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Why Settle? -- Writer's Poke #223

Compromise isn't a dirty word. And as I've noted in a previous poke, sometimes "good" is good enough.

So perhaps it's a sign of maturity to accept a life that doesn't meet all of your dreams? Perhaps settling is a sign that you've accepted the reality of life's "wake up call."

And perhaps settling is one of those psychological stages of life. It's been a while since I've studied psychology in any regimented way, but I do recall a stage called "acceptance," and maybe acceptance is a synonym for settle?

Acceptance also indicates an acknowledgment that we're powerless to change our circumstance. It's the last stage before death, for example -- and not just physical, but also mental and spiritual.

But damn it all to hell, I'm not dead yet.

How can you avoid settling for less than what you need?

"Once we accept our limitations, we go beyond them." -- Brendan Francis


  1. Again, let me say that I like (some of) your thinking. When is "good" not enough? It is not good enough if you can do better with reasonable time and effort. It, like many other things, depends on the cost benefit analysis. Suppose that you have a heart attack. Is a treatment which has a 50% success rate "good enough" if one exists at about the same cost in any metric, but has a success rate of 95%? Is "good" enough? Should we settle (your word?) for even 95% or should we never lose sight of the possibility of gaining a few more per cent given benefits commensurate with the cost?

    "Damn it to hell"? I take it that is a rhetorical expression, since you mention "hell" (Smile)Does that strengthen the argument or is it simply enforcing the idea that "good enough" language precludes the need for a better means of expression? Or is it merely an example of widening the audience for your writing? (Smile)

  2. How can you avoid settling for less than you need? Hmmm. Define "Need". Maybe what you (generic you) truly need less than you currently perceive. Perhaps indeed it is not that you do not need what you think you need, but it is that you need not to have what think you need. If you find that in fact you "need" something then simply refuse to "settle" for not having it. Persevere. Most things do not drop off of trees. Most things come a little at a time, not all at once.

    If people had always been satisfied with "good enough", of course there would have been no "human progress". What was "good enough" for the first bipedal mammals currently recognized as modern human beings? Much less than we accept as barely "good enough". From whence came progress? Fortuitous circumstance, apparent error with fortuitous results, accidentally noticed, planned experimentation, and much perseverance.

  3. "Once we accept our limitations, we go beyond them." -- Brendan Francis

    Sorry, I failed to notice that you had answered your own question.


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