Loralyn Mears, PhD
MONDAY MOTIVATION: MANAGING MEDIOCRITY
This article was originally published on September 30, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-managing-mediocrity/
Monday Motivation here we come! This is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings. If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
Monday Motivation starts with understanding who you are, being accountable for your own behaviors and doing what you need to do to improve. The first step is wanting to improve. That is, wanting something better; be it a better you or a better situation.
For some, the mere mention of mediocrity might spark agita and a profoundly adverse reaction. “Mediocre? Moi? Perish the thought!” But there’s actually more to this than I originally thought. I’ve spent a lifetime resisting it, even having the audacity to call my sister out for it (a thousand billion apologies, Cin!). I’ve never quite recovered from uttering those words: they haunt me still.
“Stop letting your fear condemn you to mediocrity.” Dr Steve Maraboli
Yet here I am, a mediocre person. And you know what? Although it’s been a tough lesson, I’m finally cool with it because I like who I am. The key part is that I try to do better and be better. Every. Single. Day. The concept is that you manage it, you don’t let it manage you. That’s the trick to managing medicocrity – accepting where you are with it today but working towards moving beyond it tomorrow.
Within each generation, there are only a few exceptional people like Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga, Warren Buffet, and so on. The rest of us aren’t celebrities either, but that’s alright. We, the average folks, are the fabric of society that holds the quilt together. Of course we need the mega stars to sprinkle a bit of sparkle into our society quilt to keep things interesting. But there would be no room for a quilt full of shiny people. We’d be trying so hard to shine brighter than each other that we’d all flame out.
On the flipside, if you want to be a celebrity, then go for it! Work at it, push through the fear of rejection and you never know, anything can happen. Believe in the art of the possible. But don’t you dare berate yourself if it doesn’t end up the way you had hoped it would. Take comfort in knowing that you gave it all that you had and be proud of what you have accomplished.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY
The first thing to establish is that acceptance is not settling. This bears repeating as this is a Monday motivation column, not a Give-Up-It’s-Over column. The thing is, it’s not about resisting it, nor is it about accepting it. It’s about managing mediocrity. It’s up to you: you can accept that you are mediocre and stop there. And that’s okay. The choice is yours.
On the flipside, if you don’t want to settle for it, then do something different. Being jealous of other people is not the right approach. Take stock of who you are and where you are in your journey, then think about how you can change your course. Other people are on different paths and their paths are not yours. There is no need to compare yourself.
“Don’t settle for mediocrity. Take a chance. Take a risk. Find that passion. Rekindle it. Fall in love all over again. It’s really worth it.” Brian Cranston
This theme of managing our behaviors continues from where we left off last week when we discussed learning acceptance. I’ve spent a lifetime fighting it, wasting energy and losing sleep over it rather than staying focused on what really matters. How I behave, the things I do for other people, my relationships, snuggle time with my dog, the joy I find in my day … these are the metrics that matter.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR COURSE
Yes, paying bills is important given that few of us are trust fund babies so we have to work at it. But, beyond that, how many pairs of shoes and nights out on the town does a person really need? For me, part of managing my mediocrity is working towards something grander. I have dreams. And ideas. Pursuing those dreams challenges me to push beyond my own mediocrity and to reach for something bigger. Something better.
“The only way to get out of mediocrity is to keep shooting for excellence.” Eric Thomas
TIPS TO MANAGE MEDIOCRITY AND GO BEYOND IT
Accepting it is one thing, settling for it and not trying to go beyond it is a whole different topic. Knowing who you are and where you are on your life journey is important to work towards. So is self-improvement. Monday motivation has a few tips to keep you moving forward, towards more – towards better.
#1 – READ BOOKS
That’s right. I sound like your language arts teacher and that’s ok. Reading has always been a part of my life. The average person completes fewer than four books per year. Just think, if you read one book per month, including a few that stretch your intellect and imagination, you would be 3x more well-read versus your contemporaries. Now that’s an advantage worth having!
#2 – DON’T SURRENDER YOUR DREAMS
Hold on to them. Never let them go. I know people who are middle-aged and trying to break into the music industry now. And why not? They’ve always dreamed of being a part of it in whatever way they can. Who in this Galaxy has the superpower of dream-killing? Nobody.
#3 – MAKE A PLAN
As logical as this sounds, few of us actually map out what we plan to do this week, next week, next month, next year and so on. Even if you change it daily, it’s still a plan. And there are numerous benefits related to having a map that charts your direction. Without a plan (or a map), you’ll be wandering around without any direction. How will you ever arrive at your destination?
This is Monday Motivation. Go DREAM, people! Tune out the naysayers, including the one in your own head. For those of that you don’t want to push for something more, that’s cool, but you can’t be a hater of those who are trying for something more. Let them follow their own course.
If you do want more, then you’ll need to manage mediocrity. How? Look it in the eye every single day and fight it. “NOT today!” Then go out there and give it 101%.