Over the past couple of years, I’ve met a lot of what society would deem as successful people. It’s what the others peg them as. And I noticed they are all following the same pattern. They have sky high aspirations, when they start talking you’d think they’re on a mission to save the world, but they settle for mediocre results at the end of the day. Everywhere I go I come across people who are thrilled about their newest logo, website, article or product that someone else developed for them, and all I can see is something bland, with no quality, that doesn’t illustrate their wannabe character or values. It doesn’t illustrate their aspirations at all, and all I can see are infinite opportunities for development. That comes with being exposed to both worlds, the one constantly evolving where magic happens, and the one where evolution stopped and every business is exactly like thousands of others.
I am still baffled by how content people are with low quality. I am still shocked that wantrepreneurs who present open source work as their own customized creation are revered by the uninformed client. They don’t even know to explain properly what their activity is. Maybe because it’s 99% based on copy/paste? Meanwhile, those who struggle to create something original on their own are disregarded or crushed by the mediocre audience.
How do those high aspirations coexist with mediocrity? The same way high self esteem coexists with ignorance. When we settle for mediocrity more and more, we stop perceiving it as mediocrity. Instead, we start thinking it’s the norm, and then we even mistake it for brilliance and excellence. When we’re convinced we’ve reached the peak of our evolution and we’ve got the world at our feet, we stop trying to grow. Mediocrity isn’t a story about continuous growth or constant reflection, it’s quite the opposite. Being knowledgeable in every aspect gives us control over our lives. It’s not just about knowing the latest tech trends, it’s about knowing ourselves and the world around us, past, present and future. Being informed and putting that info to its best use is being powerful.
Society keeps on telling us we can be anything and do anything we set our minds to. I believe it too, especially the do part, because I’ve been living it for a while now. Unfortunately, no one teaches us how to do it, so it’s each for their own. Some people know themselves well and are fully aware of what they can achieve and how much they have to work for that. Because work is the only way we can achieve anything. Most people though have surrealistic expectations and will settle for much less at the end of the day. They stop at imitating others since they are incapable of creating added value themselves. That goes down to the conflict between their ideal selves (who they aspire to be) and their actual selves (who they really are).
The funny thing about people with high aspiration who settle for mediocrity is that they always strive to realize their potential. They are addicted to self development, personal development, any kind of development, without actually developing anything. That’s because they are horrified of change and they have no actual wish to better themselves. Some of them know better and could achieve it, but decide not to do it. They do not want to sacrifice their comfort and trade it for the unknown and uncertainty.
People have choices, and they can choose greatness or mediocrity. Sometimes settling for less can be like dying a slow death. Some people accept things for what they are, without stopping to think how they could change them. Although their instinct tells them there is something wrong with their lives, they try to quench it with consumerism, fighting for a higher status and settling comparisons in their favor.
Napoleon Hill wrote this 80 years ago, but it perfectly fits our days and it should be what we strive for to get those extraordinary results which match our aspirations:
… this changed world in which we live is demanding new ideas, new ways of doing things, new leaders, new inventions, new methods of teaching, new methods of marketing, new books, new literature, new features for the radio, new ideas for moving pictures.
Back of all this demand for new and better things, there is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning DESIRE to possess it.
[…] This changed world requires practical dreamers who can, and will put their dreams into action. The practical dreamers have always been, and always will be the pattern-makers of civilization.
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