October 16


The 5 Dangers of Settling for the Ordinary

By Harry Heijligers

October 16, 2021

Every day we set out to make our mark on the world.

We want to be that person that inspires others and makes a difference in their life.

But one day... suddenly, we realize that we are at a point in our work where we're content and happy with what we do.

Maybe you are pleased.

Or maybe you only think that you are happy. But actually, you are fearing that this is as good as it gets. You are stuck. And to cope with the situation, you settle.

You settle for the ordinary.
You settle for mediocrity.
Afraid to take risks.
You're afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone.

While this might feel okay...
...there are actually 5 dangers of settling for the ordinary!

In this article, I will tell you these dangers.


Why you want to leave your comfort zone.

Before I tell you about the 5 dangers of setting for the ordinary...

...a quick reminder of why it's so important to step out of your comfort zone.

We all have a comfort zone...
but we keep ourselves in it!


It's because we feel safe there.

We know what to expect from a given situation and what to do to handle it. We know what will happen if we take a risk or two. We also know what will happen if we don't take a chance.

We all want to stay safe in our comfort zone. And it isn't even your fault. It's your reptilian brain!

We might be in one place right now.

And we can't go beyond it because we feel like we don't have the skills to make the leap.

Or because it's such a giant leap that we can't take it.

Or, like in many cases, maybe you realize that you're in a negative spiral and, once you start settling for the ordinary, there is no way out.

But you know what?
It is all up to you.
It is in your hands.

You can choose to take steps that will push you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.

The world that you only dreamt of...
or maybe something even more impressive.

Many people are not willing or able to make this decision.

They are too afraid.
Too insecure.
Too fond of the familiar.

So, no.
It's not for everyone.

But maybe it's for you?
But wait...
don't decide yet!

Let me first tell you what you miss out on if you settle for the ordinary:

The 5 Dangers of Settling for the Ordinary quote

Missing out on really getting to know yourself

When you settle for the ordinary, there is no questioning of your abilities. You won't find out what you are capable of accomplishing.

For instance, you set out to be a great musician.
You feel that you are not talented enough.
You settle for just be okay. Or maybe you even quit.
And then you are okay with that.

Now, you will never figure out if there's an aspect of your life that you can work on to be more successful! You will never know if you have a musician in you.

Missing out on joy, excitement, and a sense of accomplishment

If you settle for the ordinary, you will miss out on the joy, excitement, and sense of accomplishment that comes with striving to do more than you have ever done before.

For instance, maybe you're okay with just being okay in music.
But if you had pushed yourself, you could have been excellent.
And this would have given you great pleasure.
Fantastic opportunities to meet other great musicians.
You could have felt so proud of yourself!

Yes, there might be times in life where things turn out to be good. But how often do they knock your socks off? When you settle for the ordinary, these moments are lost on you.

Missing out on the opportunity to leave a legacy

When you settle for the ordinary, you will lose the ability to leave behind something for your children and grandchildren to be proud of. To savor moments in time that will last generations.

For instance...
maybe you are in the entertainment business. But if you settle for just being okay when you could have been excellent...
you will never leave a legacy. Your work will be forgotten in time.

Yes, some people leave a legacy behind no matter what they do. But how many of those people were really exceptional? And how many made it as a direct result of doing what they loved?

Missing out on the beautiful feeling of feeling competent in what you do

If you settle for the ordinary, you will never know how it feels to be competent at what you do. Nor will you ever enjoy the fulfillment that comes with doing well at something difficult or that takes a great deal of effort.

For instance...
You settle for being average or even a little below average!
You think that's good enough.
What if there was more?
What if you could be exceptional?
What would it feel like to be competent at something?

Some people feel competent at their work. And they are very good at it, too. But then many feel like they can't do it very well. And the feeling is mutual.

Missing out on the pride of helping others

If you settle for the ordinary, you will never know what it feels like to help someone do something they couldn't have done without your help.
In fact, most of your giving will go unnoticed and unappreciated.

For instance, you have never developed your musical talent because you settled for the ordinary. But now you are not able to your kids or all those other kids who love music. You can't share the joy of music with them because you are not good at it!

How sad, isn't it?

Indeed, many gifted people share their gifts with the world. And they make a difference in someone else's life. But every moment that you settle for the ordinary is a moment that you miss out on the joy that comes with helping others.


Now, when I tell you about these dangers...
I'm not suggesting that you settle for the ordinary.

I'm saying that if you are willing to put your best foot forward in everything you do...
If you are willing to put in the extra effort...
and work on things that will make a real difference in your life...
and start doing things that are different from the average...
and step out of your comfort zone...
then you will understand what it feels like to be competent in your work, in your place in the world.

You will be able to leave behind something for your children and grandchildren to be proud of.

You will be able to savor moments in time that will last generations.

So, back to my original question for you:

Is stepping out of your comfort zone...
refusing to settle for the ordinary...
is that something for you?

Let me know in the comments below!

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here: HarryHeijligers.com.
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

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