We live in an age of mediocrity – (Lauren Bacall)
Success is overrated. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is underrated.
Mediocrity, is palpable. It’s all around us and its prevalent in every aspect of our lives. Most people are living in mediocrity and only the top few percent make it beyond that.
So, let’s start by understanding what mediocrity is.
The official definition is as follows: “A mediocre is someone whom you cannot at any time speak of, as being great, poor or average.” So, you’re above average, not poor and surely part of the majority. A whopping majority at that. Most people tend to jive their lives in the yellow area.The middle is where most of humanity resides
Comparative studies may suggest that success is achieved by moving out of mediocrity towards the high end top 20%. But success is what you make of it. “What holds us back is the picture in our minds, of what life should be like”. I truly believe in this and its profound impact on our happiness. If your image of a perfect life is white picket fences, a dog, a high paying job and owning a private jet, then you will end up spending your entire life trying to achieve it. And, that may actually not be what would make you happy.
Let me be clear. By no means am I pushing mediocrity, or selling its potential as the place to be. It’s just not as bad as it’s made out to be. Sure, push harder, try to excel, make the sacrifices, pay the dues. But, as life plods into its latter years, one begins to realize that the roads paved with gold are not meant for the sizeable majority (80%) of people.
Maybe you merit more? Meritocracy has its own flaws, specifically the judgement of that merit and how it is meted out. So, if you feel you merit more than mediocrity, keep in mind that maybe you actually deserve more, but, the system simply did not process the merits according to the way it ought to have.
It may sound paradoxical, but, achieving more or being happy with what you currently have, do not have to collide.
The moniker of success is an uneasy one and it’s not there to stay. If happiness is what one is after, and already has it, then what’s the fuss. I am reminded of the story where a businessman is crossing through a small town and sees a man sitting on the pier fishing. He asks the man how many fish he catches every day. The fisherman replies enough to feed my family. The businessman says have you thought about getting a boat, because you would catch more if you were a little further out to sea rather than at the pier. The fisherman replies “why”? he says because then you could sell more and expand your network and business and hire more people and open offices for export. The fisherman again asked “Why”? Well then you could earn a lot more money and reach a stage where you could relax and go fishing without any worries. To which the fisherman replied, but that’s what I am doing.
The journey of our lives, the singular opportunity we are given, does not have to be spent in pursuing dreams that don’t match. One must look at the bigger picture and if they are happy, in their current state, the Now, then they have achieved more than the people spending entire lives trying to but not attaining their view of success.
We must break out of our comfort zones, push the envelope, stretch the boundaries of what is possible & shed our self-inflicted limits. That said, at the end of the day, we must also keep an open mind. We must revisit the paradigm of success as well as of mediocrity. In pursuit of an unachievable goal, we are pushing people into stress and unhappiness and building unrealistic expectations, creating erstwhile challenges.
Mind you, I am not selling mediocrity. Simply opening one’s mind to the possibilities of accepting it as a part of life. Maybe mediocrity’s time is now. Time to ditch the old norm and look at things differently? The world is changing around us at breakneck speed. Will you be on the right side of history?
Author: Uzair Hassan firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is part of the MEA HR Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and contributes to MEA HR & Learning. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on our website. Please note that the author is not employed by MEA HR and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of MEA HR.