Someone had me define mediocrity and I was grinning from ear to ear like an idiot because I had my answer ready even before the question landed successfully (more like an auto-response: the surface answer. Like saying “fine” to every “how are you?” you get, even when you’re not). I knew my thoughts ran deeper but then, you shouldn’t blame me; one beauty of words is that it hides the intensity of our thoughts.
…and there came my response:
“Mediocrity is being professionally obtuse. A mediocre person is one who does not have the special ability to do something well. He hates criticism. He seeks praise and flattery, no matter how insincere it is, so he can feel good about his mediocrity. Simply put, mediocrity is being a local champion.”
My response wasn’t very far from the truth but maybe it’s just the part where I readily decided to call a spade ‘a farm implement’ instead of spitting it out the way it is (A spade!). I have seen folks who celebrate mediocrity. They act with the crowd to ensure acceptability and teach people that something is valuable by dressing it up like something they already like (breeding second-rate casual minds!). Some folks call it moderation but nothing can be farther from the truth.
People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how great their other talents. – Andrew Carnegie
Let’s spell it out even further –
Fulton J. Sheen put it this way, “Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.” (I couldn’t agree more). Mediocrity is normality (or finding a commonplace). It is the affirmation of being average; it makes you think that you’re fine as long as you’re not the worst ( “I’m not be the best dressed but you know, it’s okay, I’m not the worst either”. “Oh on a scale of one to ten, my book should be between five and six – great!”). It makes me wonder if that is supposed to be a sort of comfort in itself. Some folks put themselves to rest because of yesterday’s success. Don’t believe this hype! The game of life is not rest. Yes, we must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity.
The essence of life is growth. Drop the darn glasses! Carry binoculars if you must. Myopia isn’t an impediment that is physical alone; it is spiritual and psychological as well. It is tragic to have the perfect eyesight and still be myopic. The reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life is to see what you can do with it—to try your hand to see what you can do.
So then, what shall we say to this thing?
Mediocrity is a big no-no for folks who have the mind of going far. It actually takes more energy to maintain mediocrity than it takes to pursue excellence. Ready to battle? Hold your fists; let’s go!
Move beyond your comfort zone. Stop basing your work on emotions. You might have to risk being unacceptable but that will fizzle out with time.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. – W.B. Yeats
My friend, Allison Marie says nothing can stop us as long as we keep believing in the integrity of our hunger and the truth of our longing. The world is ours for the taking, everything we want we get. Everything we need is laid bare in front of us to enjoy.
Don’t follow the rules
It is true that creative work in any field involves a growing mastery of skills and concepts. It is not true that they have to be mastered before the creative work can begin. When it comes to creativity, following the rules produces only obedience and mediocrity.
Forget your past achievements (Yes, that’s right). Become a beginner again each time you start a new project. Forget that you’re published or that you have bagged some awards. Forget that your last post became quite popular; just do your thing. It helps to write for one person at a time. Make an impact on just one person such that they can’t sleep at night unless they choose to make a difference for one other person.
I’d like to hear from you; how else can we battle this enemy called mediocrity?