Defaulting is when you are doing an all-nighter because you put off building the presentation. Defaulting is working a job you hate because you never went to school to be an engineer like you always wanted. Defaulting is working paycheck to paycheck because you didn’t have the guts to open the hip new deli you dreamed of running. Defaulting is creating a “quarter end deal” to make your numbers because you didn’t get enough in the pipeline earlier in the quarter. Defaulting is when we settle. Defaulting is what we do, when we aren’t doing what we want to do. Defaulting is what’s left after we make decisions that don’t align with what we want.
Don’t mistake defaulting for not having a choice. We do, the problem is when we are defaulting the choices we have, the choices that are best are no longer available. Defaulting is the bottom of the barrel of choices. We choose when we are defaulting. It’s just the choices suck.
We are all guilty of defaulting. We don’t live life perfect. We make mistakes. We get lazy. We think we know what we want at the time only to find out we were defaulting. We convince ourselves we aren’t defaulting, only delaying the default life. We can’t avoid defaulting. It’s unrealistic. The goal is to minimize defaulting, to keep the defaults to the little things, to recognize we are defaulting early and course correct quickly.
The kryptonite to defaulting is being deliberate. It’s how we course correct. Being deliberate in our choices, our objectives, our goals, and our actions leaves little room for defaulting. Defaulting only happens when we are lazy. When we aren’t deliberate, defaulting springs up looking to assert itself. When we ignore those things happening around us and to us defaulting springs into action. Defaulting is a soothing alternative to being deliberate. Defaulting says; “Hey, don’t worry, I got it. You don’t have to do anything. Just go on cruise control. I got the reigns and everything will be OK.” The problem is, the only thing defaulting does is allows us to avoid the decision. It gives us a pass on owning our choices. It doesn’t rescue us from the consequences. It doesn’t get us where we really want to go. Defaulting is selfish, promising the world only to satisfy it’s immediate desire to avoid pain and not deal with the real issues and challenges. Defaulting is a drug, delivering short-term gain for long-term pain.
Too often we get hooked on defaulting. It feels good. It’s comforting. Don’t be fooled. The high will wear off soon. And when it does, it isn’t pretty. Be deliberate, it’s the only methadone for defaulting.