Overcoming Mediocrity

Overcoming mediocrity is something that needs to be done if you are embarking on a path to greatness.

Chris Gullibeau of the Art of Non Conformity writes about a concept he calls the normalization of mediocrity.

What he is saying is that we have come to accept mediocrity in the goods and services we receive because that is just the standard.

His main example is airline service. In decades gone by airlines strived to provide excellent service to their passengers. These days the service is sloppy at best, but as consumers we have come to accept this poor standard as normal.

We do not question it and we don't demand better. So we aren't forcing them to think about overcoming mediocrity.

I see the same principle applying to individual's personal lives. We have grown accustomed in this society to settling for some very mediocre results. We do not have a culture of success and a culture that pushes us to strive for better.

I was lived with a guy who was in Medical School. He was fit and athletic and played high level sport but he ate a lot of pasta and bread and carried a bit of excess stomach flab that was out of proportion to the rest of his body. We just to give him a bit of gentle ribbing about this and his response was always, "It's normal to have stomach fat."

Coming from a man who is now a doctor I find this quite incredible. It is not normal to have that much belly fat for a man of his build, especially considering how much exercise he did. But the overload of starchy carbs kept that fat there. But it has come to be seen as normal as half ass results generally have.

The badass attitude is to be seeking constant improvement and never settling for less. Despite our mediocre culture we can as individuals push for badass results and be an example to others.

Fitness is an obvious place where you should not settle for average results. You should be continually striving for improvement. Sport is the same. Career and business are another place where you cannot let yourself get trapped in the "it's ok mindset." If a job is crushing your spirit and there is no pathway forward then it is time to move on to something else. If your relationship has grown stagnant then perhaps it is time to cut her loose.

Steve Pavlina puts it in another way. He argues that it can be hard to let go of a 7/10. It's quite good, enough for us to realize its benefits. We know it's better than a 5 or 6 but we also know that it isn't quite an 8 or a 9.

The reason we hang onto 7s is because we fear that if we let them go in the hope for an 8 or 9 that 8 or 9 will not materialize and we will have to option but to regress to a 5 or 6.

The problem with this is that we have accepted this state of affairs without ever thinking about overcoming mediocrity. The decision to hold onto the 7 tells our subconscious that we are happy with just okay, and therefore we will get just okay results in life. By cutting away the 7s and demanding 9s we signal our intent to only have the best. You will have to overcome your fear in moving on from a 7. But the only way you will ever get a 9 is by doing just that.

If you want something better in life then you will have to do something different to what you have done in the past to achieve it. You will have to break new personal boundaries. The first step to overcoming mediocrity is to decide that mediocrity is not acceptable to you. Only then can you strive for better.