? For work to finish? The weekend? If this is you, it is a probably a sign that you are bored with your present situation. If you love what you do, you don’t wish time away. If anything, you wish you had more time to get everything done.

2. You Find It Hard to Wake Up in the Morning

If you are chasing your dreams, waking up in the morning should be fairly easy. Why? Because you look forward to the day ahead. You are excited about the unlimited possibilities a new day brings. If all you want to do if go back to sleep when your alarm goes off, it could mean that you are settling for less than your true potential (or, of course, you may just have had a big night).

3. You Dream of a Completely Different Life

When you allow your thoughts to drift off, do they ever arrive at a future completely different than your current reality? On the one hand, this may be a completely natural and insignificant experience. But on the other, our subconscious thoughts can often reveal what our hearts truly desire.

4. You Often Get Jealous

Do you ever find yourself getting jealous with what another person has? Perhaps you say to yourself, “I wish I had his car/ job/ partner/ etc”. Now, there is nothing wrong with striving to attain the nice things in life. But if you find yourself wishing you were living someone else’s life, it is not a good sign. Those who chase their dreams and haven’t settled don’t necessarily have everything they want yet. The difference is that they just get on with doing what needs to be done.

5. You Constantly Feel the Need to Escape

Alcohol, drugs, video games, television, and movies. These are all modes of escapism that many people turn to. And just to be clear here, I’m not necessarily saying there is anything wrong with any of these. But if you are filling much of your free time with these activities, you may want to consider just what is it you are trying to escape from.

So all this begs the question: what do I do if I have settled? As Steve Jobs said in the same speech: “if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking…. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Peter writes about how to enjoy life at The Change Blog. If you enjoyed this article, you may wish to download his free e-book, A Year of Change.

28 Responses to 5 Signs That You Have Settled

  1. Nothingman says:

    video games are not a means of escape…

  2. Great reminder for all of us Peter!

    I use the phrase “life is too short for this” as part of my daily decision-making process to ensure that I’m not settling.

    If something is causing me some degree of stress, frustration, anger, anxiety – or ANY other negative emotion, I simply ask myself: “Is life too short for this?”

  3. “Do you ever find yourself getting jealous with what another person has?”

    The two weakest emotions are jealousy and envy.

    Everyone just remember, being jealous or envious of someone gives that person control over you. Be accountable for yourself-you are not responsible for others.

  4. etavitom says:

    thanks so much for the great post! we must never settle and always raise our standards….

  5. sir jorge says:

    Never settle?

    Tell that to the financial people who I now have to pay back for the education that I took to get a degree.

  6. kishore says:

    Hi Peter,
    probably u have touched the right string of my life
    The Current scenario just ran through my mind when i was reading your article…..
    i feel like i am trapped and my energy is burning my desires and my desires are bouncing back to ground after hitting a glass ceiling.
    Still i haven’t gave up but looking for i don’t know what
    but if this continue then i am afraid that it will create problem for me. I wont like the stuff i am doing right now and even will suffer from unlimited jealousy and unfulfilled desires.

  7. marc says:

    At one point or another in life, and in many different areas, people settle. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. The motivational stuff is what keeps people going until they die.

  8. Sandeep Goswami says:

    Great Article…thanks for such a great post!

  9. Seeker says:

    Peter, Good Article. Personally, I would prefer if you call this articles ‘Signs that your life needs change’. For me, being settled also has positive connotations like enjoying your life at the moment, liking everything about it and not wanting to be in a different place or life.
    That said, I understand that the meaning of the word in the context of this article is very different. Great tips and I’m sure they will help many of us,

    My Positivity Blog

  10. The most important thing is for us all to keep looking. It’s like Success Built to Last says:

    “All you have is your personal capital; your talents, skills, relationships, and enthusiasm. Cultivate your capacity to be fully alive in your work because doing something that matters is a dream worth your life.”

    Keep it up!

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  12. Frances says:

    This post hit me hard. I have several of these signs. I have spent 25 years at a large cooperation and I have worked my way up from the bottom to a professional mid-management position. I was raised this way, that hard work was the key to success. But, I find that I do not have whatever it takes to get to the next level or to be satisfied with where I am. I plan to go for early retirement in 2 years. This post made me realize that no matter the training I go for, that I got an extra degree, how good my attitude or how much positive thinking I manufacture, I just have to face it that I do not like my job. That is REALITY! Also, hard work does not necessarily equal success. The message here is that unless you enjoy your job, you will not succeed. Don’t settle, find a way to make your dreams come true. The sad thing is that 25 years ago, I thought the road I choose would lead to my dream. I can concentrate on making it happen, NOW!

  13. tracy ho says:

    Great post, will take note

    To your success in advance,
    Tracy Ho

  14. Abdullah says:

    Great post! You really made me thinking about my career. I’m currently in 12th grade and a science student. But, I will go for a degree in accounting and finannce. I now wonder that will it best suit my personality or is it just money that is taking me there? I’ll be grateful if anyone of you suggest me some thing that can help me in determining my interests. Any online quiz?

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  16. Nv says:

    Hi, you say “So all this begs the question: what do I do if I have settled?”

    You are misusing the phrase “to beg the question”.

    Pls see here:

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  18. 11/10 says:

    @Nothingman Video games ARE a means of escape, trust me, I’m hooked.

  19. Alex Meare says:

    As much truth as your post has, it stares a problem right in the face and gives no solutions or follow up. Have you settled? Here are the signs, you are sunk.

    The only things that someone can take away from this are either 1) I have settled boo on me or 2) I haven’t settled look how good I am. You offer a platitude and misuse a common saying (I bet you tow the line all the time).

    I could have blogged 5 reasons to know that you suck, (if you are smelly, dirty, have no friends, are poor, and nobody likes you) and told people at the end that they should seek to improve themselves, like say, Steve Jobs and they would get about as much from it.

    Also there is nothing conclusive about almost anything you post. You generalize and I’m really not willing to go to lengths with this comment to tell you all the different ways that each point is obvious, moot, or wrong.


    We don’t know our subconscious thoughts:
    sub (under/beneath) conscious (awareness)

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  23. Tavya says:

    I’m guessing you have never played a role playing game such as World of Warcraft.

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