Little did I know that the protocol to self-quarantine at the onset of the pandemic would teach me about the beauty of being mediocre.
Can YOU remember where you were and what you were feeling when you first heard the news?
For me, I experienced pure Shock and Disbelief, and then WHY, WHY, WHY???
I went straight to “HOW AM I GOING TO PAY THE BILLS IF I CAN’T GO TO WORK?”
Flash forward two years and you will find me cooking dinner most nights, going for daily long walks with my dog, doing phone coaching sessions with clients, starting that long-awaited writing career that I dared not pursue because I didn’t think I had the time and realizing that BEING MEDIOCRE really works for me.
What Does Being Mediocre Mean? And Let’s Turn It On Its Head
Let’s look at the mediocre definition.
- of only moderate quality; not very good.
“a mediocre actor”
- SIMILAR WORDS
I would like to call attention to “SIMILAR WORDS”. As I know that mediocre derives its meaning from these words in particular. Ordinary, Common, Commonplace, Indifferent, and Average are all supposed weaknesses that I am not personally wanting to strengthen.
However, when we distill down a word, anyone can find a negative or positive aspect to it. I do it all the time.
The problem with the word MEDIOCRE is that it already has a bad rap from the standard google and Webster dictionary definition. Especially the part that says “not very good”.
SAYS WHO??? Is now a good time for a RANT? You bet, but I will keep it brief.
I’ve spent a lifetime knowing that there’s got to be “more” than just this. But, here is the snag. What if the “more” was what was already in front of me?
And then I bang my forehead with my hand and go “It’s here, it’s here and it’s PERFECT”
And who cares anyway what other people have to say about my life because they have ordinary parts of their lives that they may be refusing to see as extraordinary too.
Other people are not a substitute for knowing what I know at a soul level.
Did I mention that MY ORDINARY IS EXTRAORDINARY?
If being at home and self-quarantining has taught me anything it’s this: there are tremendous beauty and peace in the ordinary everyday pieces of taking care of me, my family, my animals, and my home that regularly gets overlooked and undervalued.
These things have been waiting to get my attention and they are extraordinary when I sit down and acknowledge them.
What if your ORDINARY IS EXTRAORDINARY too? And what if all that is missing in your life is the acknowledgment of the ORDINARY?
How to Deal With Being Average: As If There’s Something to Deal With Here
One of my favorite articles on the topic of being mediocre is called In Defense of Being Average by Mark Manson.
The article poses the question, Is Being Average a PROBLEM?
Well, it depends on who you talk to because in my eyes it can only become a problem when you start comparing your life against those who you think are doing great or not so great things in the world.
For instance, is Donald Trump average, mediocre, or commonplace? I think not. However, you couldn’t get me to trade places with that man in a million years. In this case, being average is NOT a problem for me!
Now when I look at the great peacemakers of the world like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Mother Theresa, I think wow I would love to have their conviction and passion to bring peace on this planet NOW! Were these people considered average? I bet if you asked them while they were here on this planet the answer may just have been “no”.
How come “no”? Well most of us while working in the trenches of our lives do not find our actions extraordinary instead we find them necessary. However, the necessity IS EXTRAORDINARY because it changes the lives of others around us whether it be a large group of people or just our family. It truly matters to someone.
Being average is a humbling experience that when embraced can lead us to a life well-lived.
It’s that steady life in the background that has us thinking its ordinary because it can be as simple as paying the rent, keeping the lights turned on, and daring to laugh when it all becomes too serious.
And What About All Those Being Mediocre Quotes?
Are You Familiar With Some of These Being Mediocre Quotes?
“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley
“We’re capable of much more than mediocrity, much more than merely getting by in this world.”
― Sharon Salzberg
“The only way to get out of mediocrity is to keep shooting for excellence.” Eric Thomas
“Something deep in the human heart breaks at the thought of a life of mediocrity.” -C.S. Lewis
And maybe you are not so aware of quotes like these:
“My academic career was indifferent to the point of beauty- I was so unremarkable, in every way, that the unvarying precision of my mediocrity achieves a kind of loveliness”
― Mil Millington
“To the mediocre, mediocrity is a form of happiness” -Friedrich Nietzsche
We tend to reach for the striving of ant-mediocrity as if it’s something we have to get away from so that we can live the best life possible.
However, there is a missed opportunity here in the everyday incremental steps of living that do not get any credit when it comes to living an extraordinary life.
Those steps when unacknowledged keep us from sustaining any real semblance of success or ant-mediocrity because success is a holistic practice.
You have to include the everyday stuff of life that rarely gets acknowledged on our way to the “good stuff” to be able to sustain any type of real success.
What Kind of People Make Good Mediocre People: Maximizers Versus Satisficers
Maximizers will always have a harder time accepting mediocrity because it’s just not in their blood to so.
They are on an endless journey that leaves them exhausted because satisfaction to them is elusive at best and always up for discussion, comparing, analyzing, and agonizing.
And if you identify with being a Maximizer, then in all likelihood you are not digging this article.
Maximizers feel like they are settling if they are to accept things as is.
And I can attest to this myself because I am a recovering Maximizer yearning to be a Satisficer.
Average is Awesome: Embracing Mediocrity as the Key to Success | Jeroen van Baar | TEDxAUCollege
Is Being Mediocre OK? Because I’ve Been Told It’s Not!
Now that we have Maximizer versus Satisficer out of the way let's look at what Google has to say about being mediocre.
“To be mediocre is to not aspire to be better and not attempt to improve and achieve greatness. Being mediocre doesn’t mean that you’re average, it means that you’re content with being average and you’re not attempting to improve.”
Who is it that gets to say that getting out of bed in the morning, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and getting on with your day is not attempting to improve?
There is something seriously wrong here because a lot of people are led to believe that they are NOT EXTRAORDINARY just as they are.
Have you heard the saying, you have to make peace with where you are because escaping the NOW will just come back and bite you in the butt later?
Well, that’s the deal with being mediocre. You are rarely born into brilliance.
It takes many incremental and oftentimes mediocre steps to run a household, a family, a successful career, a partnership, and a life worth living.
Being mediocre is more than OK because it doesn’t complain, it doesn’t make you wrong, and it doesn’t whisper in your ear that you have to be something you are not to do great things in this world.
I Like Being Mediocre, But Can It Really Be This Good?
So here we are amid a pandemic and you may be asking yourself do I like where I am at right now?
Can I find satisfaction in the simplicity of everyday living?
Can I be content with being in the world in the same way as I was before I was relegated to self-quarantine?
It’s questions that a lot of us are contemplating right now.
I like Being Mediocre because it just feels good.
Being Mediocre does not require the constant striving to better ourselves, rather it’s a quiet energy that has us finding contentment in what is.
Being Mediocre at Everything: Like It’s Anyone’s Business
What if being mediocre at everything was the code for being satisfied with life?
And show me a person that is satisfied with life and I will show you a bunch of people that will make that WRONG somehow.
How dare you be happy where you are at? And HOW DARE YOU NOT BE HAPPY?
People are always going to make others wrong for happiness when they are not allowing it to be a mainstay in their lives.
You know, misery loves company.
Tired of Being Mediocre? Then You Must Be Bored
Do you ever find yourself feeling BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND?
Is it mediocrity your tired of being or is it a symptom of something greater called “DISTRACTION FROM YOU”
When life slows down as it has during this pandemic and self-quarantining we can find ourselves fighting the mundane or we can just surrender and give in to the extra time we find with ourselves.
Being bored is that first step to what I like to call UNRAVELING THE MIND.
It’s a delicious first step because it means you are getting closer to being alone with you.
Boredom says hey we’ve run out of things to distract ourselves from ourselves so quick let’s find another decoy.
Don’t do it! Instead, get to know you walking barefoot in your backyard. Get to know you making a healthy dinner. Get to know you taking a shower. Get to know you being a Mom, a Dad, Someone’s Partner, a Student, a Friend, a Breathe of Fresh Air for someone in need.
These are things that the mind would have us believe are boring when on closer examination are beautiful fulfilling acts of living love.
How Do You Accept Mediocrity? By Not Being a Fraud
You accept Being Mediocre by accepting you NEVER HAVE TO BE SOMEONE WHO YOU ARE NOT.
Being Mediocre says that I no longer have to better myself to have value.
I have VALUE because I exist.
Does a baby have value? Does a puppy have value?
Of course, they do! And guess what they are not trying to better themselves. They just exist and in that existence, they derive value just by breathing.
Is breath mediocre? Does it strive to better itself? No, not ever because it knows who it is! Breath is life and Life my friends is EXTRAORDINARY!
Going Forward Because We Have to Start Living Again
Please embrace the idea of being mediocre because it’s where it all begins.
Pandemic or no pandemic, we are always allowed to have the mediocre, the average, the commonplace, because it’s with us always reminding us that we are “OK”.
And we are the most ok when we are finding the value in what’s already in front of us.
I have an Uncle that is so easy to talk to because he is always telling stories. Stories about the past and just everyday things that always somehow seem interesting when he tells them. Is my Uncle mediocre, average, commonplace? Yes, and THANK GOODNESS because he is a delight to talk to.
So the next time someone asks you what you’ve been doing today stop yourself from trying to find something cool to say and just focus on the things that lit you up that day.
The simpler the better like my dog licked my face, or the sunrise was breathtaking today, or I am enjoying this new shampoo on my hair.
The majority of us are not here to set Olympic records and go viral. Rather, we are the ones anchoring the light of everyday living so that our heroes have a place to come home to.
Thank You For Reading!