It’s one word that could set you up with an internal conflict, have you fighting over a blank page, unsynchronized music, an empty canvas, a horrible meeting, bad vibes and a shitty day.
Mediocrity. It’s not abstract — never was.
It’s the one thing that is more dreadful than inactivity, more imperative than the destination you have in mind, scarier than taking the flagrant ride toward an easy way out, and at least as imposing and overpowering as the passion you set out to fulfill.
Afterward, everything boils down to the few things you didn’t do, and that you are going to come back to later in life and wish you had. It’s because you began to patronize your inability that you ended up being inactive. You no longer had the cataloged vision of when you were going to live your dream, your muse, your meaning, and detoured toward the other 99% of scrap-practices. You took the flagrant ride toward the easy way out.
You let what you thought was mediocre in you get around to spoiling your passion, and decided to stand those to the test of time.
It’s what you call yourself when you don’t know how you are going to commit to a process and embark on a journey you couldn’t be sure is right for you. But still, you have a place to be, a process to adapt, and insecurities to digest and overcome.
It’s what you become when you can’t go through a sensitive part of yourself to where you are able to give everything from your order and routine a new meaning, and adapt to a lifestyle where mornings aren’t filled with caffeine, and nights aren’t slept away entirely.
It’s what you look to a peer or a colleague if you can’t go through meetings and conferences with an insightful and a rational mind, and as keynote speaker can’t move the hearts of people to where you want them to empathize. Or if you are a writer, a painter, a musician, or a movie-maker, but can’t show up to practicing your craft everyday for all the 365 days of the year.
However, if you can keep going down your road, and care only about the ways you can improve in whatever it is you do, you will be in a dynamic cycle of demanding only the best from yourself that other people can appreciate and consume with as much interest.
1. You have to prepare yourself to stand the worst kinds of failures.
Most people never succeed because they are not, to say the least, prepared to take failures in their most basic forms.
We always want to escape the vicious circle of mediocrity, but don’t exactly go through the right processes of doing so with effectiveness and transparency.
The only thing that stands between you and a mediocre product is the source you can always hope to learn from this side of the line.
There is a higher chance of mediocrity creeping in your standards when you are so hell-bent on letting only the best through that you have to make judgement calls, desperate maneuvers, and instinctive decisions along the way of reaching a very high baseline — at the very start.
Instead, teach yourself to start with very little — and even if you failed at that, it would always be in your reach to learn from, rather than when you start big, only to abandon, saying, “It was too tough for me anyway, and the big guys won’t teach me.”
2. Have your own voice.
Having your own voice can go a long way to help you perfect your craft. It’s when you try to do something that’s entirely not yours that you make leaps your engine just was not designed to make — yet.
Most people like to connect with the kind of vulnerability they thought they were the only ones who’d had. If you can share with others your deepest emotions just to assure them they are not alone, that it’s alright to yearn for a shoulder to cry on, that it’s okay to rip jeans to try and fit in, that you know exactly what it takes to go from having nothing and a few cents to having something and a million dollars — because you’ve been there — then share.
Nothing resonates with people better than “I have been there”, that they can hear from a unique voice.
3. Whip your confidence back into form.
If you don’t want to be the one who was pointed at and told all he ever created was mediocre content, with skills that weren’t much up to par, you better start acting like you know what you are doing.
And characteristically, you consider withdrawing yourself to a corner in the self-pity of “acceptance” a better alternative to putting yourself in the field and testing what you can cast yourself into.
You can’t scare anyone by saying “Boo”, but you can get a lot done by just having the confidence that you can, rather than living a dreadful submission to becoming a clown instead.
4. Learn enough to be able to relate different fields of knowledge.
Everything that you do comes from a resource pool that you have built for yourself over long periods of time, and through reading a lot of books, reflecting on podcasts and whatever it is you turn to for knowledge.
And if you don’t learn, you are not equipped for what it takes, and you may forever end up thinking it’s how your mind works that you don’t always find the words you need, or visions to follow, or inspirations to keep you moving.
After you have started to learn a lot, tailor contents to people in a way they are able to see the relatability between different fields, and between real life experiences and the state of psychological nature of humans.
If you know rocket science, tell it like you would to your pregnant wife after she’s gone into labor, and make it the sweetest, softest, the most comforting words she’d want to hear at the time, and guess what (let’s forget the baby for a moment), you’ve made rocket science a whole lot easier.
5. Find a mentor.
After all that you read, no resource in the world can teach you faster than a mentor who believes you are someone who can be molded into a solid person with a distinct and an impeccable skill-set.
A mentor can always save you the trouble of finding out what to pursue and what not to, which path to take, where to improvise, and how you can put more of your efforts in where they can tweak the necessary changes.
Nobody can be more clarified about where along the path to look for mediocrity, and what to do to create and do stuff that won’t be considered average, than the ones who had walked the path themselves.
6. Devise an actionable strategy.
There is very little you have to do to create a fail-safe method of building and honing your craft. It starts with creating a process that you can keep to for almost every day of the week, every month of the year.
The point is, it is not particularly about keeping in constant touch with your craft, as much as it is to preserve consistency and ensure practice that will one day make you into a better person that you will find hard to believe was someone so mediocre once.
Find out what works for you so well to maintain the consistency. And show up everyday to get your hands dirty.
7. Always be open to criticism.
Criticism is what makes you have a broad mind to the possibility of doing something the next time with better insights, and is also what helps you toward having the psychological shift from what you considered fundamental to what actually is.
And someone is offering such enormous value for the cost of a heartbreak (if that).
If, then, that’s the price you have to pay, don’t think twice. Pay it.
8. Mediocrity is contagious. Never surround yourself with people who can give it to you.
The factors of the environment you are in and the people surrounding you can alter the way you think, act and perform in more ways than you would have wished.
If all you surround yourself with are people who think it’s too much to wake up early in the morning to do what needs to get done, who spend Friday nights in bars, and who don’t care if they even have to do something to make their marks on this world, that’s who you will become.
Instead, surround yourself with people smarter than you, and have yourself practicing their methods and tactics so that you can outperform yourself constantly.
9. Don’t hesitate to invest in yourself.
Do you have to pay $500 for an art class that can make you into a better artist?
Do you have to buy and read personal development books so that you can figure out a way to improve who you are as a person, and consequently acquire the discipline required to practice your craft without flaw?
Do you have to invest all of your mental resources in creating breakthroughs rather than be afraid of what you can come up with?
You know you have to.
These are the kind of investments that will pay you off on a large scale in the future.
10. Never, ever, underestimate the value of time.
It’s true that whenever you spend your time doing things that couldn’t mean anything to you or your path, that’s also the same time you could rather have used for creating values that would mean something to you or your path.
It’s true of the time you spent wasting with your friends.
It’s true of the time you slept in very late into the morning.
It’s true of the time you thought you would spend researching for your project that you knew you were only using as an excuse for starting your project later.
And it could be handled by scheduling your activities, marking on your calendar, using reminders, and so on. But for the most part, all you have to do is be mindful of what you are giving your most time to — and if that doesn’t align with what you have in mind, retrace your steps and get back to doing what matters.
11. Give all of what you can.
In other words, never settle for the second best of yourself.
You have to be in a self-actualized state of yourself all the time. You have to know what’s the best you can give without overexerting.
And strive to make that happen.
There’s very little you can’t do once you set your mind to do a thing and are seriously passionate about it. All you have to do is direct the flow of your passion to where it’s required the most, and use it as leverage to get the most things done in a very short amount of time.
12. Don’t give up on who you need to be for who you are being made into.
You may be stuck in a cubicle for the rest of your life.
You may be working a 9–5 that you don’t like, or doing something that’s against your principles of who you’ve always wanted to become.
When it comes to that, remember one thing:
You are in the only available timeline when you are a lump of clay that can be reshaped. If you go too much into focusing on the person you are being made into, then that’s who you will become. And then when you wish to suddenly change yourself, you will have to break yourself — because you have already been made into a solid structure from when you were capable of being reshaped.
But you wouldn’t want to break yourself, now, would you?
Originally published at artplusmarketing.com