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.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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