Good grief I’ve seen the word mediocre used a bit this last week. Maybe because I’ve been on the lookout for it since I read this Wendy Squires column.
There was so much ‘YES’ for me in Wendy’s column – and I said as much on Twitter.
Bits like this one:
“You know, I can’t recall the last time – actually, any time – I got a medal for just making a deadline, or a certificate for attending a meeting. But I can recall the last time I spoke to a friend who thinks they aren’t good enough, rich enough, successful enough or beautiful enough. It’s most people I know.”
And this one:
“It was me, too. I mindlessly believed that I too had to strive for recognition and success. And so I climbed the golden ladder to become a magazine editor. I thought that’s what I wanted, what I should do, only to find that last rung was a lonely one. I didn’t like the view from the top. Podiums, I decided, were overrated.”
And as you all know – I am still a serial striver.
Which prompted a friend to ask on Twitter (when I professed my love for Wendy’s column):
“How do you square this with your competitive nature Kel?”
What she was really asking was:
Can competitiveness ever be at peace with the concept of mediocrity?
Well I say yes.
But first you need to acknowledge that mediocrity is but a tool of comparison. And comparison is the thief of joy.
No matter what we do in this world, there is always going to be someone better than us at it. Even Olympic medallists enjoy only the tiniest moment of time atop their podiums. So the second we allow ourselves to compare ourselves to others and base our self-worth on the performance of others – we’re screwed.
That’s why we need to learn to strive for success without bringing comparison into the mix.
And the only way to do this is by ensuring the only person setting the standards you strive for is … you.
Now I know what you’re all going to say. You’re going to say that no one sets higher standards for your own achievement than you. And when you fail to meet your self-imposed standards … you feel mediocre.
Here’s what’s happening here. You’re taking a mediocre performance on your part and extrapolating that out to equal you being a mediocre person. And when you think you’re a mediocre person, you feel … a bit shit. Which is a bit shit!
This is why I have been at pains to point out in the past that there is no such thing as a mediocre person.
And it’s why I think it’s simpler to just eradicate the word from my vocabulary entirely.
What do you think? Is it time to eject the word ‘mediocre’ from our vocabularies?