Don’t Settle

“Don’t settle!”

I loved it when I first heard the speech of Steve Jobs during the graduation rites at Stanford University in 2005. It’s because I adhere to the principles he mentioned, particularly this one about not settling.

What does “don’t settle” really mean? It means you will not accept something that is less than what you want. A very common Filipino expression is  the “puede na” mentality, which accepts something that is knowingly mediocre. Somehow, this does not appeal to me as a standard way of doing things, of living my life.

But let’s face it, to not settle in all aspects of life all the time can be quite a challenge! I think this is even the basis of the have-it-all illusion that we propagate to others. Remember that sometimes, we let go of our usual standards on something not because we are less than the next person, but because that thing is not as important to us.

So how do we balance between not settling and not being exhausted? In my experience, I choose what is important to me. Let me share with you some of these chosen fields – the fields in which I don’t settle for anything less.

  1. Marriage

To me, this is the most important contract I’ve ever signed up for in my life! Early on, I’ve always known that I wanted to have a great marriage and that I was willing to give it my best shot to make it work.

I remember a conversation I had with my husband Marvin in the early part of our marriage, he said, “Hon, don’t expect that we’d always be so in love as we are now ha? I just don’t want you to be disappointed.” But I countered him with, “But do you want us to become less loving in the future? I want us to be this in love, if not more, when we’re old and gray.” I was not referring to us always being on cloud 9, but I was referring to the quality of our relationship. We had an interesting discussion that led to an agreement that we could actually not settle for what is “normal” or what he was expecting to be normal at that time. And we knew that this kind of relationship was not something we could get overnight. It was something that we had to work on and take seriously yet with a big dose of humor, and respect.

Fortunately, after 25 years, we still profess to each other a love deeper and stronger than it was in the beginning, driven by the same (if not more) dose of romance, which we consciously and regularly put in our day-to-day encounters. It has not always been easy, but it has always been worth it. It has not been that difficult either, because the love has been there in the first place.

To all couples out there– if you want a happily ever after, don’t settle!

  1. Parenting

Bringing a child to this world is the most serious endeavor a person could ever get into. If you choose to bring a life into this world, you better make sure you’re bringing someone who will make this world a better place. You have to be fair to the child you’re giving life to and the people he/she will affect in the future so, for me, parenting is something to be taken seriously.

My heart bleeds when I see street children begging for food and I can’t help but hate the people who brought them to life for neglecting their serious and even divine obligation. This is one of the reasons why I forego my investment banking career. Bringing up a person involves constant presence of care and attention. It so happened that my job then, which I enjoyed and was proud of, didn’t allow me to be with them in a meaningful way on a daily basis. I decided then that I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best parenting I could give. Despite all the sacrifices and what-ifs, I celebrated that decision of not settling on my parenting as I saw my children growing up. I can’t help but feel that they are not just God’s best gifts to us as parents, but also our best gifts to this world!

  1. Self-development

My original vision of myself was that of a successful career woman, but then parenting made me take a detour. Nonetheless, I made sure I didn’t settle for a less version of me. I continued to read and attend workshops. I even studied Art and Photography. I avoided teleseryes so as not to be melodramatic. I vowed to be a student of life. I continued to keep that vision of a great person even without an impressive calling card– and it has been fun! Today, I find myself busy with advocacies that allow me to affect others by sharing what I know and in the process, allow me to continue developing as a person. Isn’t that great?

So the next time you find yourself settling for something less than what you want, ask yourself: “Does this mean a lot to me? Does it stay true to my core values?” If the answer is yes, then don’t settle. Keep searching, keep doing more until you achieve what you really want. You will know. Your heart will tell you.

About the Contributor

Rose Fres Fausto graduated with honors with a degree in A.B. Economics from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1985. Soon after that, she joined Far East Bank & Trust Company as a Credit Analyst. She moved to the investment banking arm of the group, FEB Investments, Inc., and later on All Asia Capital & Trust Company where she was an Assistant Vice President for Corporate Finance. She also had a stint as a Financial Consultant in a USAID project on renewable energy.

With young kids to take care of, she decided to give up her promising career in investment banking to devote her focused and undivided attention to the growing up years of her sons. Currently, she’s a best selling author of books entitled Raising Pinoy Boys, The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon and its Filipino ver`sion Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. She’s also a columnist at PhilStar.com where she writes about Raising Children With High FQ. Her websites are RaisingPinoyBoys.com and FQMom.com where she talks about FQ (Financial Intelligence Quotient), parenting, relationships, Behavioral Economics, womanhood and other matters. This website is not just for FQ Moms but also for FQ Dads, Dudes and Dudettes!

Rose was the Grand Prize Winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Award in December 2014 given by Sun Life.

With the success of her books, columns and websites, Rose is now a sought after speaker and resource person on the topics of parenting, personal finance, woman issues, Behavioral Economics, having guested in various radio and tv shows and important events in schools, offices, financial institutions and other civic organizations. She is also a Strengths Coach certified by Gallup, Inc., an internationally known management and consulting firm.

You can follow her on FB and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter and Instagram @TheFQMom. Send her an email at Rose@FQMom.com or FQMomm@gmail.com.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

See all of Rose Fres Fausto's posts →

Photo by Monique Paca. For more of her photography and adventures, visit her Instagram.

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