Why Are You Settling For Second Best?

There was uproar in the office yesterday when ‘Fast’ Eddie, my colleague and proprietor of our charity tuck shop, returned from his lunch break with fresh supplies for the ravenous hordes I like to call ‘the team’. Tayto Cheese & Onion Crisps? Check. Double Decker chocolate bars? Double Check. But most importantly, cans of Diet Coke? Er….no. He produced a box of Pepsi Max and, looking very pleased with himself, announced that it had been offer and was too good an opportunity to miss out on.

Now call me a prima donna (and nobody wants to see these legs in a tutu) but I was at a very delicate stage of writing a complex, sensitive report that required total focus and concentration. In order to drag it kicking and screaming over the finish line I needed Diet Coke and lots of it. What was this Pepsi Max madness? I cautiously circled the office fridge, inspecting its contents dubiously while berating ‘Fast’ Eddie for his utter lack of respect for moi, his most loyal customer.

‘Doesn’t it all taste the same?’ was his response. It was like a red rag to a bull for a Coca-Cola connoisseur such as yours truly. ‘No it most certainly does not’ I spluttered in disbelief. ‘It’s like giving a new born mother somebody else’s child and saying It’s a baby. They all look the same anyway’. An uneasy ceasefire settled across the office interrupted by occasional sarcastic exchanges and thinly veiled threats to withdraw my custom from his business empire.

I mulled my options over. While I can quite happily run ten miles on my lunch break I am much too lazy to walk the five minutes it takes to go around the corner to the nearest shop to buy my own supplies. Plus it was now a matter of principle. To back down would be a sign of weakness and my principled stance would be in tatters. I decided to tough it out for the afternoon and settled down to scale the north west face of the report from Hell sans my favourite beverage.

This resilience lasted approximately 23 minutes before I cracked, flounced to the fridge and admitted defeat. As a decidedly smug ‘Fast’ Eddie looked on I flung open the fridge door and removed a can of this ever so second rate substitute. I opened it and took a very reluctant swig before retiring sheepishly to my desk. I spent the remainder of the afternoon sulking at my work station, only occasionally raising my head to mutter ‘It doesn’t taste the same’ and ‘This had better be a one-off.’

I had settled for second best. I wasn’t prepared to go the extra mile (or 100 yards in this case) to get what I truly wanted. I caved in and opted for the easier, less demanding option. The comfort zone of a spacious, air conditioned office tool precedence over trudging through the mean streets of Belfast in order to satiate my aspartame addiction. ‘Fast’ Eddie claimed the moral ground and the office hyenas roared their approval.

I have spent most of my life settling for second best. Traveling the safer, more well worn path as opposed to taking a risk and pursuing my dreams. My family deserve better than that. Heck, I deserve better than that. We get one chance and it is only this late in the day that I’m finally realising that. It involves a lot more hard work on my part but isn’t that what makes it all so worthwhile in the end?

This morning my on call week ends and the weekend begins. Fionnuala and the kids are picking me up after work and we are going to spend the evening at the seaside before watching a blood red moon set over the horizon. The old Stephen would have turned his nose up at this in the past as it would have eaten into his precious beer drinking time. But that was then and this is now. Why settle for less when what you really want is more?

I’m off to work now. But I’m stopping en route to purchase my Diet Coke supplies for the day.

Have you been settling for second best?

What path are you traveling at the moment?

What is holding you back from seeking a better life?

17 thoughts on “Why Are You Settling For Second Best?

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  1. I love your sense of humour in your write ups. There is a great message here Stephen. I have had times when I settled for less mainly as a result of fear of failure. I don’t know how to drive. I never bothered to take the test because I didn’t want to fail. Silly right? I recently overcame this mindset and I have decided to start learning. This is a post I think many will be able to relate to. As for Coca Cola and Pepsi Max, ermmm I don’t do any😄

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Serious issues in a hilarious disguise love that 😀 For me, should I drink cola (which I normally don’t) it would absolutely be Pepsi Max. But you’re right, they do not taste the same. And the analogy to babies was perfect :’D

    Good questions you’re asking. Answering them would take me into depths of… well, at the moment I don’t want to know. Last night was depressing enough already 😀

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Greetings from Finland 🙂

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  3. Very funny, sounds like a fun office, and good, but difficult point about settling in life. I prefer Coke Zero. I was pissed when they recently changed the name to Coke ZERO SUGAR and changed the formula. I tried switching to Mountain Dew, but like a typical addict, I am back on the Zero. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to it because my nose starts running after I drink a bottle. I was on vacation ( do you call it holiday?) last week. I was willing to eat whatever food my sister fed me but I had to make a point to grab a six-pack of Coke Zero when we stopped at a store. She is on the Keto diet and barely eats at all ! I was able to survive on CZ and Clif protein bars. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog about it soon. Just having trouble getting my thoughts in order as I wish I was still in the mountains and not here in Texas. Hard to know what is settling, and what is obeying God. Sorry for long comment! I guess you struck a nerve. 😉 maybe it’s time to blog.

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  4. I really like how you compare setting for a yucky Pepsi to what you really want. I see people settle for less all the time and it drives me crazy. If you want a coke get a coke or at least that is what I tell them. ☺

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  5. Coke and Pepsi definitely do not taste the same. I prefer Coke, myself. Pepsi has a sweeter taste. However, like you, I have settled for Pepsi in the past. But like you said, why settle for second best? I’m going that extra mile to get what I really want!

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  6. You know. I might be very wrong. I thought about your piece. I think we settle for not the best because we cant fight everywhere, atleast thats the subconscious mentality. But you are right when something becomes a priority such that it feels like we regret not having it, we should strive for the best, in the best way of ours.
    Thanks for the post.

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  7. The short answer is we settle because we don’t feel we deserve the “good” stuff – be it family, or the appropriate cola beverage or the job we want. Some of it is that immediate gratification – but mostly, I feel like we’re told to take what we get and suck it up.

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  8. The minutiae of life steer me away from what is best and leave me with second best. But I try to recognize when that’s happening and correct my path. Coke over Pepsi every time, diet or not, by the way.😊

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  9. This is something I have always stressed to my children, “Never settle for second.”
    I have settled for second my whole life. I thought I was never good enough to place first. I was good enough. I just didn’t try. This was a huge mistake on my part.

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  10. Of course the Diet Coke is first-best in life. 🙂
    One of the Life Lessons I teach my kids is “Never underestimate the power of convenience.” I use it when we wonder at the hedonistic products for sale, the profitability of a more expensive store that is closer, etc. I’m trying to teach them to NOT be slaves to convenience yet to market to that tendency in other people, but you’re right in that we all choose the lazier option quite often.

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  11. Cole and Pepsi don’t taste the same and I don’t even drink them but my man is a die hard Coca-Cola lover. However, don’t they all do the same thing? which is to deliver a caffeinated buzz?

    Have I been settling for second best? Yes.

    What path am I traveling at the moment? a path that I’d like to change and get off from treading

    What is holding me back from seeking a better life? Oh boy, that would hijack this thread. That’s a whole ‘nother post!

    Hope you all enjoyed the eclipse

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    1. I’ll take Pepsi if there is nothing else but it doesn’t give me the same buzz as an ice cold Diet Coke. I’ve been addicted to them since I started drinking it during my final year at university. You deserve the very best and I hope you find it. And soon.

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