How to Deal with Mediocrity

Mediocrity: now there is ugliness for you. Mediocrity’s a hairball coughed up on the Persian carpet of Creation.
― Tom Robbins
As humans, we are seemingly wired into finding the easy way out of things. Our ancestors invented the wheel to ease up things, and progress just picked up from then on. Our creative juices kept flowing as we built an amazing world for us to live in.

All was hunky dory so far, until the moment we fell into that rut called laziness. We could even call it nonchalance. We’d reached a point where we just had to do what had to be done, and moved on to mechanically performing the next task at hand.

Pragmatical doctrines tell us that only a select few are destined for greatness. The sad part, however, is how we take comfort in this fact and stay content with settling for second best, compromising, making do with whatever is available, and so on. Every once in a while, though, a nagging feeling creeps up, indicating that something is not quite right, and is not up to the mark.

So, are you ready to pull up those socks and punch mediocrity in its ugly face? Follow these steps and you’ll know how.

5 Easy Steps to Deal with Mediocrity
Aim for Perfection
It does seem like a fancy bit of advice to dispense, especially after considering the barriers we face in the real world. Aiming for perfection makes sense when we are at leisure, when we have all the time and resources at our disposal to come up with a jaw-dropping creation. It is natural to argue that perfection is an indulgence of the privileged. Us plebians always have to “make do”. Make do with whatever little time is available. Make do with whatever resources are available. Who has the time for perfection anyway?

Wrong. Admit it – you always know that there is scope for perfection in every domain of our life. It is just that we are so overwrought with the thought of getting things done, that we invest very little time in devising ways to perfect it. Just makes you sad admitting it, doesn’t it?

center of target
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Understand What ‘Mediocre’ Means
Well, it’s all nice to throw around expectations without being a beacon of perfection ourselves. To be able to follow through on the previous point, one needs to toe the line himself. This requires a complete overhaul of the way we’ve been functioning so far, and modifying our perspective. How do we do that? It’s simple – by practicing what we preach.

To bypass mediocrity, we need to foster a deep sense of hatred towards everything the word represents. Here, check out the synonyms the word ‘mediocre’ has –

  • Ordinary
  • Lackluster
  • Undistinguished

And these are just three among the many other humdrum (there’s another synonym) words. We spend our busy lives rushing to finish the tasks assigned to us, without even making an effort to make an effort. How then, do we avoid falling into the trap that is mediocrity? Here’s the answer for you.

road to success concept
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
– Jimmy Johnson
Gift Yourself the Chance to Shine
Now that we know what mediocre actually means, we’d be hard-pressed to disassociate ourselves from it. But rather than looking at it like that, why don’t we twist the perspective a bit?

Okay, so most of us have more or less accepted the fact that we’re never going to win the Nobel Prize, or an Oscar, or an Emmy, or even a SAG Award. So, the only way for us to feel worthy of having achieved something is to put in our best in whatever little we do. Yes, there is a better way to file those documents. Yes, there is a smarter way to fold your laundry. And yes, there is always a way to do things better than you are at the moment. Attaining perfection need not be your goal, but putting in an effort always should. That will surely keep mediocrity at bay.

man on the finishing line
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
– Maya Angelou
Refuse to Blend in
When mediocrity sets into our attitude, we find it easy to put our heads down, and simply go with the flow. Seems like a cruise until the time you step back for a moment of retrospection. What do you find? A lifetime of having nodded in agreement, completely lacking in conviction.

Why do we humans feel obligated to like what someone else loves? Even Facebook does not have a dislike button to speak of, so all it leaves us with is the nodding in agreement part, however reluctant we may be. Unfair, isn’t it? So, it is important that you refuse to be influenced by the opinions of others and be “okay” with something. If it does not match your standards, modify it, redo it, or even chuck it out, but do not let your name be attached to something you did not approve of.

like and unlike keys
Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.
– Ancient Indian proverb
Reject the Option to Settle
When we come across something truly admirable, it knocks off our breath. It leaves us amazed and awestruck. But when things are not quite up there, standard-wise, we feel a compulsive desire to settle for whatever lies in front of us. We make a habit of it eventually, when something comes bursting out of the ordinary to wake us from our creative lethargy.

Therefore, if we simply do away with the option to ‘settle’ for the mediocre, we’d be crushing it at its nascent stage. And believe me, it would be a huge favor we’d be doing ourselves.

selection or rejection concept
“Here’s a glorious thought: You don’t have to settle. Ever. In life, in love, in your career…ANYWHERE!”
– Mandy Hale
Mediocrity is a disease, and it ought to be treated as one. Always ensure that you remain immune to it, and stay at an arm’s length from those who are afflicted with it. Unless, of course, you consider yourself qualified enough to treat it.