First off, I just want to say that I know the title of this post sounds like pure nonsense. As usual, this is just something that just popped into my head a few weeks ago. I told a friend about it the other day and I saw his eyes glaze over once the words came out my mouth. Here’s what I mean – We all want to be great and excellent, but many times we are not even good at being mediocre.
We all have great ambitions and plans. We dream of doing amazing things – starting cool companies, shooting short films, publishing books, etc. It’s never been sexier to be artistic or entrepreneurial. We want to really push for the stars. We want to be Zuckerberg, Musk and Ferris all rolled into one. I know I’m always day dreaming about the amazing things I want to do and the accolades I hope to have one day.
But it hit me the other day, maybe we are reaching too far. I heard or read once that ‘Man’s reach exceeds his grasp’, as it should. It also reminds me of that whole thing about the gap between your taste and your actual creative ability (gets me every time). We want so much but in the present we are stuck with the reality of not even being close to where we want to be. It’s a place of frustration that in its best form keeps us striving and trying to go higher. It also lays waste to many hopeful dreams.
Even though we have such great ideas and ambitions., very precious few of them actually become anything. I know personally, I never think I am as good as I’d like to be. Nothing I make is ever good enough for me to release. And I get bored of my ideas easily. I start working on things and eventually the glimmer wears off. I want to be great, but the mountain peak always seems so far off.
Perhaps a better strategy is embracing mediocrity. And by mediocrity, I don’t mean lose your drive and do crappy work. I mean embrace the level of skill and level of output you have right now. Focus on being as good as you can be where you at. You want to write a novel, but so far, your output level rests comfortably at the pace of a 500-word blog post every month. Embrace that! don’t worry too much about that great African literary orgasm waiting to be penned. Focus on being good at banging out those blog posts…focus on getting good at doing it every week. Focus on being good at your level of mediocrity.
I think if the Big Thing is actually going happen, you better have gotten used to the mundane, to the boring bits. We need to embrace the parts that we despise because they are already within our grasps. Be good at the so-called ‘mediocre’ stuff. Be good at writing a page consistently then eventually you will have a book. Be good at the small building blocks of business – getting the client, satisfying the client, getting paid, repeatedly. Over time, with focus and direction it builds to the Big Thing. From that solid base of mediocrity, you can leverage, compound and 10X your way to incredible things.
Strive for excellence, don’t settle for a bleh and bland life. But don’t sprint too fast and pull a hammy on the marathon to success. Focus on laying each brick as well as you can and soon enough, you will have a wall. Be faithful in the little things and soon enough you will be rewarded with the big.