For a moment, think about your life’s most vivid memories. I’d bet you’re thinking of some exceptional moments: the birth of a child, a graduation, wedding, a professional accomplishment. Our most memorable moments in life are often the ones that are the most incredible. So, why is it that so many people don’t strive for more of those moments? Why are so many people satisfied with mediocrity?
Rather than striving to do a mediocre job, be a mediocre partner or buy a mediocre thing, we should shoot for the stars. It may sound intimidating (and exhausting) to live this way, but the outcome is worth the effort. Plus, if we all strive for greatness, there will be far fewer mediocre things to take our dollars and attention away from the truly remarkable.
Make Yourself Vulnerable
While incredible effort can be necessary to produce incredible results, effort is not always the most important ingredient in producing exceptional outcomes; putting yourself in a position of vulnerability is. When we’re working in our comfort zone, we can produce repeatable, decent results. It is when we push ourselves outside of that zone that we can create something truly different. It can be a drastic change to push yourself beyond your usual confines of comfort, but asking for grace, empathy and understanding from people taking the journey with you is helpful. This brings me to my next point.
Don’t Fear Failure
Embrace the fact that you may fail. When striving for something truly great, there’s a chance of getting something wrong. The chances are, frankly, pretty high. There’s an old saying, “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Keep that slogan in mind when pursuing each endeavor. It can empower you to put fear to the side and caution to the wind, and bring creativity to the forefront. What you think may be possible definitely won’t be if you never give it a try.
Extend through Work and Life
It is true that different areas of life require more of your attention at different times. If you’re pushing through the launch of a new business, your personal life may not be getting the attention it deserves, and vice versa. Still, avoiding mediocrity means you strive to be exceptional in all areas of your life. This is less about doing a certain number of things as it is having a certain mindset. Prioritizing your professional life and personal life can take practice. You may need to set different parameters that lead you to success, like not checking emails or social media after 7 p.m. or dedicating one night a week to taking your significant other on a date.
Self-Improvement is a Life-long Endeavor
Someone who strives against mediocrity is someone who is committed to life-long self-improvement. The most exceptional people, I believe, are those who are constantly teaching and constantly learning. That is, they understand there is always more to learn, more to know, more ways to grow. By choosing to always seek to improve, both personally and professionally, you’re setting the stage to never become set in your ways, immovable or rigid – all attributes of someone who could be described as mediocre.
Your life’s most vivid memories, your favorite products, shows, movies and more are, to you, incredible. Let these moments and things inspire you to strive for greatness in all areas in life, and empower you to rally against mediocrity in a way that benefits you, your family and all of your professional endeavors.
Scott Abbott is the founder of Stop Mediocrity, an organization that raises funds for self-improvement and career services for under-resourced kids and young adults.