Everyone desperately wants to fit in, and it is normal and healthy to want to have a circle of peers around you. But for many of us, a desire to be normal turns into something far more sinister: a desire to be mediocre.
Mediocrity is poison to success. Success is, by its very definition, above average, elevated, important.
Mediocrity on the other hand is normal, average, and meaningless in a bigger perspective.
Most of us would claim we want success, not mediocrity. We set ourselves lofty goals which reflect our true hearts’ desires. But then we rarely move towards them.
Because even though our words say we want to be successful, our actions say we want to be mediocre. We may say we want to be buff and fit by next year, but then we skip the gym several times in a week, eat junk every day, or “treat” ourselves at a party, undoing all our hard work. Our desire to be mediocre is stronger than our desire to be successful.
To work out where your desire to be mediocre comes from, you need to evaluate your whole life. For many people an urge to be mediocre comes from the media they consume. When we look at the TV, read articles online, and interact with people on social media, we are placing value on these people.
The people who we think about, talk about, and follow the most are considered by our primitive brains to be important. So when we are always paying attention to people who are poorer, less pleasant and kind, fatter, and more troubled than we want to be, we are lowering the bar in our heads.
We are telling ourselves “I love this person and they aren’t perfect, so I don’t have to aim for perfection”. By finding more challenging, successful role models we can make ourselves more focused on our goals.
Unfortunately, stopping being mediocre is likely to lose you a few friends. This is because people surround themselves with others like them. And most people resist change. So if you are changing and becoming less like them, do you think they are going to change to be more like you? If you do, you’re wrong.
Much research has shown that when you share goals such as fitness targets with friends, they are very likely to sabotage you. Known as the “crab bucket” effect, when you stop being mediocre, your mediocre friends will probably try and drag you back, not lift you up. Self-improvement will really put your relationships to the test.
Maybe you will have to go your own way. And it will be more than worth it.
Believe me – been there, done that.
The final component to chasing mediocrity is, unfortunately, deeply rooted in our biology. Choosing a path of self-improvement is hard, that much is undeniable. Humans, like all animals, are designed to conserve energy where possible. And in the modern world we have almost everything we could wish for at our beck and call.
Because we don’t need to work hard to survive, our bodies start telling us to just do the bare minimum to stay alive and that’s good enough. And this is normal: we’re designed to conserve our energy in case of emergencies, and self-improvement uses up a lot of energy.
But is that really what you want from life? To be an animal surviving, and nothing more?
Or do you want to achieve your goals, to be successful, to be powerful and in control of your life, to be a better person? To be an example, motivation and inspiration for your friends, family and other people, to move above the mediocre and reach the pinnacle of humanity? To simply be the best version of yourself? To contribute to your community, society and change the world around you for the better?
When avoiding mediocrity, we need to experience some discomfort. For our ancestors, this would have just been part of everyday life.
They wouldn’t have needed a gym because they were out there killing bears.
They didn’t need to read books because they told stories instead of watching TV.
They didn’t need to get a qualification because every life skill they needed was passed down through the generations.
But times have changed. And in the modern world we need to push ourselves twice as hard to get the health, social connections, wealth, and wisdom our ancestors got just from day to day life. You can’t just accept mediocrity.
Not in the 21st century, not with the current global economy and social & geopolitical situation – nowadays, mediocrity is not only weak, but also dangerous for you and your family on many different levels.
Things haven’t changed much in that regard since prehistoric times.
Physical and mental weakness = danger.
Lack of self-control and control over your near environment = danger.
No access to resources and lack of saved resources = danger.
Low social position and connections = danger.
You owe yourself (and the people around you) much more!
Take a moment to think about it. Where will mediocrity take you? Is that all you want from life?
Source: Positive Psychology Coaching