Life is a compromise – we all know that – no one gets everything they want (sorry to disappoint you, idealists, out there). I, for one, want to compromise the least and have the fewest regrets about the compromises I make. What is my strategy?
Make smart, well informed, well thought out decisions, considering all the facts as I know them and anticipating the consequences of each option. A principle I apply that impacts consequences is the minimum you accept is the maximum you get. This suggests that where you compromise in life, whatever level or amount, quantity or quality you settle for, life rarely comes along and gives you more.
- If you’re satisfied with a C in class, that’s probably the highest grade you’ll receive.
- If you’re ok with living paycheck to paycheck, financial freedom is unrealistic.
- If you settle for the ease of living an unhealthy life, pain-free longevity is a long shot.
- If you’re accepting of a good relationship, don’t expect that one day it will become great.
Why? The answer is simple. When you settle, you don’t do the things necessary to get more.
So, if life rarely gives you more than you are satisfied with, what do you compromise on? Things I do my best to not compromise on are the things that are most important to me. Things that:
- if they were increased or added to my life, I would be happy and excited,
- if they were reduced or taken away, I would be upset and disappointed.
Jim Collins wrote the book Good To Great. On the first page, he wrote, “Good is the enemy of great and that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools primarily because we have good schools. We don’t have great government primarily because we have good government. Few people attain great lives in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
I’m not suggesting you should settle for nothing less than a great life – that is your decision. What I am suggesting is certain things are important to you, and you might want to think seriously about where you set the minimum acceptance level in those areas.
When I sit at the table of life to cash my chips in for the last time, I want to be at peace that I created a life that led to the fewest regrets.
I take into account that priorities change over a lifetime, and adjust my strategy accordingly. I identify, every so often, the things that are really important to me, and do my best to settle the least in those areas.
What is most important to YOU today? Is it time you revisited that question?
The minimum you accept is the maximum you get – considering it will help you make better decisions that lead to fewer regrets.