only you know

to say something is average is to measure it against a set of others. in your opinion you may call this blog average in comparison to the many other blogs you’ve read. you may call it above or below average, but the measure is clear in that it is compared against others. to perform above average on a test is to objectively perform better than others. can you perform above average in a mediocre way? can you perform below average with excellence?

i argue that you can. average is a comparison against others and we spend far too much of our time fighting against it. for some, being above average by any measure takes very little effort. for others, getting to average is a monumental feat. it depends on circumstance, motivation and effort. that’s where mediocrity comes in. mediocrity carries a definition of failing to meet expectations, not good enough, moderate or undistinguished. the measure is vague. rather than an external measure i find that only you can determine if your work, performance and life fall into the category of mediocre. i believe mediocrity is a matter of effort. an internal gauge that only you know. quit comparing yourself against the average and internally measure your effort.

i found that there are areas where i may perform above average, but in reality i’m quite mediocre. and others where i fall well short of what would be considered average and for my effort i’m quite proud. i took a marketing course in grad school that was quite easy for me. so, i didn’t buy the text book, did the bare minimum of work necessary in order to get an a. my grade in the class was above average but my internal measure of my performance was mediocre. by embracing mediocrity i let myself down, missed out on learning and remained disengaged from the class. on the other hand, upon finishing a master’s degree my wife and i were flat broke with a stack of student loans. our financial situation was far below average compared to others our age. for several months we buckled down to pay off the loans, sacrificed and gave a huge effort to get out from under the debt. despite being in a below average situation we were anything but mediocre. we leaned in, gave our best effort and accomplished our goal of eliminating debt and getting our net worth up to a positive number.

mediocre, as a judgement, has been misused. rather than an external measure carrying connotations of shame let it serve as an internal measure of motivation. check effort not ability. it’s our effort that determines whether or not our results are mediocre regardless of how they compare to the average. only you know if you’re embracing mediocrity.

…coming up…it’s not curiosity that killed the cat

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