climbing slides: scrambling out of mediocrity

“settling is no fun. it’s a malignant habit, a slippery slope that takes you to mediocrity.”

– seth godin in tribes

settling is not any fun, but it is definitely easy. easy is good, right? doesn’t take much out of me. doesn’t cost much in the short term. college was easy for me. i didn’t have read much, didn’t really buy books, didn’t work hard and still made good grades. but, i wasn’t challenged. i wasn’t learning. i wasn’t growing. i was getting by. i’ve had a job or two that went the same way. it’s easy to embrace the status quo. you just hold on to what’s easy now. come on, try it, you’ll like it. i sound like a bad 80’s anti-drug commercial.

anyway, someday we wake up midway down the slippery slope of mediocrity wondering how we got there. turning around like ralphie to santa claus in a christmas story when he’s half way down the slide begging for an “official red ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle”, but instead of an air rifle, we’re begging for our lives. once we realize the difficulty of scrambling back up the slide, the fight against the gravitational pull of mediocrity, we are in for a battle. it’s going to be a fight to get off the slide. a fight to recover what has been lost. to rebuild. to rehabilitate the parts of heart, soul, body and mind that have gone dormant during the slide.

what are your cues? mine were the extra 20 pounds i was carrying, shortness toward the people i love and general boredom. what is it for you? do you stay isolated from others? have you packed on a few too many pounds from inattention? is your job boring you out of your mind? have you hit your ceiling? are you increasingly bitter or angry? are you following the crowd? have you lost creativity, adventure, inquisitiveness, hope, joy, laughter or dreams? i describe my life during this kind of season as lacking color. just hues of gray like the midwestern winter sky. bland, gray and lifeless. have you resigned yourself to just saying “it is what it is”? if so, grab hold the side rails of the slide to mediocrity, turn around and scramble for your life to set yourself on a different, divergent path.

no one will do it for you. it will not come easily. slide climbing is tough work, but rerouting your life not just away from mediocrity, but to satisfaction, liveliness, creativity and engagement is an accomplishment that will yield life long returns.

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