One of the most common, and in my opinion, a major failing in our society is a tendency to measure everyone by the same standards.
School measure kids against standard results. Companies measure employee against standard processes and standard performance. Even some parents measure their children against the society standards for good behaviour and achievement.
Everyone is attempting to standardise what is inherently non-standard.
We are individuals. We are unique. We are shaped by our own distinct circumstances. Yet, what most of us aspire to or are taught to aspire to is to fit the standard mould.
Standards are created based on average of any given thing. Standard performance is average performance. Standard behaviour is average behaviour. Standard process is an average process. Standard is one size fits all.
When you aspire to meeting the standard, you aspire to be mediocre.
Ironically, that’s where the competition is, because along with you, millions of other people are also striving for that same mediocrity.
All that hard work, all the struggles and fears and insecurities to achieve…mediocrity.
That’s just sad.
But how can you be sure that you are aspiring to mediocrity? After all, no one starts out saying they want to grow up to be average. How can you gain that awareness?
4 Ways to Know If You Aspire To Medicrity
What is your why?
This is the key starting point. No task, no work, no goal is unimportant if done for the right reasons. Someone has to clean the streets. Someone has to do the taxes. Someone has to defend the nation. Mediocrity does not come from what you do. It comes from why you do it. Gain a clear understanding of your reasons for wanting the things you want, and you will have a clear understanding of the values that drive you.
Are you following your goals or someone else’s?
Standard goals are almost always inherited.
Sometimes, they are inherited from families. Your father wanted to be a doctor, but he couldn’t because his family couldn’t afford it, so now he’s worked all his life and passed on the dream of becoming a doctor to you.
Sometimes, they are inherited from the society. Society says a sign of being successful is that you have a nice house, a nice car, and a beautiful family to show off. You get a job that provides all these things, even if it makes you miserable, and you are so stressed out that you don’t have the time to enjoy that nice house, nice car or the beautiful family. But you believe that’s how the real world works.
Do you believe wholeheartedly in what you are trying to achieve? Does it fire you up?
When you are pursuing a purpose that means something to you, you are driven by inner fire. There will be bad days when you doubt everything, including yourself, but on the whole you don’t lose confidence in what you want to achieve. You know in your heart that it’s the right course of action for you, and you are not going to give up on this goal no matter how difficult the journey, and no matter how many obstacles you face.
Does it make you want to work?
It’s so easy to be lazy. Just to sit there and watch tv, or keep chatting to friends. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, from time to time we need it. But when you have a purpose where you have a clear why, and it’s something you believe in, you want to work on it. Perhaps not every moment, or even every day. But you want to make progress. You want to do something about it. And when you don’t, you feel guilty. You feel guilty because you know it’s important, yet you didn’t give it enough time.
Are these four reasons the be-all and end-all of mediocrity?
Of course not. To reiterate, every individual is unique and therefore we react to same circumstances in different ways. For each of us, mediocrity would mean different things, as would making our own mark.
The purpose of this post is to make you think about your aspirations. It is to propel you to reflect on what you want, why you want it, and if you are going about achieving it in a way that is authentic to you.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY
Review all of the four above points. Do any of them ring a bell? Journal about whether each of those points are true for you or not, and how do you feel about it? Based on your new reflections, would you like to make any changes in your situation?