our parents taught us to strive for the best, to expect the best, to accept only the best. when we came home from primary school with 90 marks for math, our parents told us we could have gotten a 100. when we came home from secondary school with 60 marks for science and we told them that more than half the class failed and that the top scorer got only 70, our parents told us not to compare ourselves with the others who did worse than us and that we should have been the one who scored 70 instead. when it came to schools and courses we were applying for, our parents told us to get into the best schools and the best courses we could qualify to get into.
and when our parents have conditioned us for the best all our lives (whether or not we achieved all of it), don't you think it's a little contradictory for them now to tell us, "aiyah, any guy will do lah, as long as he treats you well / is decent and has a stable job and steady income" and "you can't have such high expectations for your job lah... you're lucky you managed to get a job so quickly, your cousin / uncle / mother's friend's daughter took 10 months to land one... just put up with the low pay / poor progression / shitty environment first, and maybe it will improve after a few more years"?
wah, were they as accepting of our sub-par, less-than-ideal results back at school? they sure as hell didn't tell us, "aiyah, any grade will do lah, as long as it's consistently average / gets you into some decent neighbourhood school". would they have happily agreed with you if you had told them back then, "you can't have such high expectations for my psle/o/a levels... lucky i scored 9 points for the prelims, my cousin / best friend / mother's friend's daughter got 36 points for o levels... just leave me to study on my own first, and maybe my grades will improve after a few more semesters"?
i guess it's hard to determine what's "best" in terms of partners and jobs, but when you see that a situation is less than ideal in some way and is outside of your loci of control to correct (say, aspects of a person/job that you can't stand or don't want to put up with), don't you just think (as conditioned) that you can do better than that? and if you do think so, why would you then even be willing to settle for less?
that said, i also think that one should at least have a rough idea of the difference between "the best you can get (at that point of time)" and "the best you wish you could get".
*by parents, i also mean the government or employers or basically any authority over you.