At some point, most of us end up settling in a major part of our life. We compromise and make tradeoffs.
We can’t always get everything we want, of course. We can’t always be in total control. But we can certainly get a lot of what we want, and if we prioritize what’s most important to us, we can probably get the top things on the list.
Just because we can’t always be in control doesn’t mean that we’re never in control.
This truth presents a natural question: when should we compromise, and when should we hold our ground and keep fighting for what we really want?
When you encounter a situation in which you need to choose between compromise and holding firm, it might help to think about a different question:
“Do you need it, or do you just want it?”
Being able to separate needs and wants is essential. Never let go of something you truly need, but be more flexible on the things that you want.
If you’re choosing your battles, don’t miss the forest for the trees. Don’t give up a third of your life by working a dead-end job that you hate. Don’t abandon your dreams, especially if they’ve stayed with you a long time and you can’t stop thinking about them. If you need something, fight for it.
For everything else, let go a little. Make tradeoffs, compromise, let go.
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do.
Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.
Image courtesy of Cristina Gottardi.