This world is mediocre, rise above it
18th May 201816m09s
- We live in a mediocre world. As I've been working on personal growth and my own self-development, one thing I realized over the last few months is how mediocre I was or I am still as a human being. When I talk about mediocrity I'm not really talking about my external circumstances cause if you look at my external circumstances then I've got what the average person has and in that sense I could be considered successful. I have a job. I do something meaningful with my time. Thanks to my job I have friends, I have family, lovers, all that kind of stuff. You know I do interesting things, hobbies, travel, whatever but I realized that who I was as a person, what I expressed every single day as a person in terms of my personality, in terms of my character, in terms of the non intellectual properties of my self, courage, discipline, I realized in in those areas of my life I was mediocre. And moreover, I realized that most people are mediocre, most people who live in this world are just average in terms of who they are as people. Again, I'm not talking about what they own or what they have or what they might have achieved externally, I'm talking about who they are as people. Are they honest with themselves? Are we honest with ourselves? Do we face our fears full on? Are we able to find courage when we need to find courage? Are we able to tell people what we really think? I mean that's something that most people really struggle with. I mean just a simple example and I've experienced this myself and I think almost everyone I know has. Someone invited to a party, someone you know maybe they're not a close friend but an acquaintance and you don't wanna go. So, most people in that situation would make up an excuse about it. They'd say, Oh I'm busy or I've already got something on or I can't make it cause of work, whatever right. They'll make a picnic an excuse to be able to politely decline invitation. And I always used to think you know this is fine, this is the courteous thing to do. You always want to politely decline the invitation. You don't you don't want to tell people if you do that you don't really feel like going just cause you don't feel like it. But I'm starting to question those things now. And I ask myself, well why can't you just say that? What if you actually just don't feel like going? It might not be because you don't like that person, you just might not feel like doing this. You might just want to stay in that night. Why not just say that? Is it because we're worried about what people think of us. Were worried about the consequences of saying something that someone might consider to be impolite. We're worried we might lose their favor or they might it might lower their regard for us. And I realized that those are exactly the reasons why I wouldn't say exactly what was on my mind and that goes for everybody else. And so I decided I'm gonna change that. I don't wanna be that person who can't speak their mind out of fear. And then I started to question all the other things in my life. What are things and situations where I think something but I don't speak out? Maybe it's a meeting at work where I have an opinion but I don't know if I'm 100% correct about what I'm gonna say and in order to not embarrass myself I just keep quiet. Or I have an opinion that goes against the dominant opinion and I get in order to not get vitriol from other people again I stay quiet. And the thing about it is, if you stay quiet and if you don't say what you really think then there are no consequences because that decision of what to say is happening in your mind and no one else is privy to that decision taking place in your mind. No one else can read your mind and so no one else knows when you've taken such a decision or why you've taken the decision you've taken. No one else out there can tell that you just chickened out of doing something that you really wanted to do but you were too scared to do. So, we don't get punished by society for it. Even though we actually punish ourselves in our lives. Let's say you wanna become good at giving presentations and it's something that you've always struggled with because you're nervous or you're lacking in confidence. Well, what if opportunities to give presentations regularly come up where you work for example, and you always decline them because you're scared or you get yourself all psyched up for it and then maybe you find out that the head of your department's gonna be listening in on this particular occasion then you sort of think, oh that's too hard for me. I'll wait till the next occasion. And so you come up with these little excuses to let yourself off the hook. And again when people ask you, hey you wanna do the presentation? You just say, oh no I don't feel like doing it today, right and you're off the hook. And as far as they're concerned, yeah everything's fine. But deep down in your mind you know that you chickened out, that you lack the courage, you took the easy way out and in the long run that affects you because you you haven't grown as a person. You didn't overcome that fear. And so you're trapped, you're stuck. And this is something that I've experienced in my life. Not presentations but other parts of my life where I wanted to do something but I was just too scared to do it and so I didn't do it and I just kept repeating that pattern over and over again and sure enough it then became easier for me to just stay within the pattern than to take the big risk and the big effort of breaking the pattern and being courageous. But after a while I just got upset with myself cause I realized that I wasn't improving and I wasn't being the person I wanted to be. Now, when I started working on my discipline and my training and just my life goals in general with more earnest a few months ago, I realized all of this. I realized that I'd kept myself at this level of mediocrity by taking the easy way out, by allowing my excuses to let me off the hook. And I think about excuses as, all our excuses are lies and there's a great video by Jocko Willink, it's sort of a clip from Jocko Willink's podcast where he talks about this better than I can about excuses. And I encourage you to watch that video cause it's inspiring for me and it's something to actually listen to on a regular basis just to remind myself about the truth of things, about how my excuses are all lies. And I the think about excuses is that if you constantly give yourself excuses then your brain becomes very good at doing it. So, there's something you wanna do, you're afraid to do it, you psych yourself up, you get the courage, as you're about to commence the last-minute excuses come rushing into your head. And they seem so rational, they seem so logical and oftentimes and I so struggle with this, oftentimes we just give in to them. So, we think oh yeah I can't do this now actually cause I don't have time today. Or do you know what? I don't feel so good about it today so I'll just skip today and I'll do it tomorrow instead. I'll definitely do it tomorrow. Now, how many times have said that in my mind about things like even going for a run. And we feel good because we we didn't have to struggle, we didn't have to face up to that challenging thing but again we know deep down that those excuses were lies. And thinking about all of the stuff, I realized that I'm not the only person making excuses like this for why I can't be who I want to be or excuses for simple things every day. Everyone's doing it. We're all doing it. And we're all making excuses to ourselves. We're all lying to ourselves more than anything. It's one thing to lie to other people, makes you a dishonest person in people's eyes but it's even worse than that to lie to yourself. When you lie to other people, you're already lying to yourself but sometimes you can be telling something to someone which they don't think is a lie and it sounds rational to everybody else but in your mind deep down you know it's a lie because you're not really facing your own truth. And that's the worst kind of lie. You can probably get away with lying to other people but you can never get away with lying to yourself because it eventually comes to bite you. Eventually, it'll come up in your mind again and you'll be forced to face the reality of those lies. You'll be forced to face the truth that your lies have kept you from being who you could have been, kept you from reaching your potential. And you have to strive to overcome that mentality. You have to strive in a world like this which is mediocre where you're surrounded by people who do this every day. You have to really work hard to become somebody who doesn't just give in to their excuses, somebody who goes beyond those lies, somebody who wants to face the truth and be aligned with the truth. And that's the really great thing about not giving into your excuses, about being disciplined, it's that everything is then in alignment. What you really want deep down is exactly what you're expressing out in front. It's not, oh I want this deep down but I'm too scared or I'm gonna get make some excuses and express something else. No, it's completely in alignment and you feel good. And I realized that this is how we're supposed to live. No, we're supposed to be courageous, we're supposed to be brave, we're supposed to be living with joy and how can you live with joy if you're not in alignment with what you feel at the deepest level? And how can you do that, if you give in to your excuses and your lies? If you basically are mediocre? This is one thing that I'm working on and I don't expect the world to change. I'm not trying to change the world around me. I don't think it will but it shouldn't matter, right. It shouldn't matter what the standard is around me. I should be aiming for the highest standard possible for myself in every area of my life. Sure you can look at the world around and say, well there's a lot of mediocrity in the world, a lot of mediocrity is rewarded. We've got this idea you know of people aren't as mentally tough as they used to be. You know safe spaces, social justice warriors, all this kind of stuff. People are perhaps more open-minded than they used to be although ironically free speech is under attack having said that. People are not as able to concentrate as they used to be able to because of the plethora of smartphones and all these devices and distractions we have around us. But none of this shouldn't matter if you can identify what it is that you need to do, what it is that you want to do in your life. And if you can focus in on that and drive yourself towards excellence then you can hit the levels that you're able to hit regardless of how everybody else is doing. So, in that sense it's not even, you don't even need to look what other people are doing, you just need to know what it is that you need to do for your life and just be honest with yourself about where you are right now and where you need to be and just work on it. And that gets me to the topic of greatness. You know greatness isn't something that you achieve once, it's not something that you it's expressed in something you own or something you have. Greatness is who you are as a person is what you express every day, every day of your life. You know as you live your days so you live your life, your days are your life in miniature. That's a quote I got from Robin Sharma. It's a great quote. And I think it's true. So, every day is an opportunity for you to express who you are and you can wake up and express mediocrity or you can wake up and strive to express greatness. And greatness is like perfection, it's not something you can't really reach a point where you can say, I'm great. You can never reach it. You can just strive towards it and that striving, that process is what makes you better and makes you hit the right notes and makes you be courageous and makes you face up to the truth. And it's something you wanna do every single day and keep doing it. And if you fall off the wagon, no worries, get back on it. I've got my days where I miss a training routine or I miss a bit of work that I was supposed to do. It happens to me still. I try to be disciplined but sometimes I miss it and sometimes I miss it because I make up an excuse. You know lame reasons really but I always try and get back on it and I'm always being honest with myself about the fact that it was a lame excuse that stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. And that's how I get back on the wagon. Always still pushing myself and I know, I will get to the point maybe six months from now where I'll be a lot more disciplined than I am now and I won't be dropping off the wagon as often or at all hopefully. So, that's something that I'm working on. You know greatness, overcoming mediocrity and just trying to see and trying to notice and observe in my life, in myself, in the people around me, in the world around me where where I notice mediocrity and trying to rise above it. So, whether it's people shutting down free speech cause they find certain opinions uncomfortable, that's mediocre, that whole approach is mediocre. Whether it's politicians not able to give a straight answer to questions, always you know dodging questions, never just saying what they really think, again that's mediocre. Or whether it's just people being satisfied with mediocre results and patting themselves on the back and calling themselves a success. I mean a lot of people especially in country that I live in, I mean a lot of people just have it easy. It's a very wealthy country. It's got a well-run government compared to a lot of other countries. Systems are well-run, systems are well-managed again relative to a lot of other countries. And if you're out of a job then there's an unemployment benefit. I mean there's work to be found, there's a good education system. I mean all the opportunities are right here and things are always improving and getting better and it's a fairly liberal society fairly open society. So, there isn't really a lot of struggle at the fundamental level. If you're just the average person with the average set of issues then actually there's just a lot of opportunity in front of you and there's no reason for you to remain mediocre in that sense. There's no reason for you to not be able to go and hit the things you wanna hit and in terms of your goals. And yet a lot of people don't really push themselves. They don't really strive and it's because we like to be comfortable. We head towards comfort by default as human beings and we don't want this company discomfort but to grow as a person you need to have discomfort, you need to be overcoming challenges because you need to be ultimately facing your own inner demons and we all we all have them. All the fears, we all have these fears. So, you actually have to consciously will yourself to face fears. You have to consciously will yourself to overcome these issues and that's how you get better. And that just doing that itself puts you in a different category to everybody around you. And that's how it is when you when you start this journey of personal development and and self-improvement and personal growth. You really have to drive yourself. No one else is gonna come and drive you and you have to remind yourself and use whatever tools you have in your toolbox to keep yourself on that path and it's worth it in the end because it's gonna make you a more disciplined person. You're gonna make fewer excuses, you're gonna be a more honest individual, people will find you more trustworthy, more reliable and you'll end up having a better life for yourself as a result and you'll be more free in your mind. So, even that, just more freedom. Just as a result of doing these things and I think it's worth it.