The Mediocrity Trap

Customer service evaluation form with tick on averageA friend asked me a difficult question the other day: “Why aren’t you satisfied with what you’ve got?”

Here’s my answer.

I would like more in my life, not because I am ungrateful and selfish, but because I want to be the very best version of myself that I can.

Then I will be able to help more people and make a difference.  That’s not selfish is it?

But it occurs to me that the reason my friend asked the question is because we have been brain-washed into thinking that if we strive too much then we must be selfish and ungrateful.

I’m sure it starts at school.  We are all encouraged to do well, up to a point.  It’s okay to be ‘quite bright’ as long as you don’t make everyone else feel bad by really succeeding.

That’s why we end up in…

The Mediocrity Trap

This is where you are doing ‘okay’ and really don’t have any reason to moan, but you are hardly living a truly passionate and purposeful life where you feel you are really making a difference.  You are doing…(dreadful word)…FINE.

To me, this is a state that we have to really guard against.

Surely life is about being excited and energised and challenged to be the very best we can, not an ‘okay-ish’, mediocre, reasonable existence.

So I make no apology for striving and wanting to change.  I know that I will make my own life better and everyone else’s life too.  I was meant to shine…

…we all were!  So let’s do it!

Tony Robbins says that if you are excited or scared, then you can change, but you need to worry about being okay.

The other thing to beware of is when you start seeing others as being grasping or careerist maniacs on a mission.  If you think they are trampling over you to get where they want, it may actually be that you are standing still and they are just going past you.  You aren’t in their way, they have just moved forward in their life and you have stayed exactly where you were.

And that’s not their fault is it?

This is why we have to guard against being average.  We are worth more than that.

I know, by definition, not everyone can be above average.  But you are already better than most people because you are unusual enough to care about creating a compelling and wonderful future and taking consistent action to make sure it happens.

Have you noticed that children rarely talk about things being quite good?  To them, everything is ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Rubbish!’  We need to start seeing things with greater clarity and emotional significance and stop wallowing in a grey puddle of mediocre sludge.

NLP To The Rescue!

Luckily, we have Neuro Linguistic Programming to help us.  All you need to do is keep a careful look out for average thoughts and average words.  Try to be aware of moments when you are settling for ‘okay’ and using language that limits you to a ‘satisfactory’ life.

For the next few days, listen to the words other people use and see how limited their expectations are.  Most people are now acting in a defensive mode where they see the world as a scary place and life as a struggle where they can lose what they have.

It’s much better to live like you see life as a game where you have nothing to lose but everything to gain as you aim for an extraordinary life!

You can be playful and committed to achieving goals.  They are not mutually exclusive.

The thing about seeing life is a game is that, just like in chess for example, if you are not doing well, you can reset the board and start again.  You can learn the rules and study strategies to get better.

That’s got to be a much better way to see life than a constant unending struggle where you are always in danger of being crushed.

Switch how you see the world, and life becomes lighter and more full of possibilities instantly!

Back to Gratitude

The reason that I know that I am not selfish and ungrateful is because I have actually started making gratitude a conscious willed choice that I make.

I spend time every day mentally listing all the things that I am grateful for – the skills, experiences, friends, family, hopes, challenges and resources I have that make me feel truly alive.

So I know that I am very thankful for all I have and will be more grateful than most people for the future successes I hope to enjoy.

I would love to hear how you try to avoid the Mediocrity Trap in your life.  What do you do to avoid being distracted by the average herd?  How do you keep true to your mission?  Please comment and let me know.