I wanted to be sure about my stance on mediocrity because some public and private comments I received about life’s constant pull towards mediocrity made me quesiton what I was saying. So, I looked up “mediocre” in Webster’s. I learned that it means, “of moderate to low quality.” I then looked up “quality” and found that it means, “degree of excellence.” Therefore, mediocre means: To have a moderate to low amount of excellence.
While I think that I, like most people, am just an average person, I also know that I don’t want to accept a life of low excellence. My gut feeling about mediocrity was correct: It does appear as though as people get older, they tend to accept lower and lower performance levels from themselves. Really, they get a regular gig and ride it out until they’re just too old to do it anymore. Along the way, they might find hobbies or activities to pass the free time they have while they’re not working, but then they wonder why they’re angry or miserable most of the time.
Well, in my opinion, the reason so many people struggle with negative emotions is that they have come to accept low performance as normal. But, as divine beings, we aren’t meant to be low performers. That’s not to say that everyone is great at everything, but I believe that we all have something that we can excel at doing and it is that something that we should seek to develop. If we don’t, we can pretend that we are “ok” and “blessed” to have our steady but mind-numbing gigs. However, there is a place inside all of us form which we can’t hide. We know the truth about who we are and, while mediocrity has a strong pull, that thing that tells us the truth about ourselves doesn’t let us succumb easily.
Nor should it. Humanity is capable of greatness. The challenge, I think, is to recognize that potential and then act upon it. I really think people want to remain stuck in mediocrity (or worse) because growth and positive change requires responsibility. It’s as though people become shackled by the fear of carrying more than they think they can handle and then do nothing.
Regardless, I feel mediocrity’s tractor beam and I am resisting it. I am approaching middle age now and while I may never become the “successful” writer I dream of becoming, I’m not gonna stop writing and teaching to the best of my ability.