STOP SETTING FOR MEDIOCRE
“Always do your best,
because only the best is good enough.”
That was how my primary school principal would end the devotional each morning before we filed off to our classes. But it would appear that the notion of encouraging excellence has since been diluted down to rewarding the average and celebrating the mediocre, thereby fostering a culture of doing the bare minimum and settling for ‘good enough’. And what exactly is ‘good enough’? ‘Good enough’ is “it’s not great, but it will do.” Can you imagine Beyonce saying, “That choreography wasn’t great but it’ll do”? Heck. No. That, my friends, is why Beyonce is Beyonce and you’ll stay working that mundane 9-5 that causes anxiety on Sunday nights because you keep settling for ‘it will do’.
We don’t need to look very far to see that we live in an era rife with mediocrity. Mediocre performances being lauded and applauded. Mediocre work being emulated and celebrated. Mediocre relationships turning into marriage and ending in bitter divorce. Has our collective benchmark fallen so low that we no longer value the pursuit of excellence? Have our individual standards been reduced so much that we’ll accept anything that’s just...good enough? In a society that increasingly eschews the idea of ‘the best’ and attempts to give consolation to the sub-par; that tells us that we’re expecting too much and we need to lower our standards, it has never been more important to strive for personal excellence.
The truth is that mediocrity borne out of fear. Fear that you’re not good enough. Fear of failure. And yes, failure is scary. But if there’s anything worse than failure, it is mediocrity. At least with failure you know exactly where you stand. With mediocrity, you’re stuck in no man’s land, somewhere between not good enough and just getting by. Blech! You either go hard, or go home. You don’t go kinda hard. You put the pedal to the metal, not, half-way. You sink or you swim, you don’t just barely manage to stay afloat. You do or you don’t...ok, I think I’ve exhausted my idioms. The point I’m trying to make is that in order to move from so-so to stellar, you must be willing to invest more than paltry, half-baked efforts or none at all. After all, you can only get out what you put in. Sure, you can get lucky. But luck can only get you so far.
Despite what seems like popular opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having high standards. Nor is there anything wrong with wanting and expecting the best. (Of course, granted that the output meets the expectation). And besides, you shouldn’t be listening to popular opinion anyway. Trying to follow the crowd is a surefire way to mediocrity. Being the best means doing what no one else is doing. It means going against the grain. It means carving your own path. And once you have committed to giving and doing your best, you will consequently raise your own standards of what is acceptable. Excellence can only beget excellence. You only have what you choose to accept. And one should never choose accept ‘good enough’.
Let’s raise those glasses, I mean, standards and stop settling for mediocre. Life’s too short.
Cheers to excellence!
Alicia is a full-time writer/blogger and aspiring multi-hyphenate. Born in Toronto and raised in Jamaica, she now calls Montreal home. With a background in Broadcast-Journalism and a passion for inspiring through her writing, Alicia enjoys writing and creating content for the millennial woman. You can read more of her work at www.aluestory.com.