Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mediocrity

A conversation I often have with J is about mediocrity - and how it can be a fair amount of effort to make it through life being mediocre. I encourage her to find her passion and work to excel in it - a much harder thing to do than being lulled into a false sense of comfort by natural abilities. Comes a time when coasting on innate talent will no longer be possible and if hardwork does not come naturally by then, things become difficult.

In my experience, mediocrity is the place where talent and passion meet lack of directed effort. So easy to assume when you have natural gifts, success will take care of itself and so often that turns out not to be the case. I had the privilege of growing up with a few precocious kids - they made everything the rest of us struggled with appear effortless. We were in awe of how they were able to make connections where we found none, ask questions that we would never know to ask and generally walk on water.

Yet some of the most successful among my childhood friends were considered the "average" kids. But what set them apart from the rest of the averages was their determination to succeed. They were not okay to remain mediocre and were willing to work their way out of that cohort - and so they did.

This very candid article about what it takes to be mediocre and is another way of thinking about it - though I am not sure I agree with the author's conclusion :

Being mediocre doesn’t mean you won’t change the world. It means being honest with yourself and the people around you. And being honest at every level is really the most effective habit of all if you want to have massive success

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