I had an epiphany the other day. I thought a ton about mediocrity and decided that many of us are wading through mediocrity, not realizing there are ways to climb out of the ruts that create mediocrity. Part of the challenge hinges on that we either choose this route or let the route of mediocrity choose us because we fail to do things that vault us toward excellence. Instead of choosing mediocrity, how do we choose excellence instead?
Here are seven ways, one for each day of the week, to help you wade right out of mediocrity:
Remember why you want to achieve—For most of us, we have always had goals to complete something, large or small, to improve ourselves. Some of us wanted to do something spectacular. Growing and harvesting vegetables is spectacular. Playing a musical instrument is pretty cool. Being able to do lots of things propels us forward to do other things. It is an incredible cycle—doing good reaps other good things. Often, though, life’s challenges provide a barrier, artificial or real, that impede our progress. Ultimately, we quit trying because it isn’t worth the effort. Truly, it is worth the effort of accomplishing what we set out to do.
Understand who you really are—All of us have been blessed with powers and abilities from on high. Yes, I believe in a Father in Heaven who gave us abilities to improve upon. The Parable of the Talents is pretty bold in its message that we need to improve upon the skills we are given or they will be taken away. Sometimes, we don’t even try to improve these skills and talents. Rather, we turn our heads the other way and never achieve what we are capable of achieving. We lose. Why not win by understanding who we really are?
Prepare to do and then do hard things—What? You want me to do hard things? Only if you want to progress and grow. Hard things are hard to do because they require huge amounts of effort. But what good thing doesn’t? Ask the current Olympians in Rio. Are they where they are today because they were afraid to do hard things? Hardly. They practiced hours each day and for several years before they won a medal. Doing hard things makes us stronger and willing to improve.
Think positively—Some people may say that power of positive thinking is passé. I still think being a positive thinker is still in vogue. Many of our workplaces and many places in the world are choking with negativity, and it is creating a literal moral collapse. People are afraid to even go outside. That’s scary to me that we have lost and continue to lose the good and positive feelings in the world. Think about the positive people you know? Don’t you want to be around them and enjoy their positivity and then let some of it seep into your life? I know I do. There is something contagious about a positive workplace or a person.
Increase your skills—One of the best ways of climbing out of mediocrity is increasing your skills. Lots of colleges and universities offer courses and credential programs that enhance our skills. Plus, many of the companies you all work for offer courses and classes to help their employees gain additional skills. The key hinges on taking advantage of those classes. Perhaps, setting goals at the beginning of year or even talking to your supervisor who can suggest areas you can improve. Most importantly, though, is your decision to improve and slog your way out of mediocrity.
Worry about what you need to do, not what others should do—Too often, we worry too much about others and what they should do when, in reality, we ought to be focused on ourselves. Perhaps, watching others and pointing out to them their short comings prevent us from having to think about our own frailties. Focusing on self-improvement doesn’t necessarily mean we forget about others. Rather, serving others often pushes us toward self-improvement without us really thinking about it. Our self-absorption really lulls us in to being selfless.
Think lofty thoughts and follow through with them—To quit wandering through mediocrity, we actually have to look up once in a while and see the larger picture, make goals to move ourselves forward, and then actually do something to help ourselves. It does not do any good to think lofty thoughts and allow them to wallow in the “lofty-thoughts-bucket” until they dissipate into nothingness. If we allow this to occur, then we will be mediocre or worse for our entire lives. And that’s no fun at all.
At President Cecil Samuelson’s Inauguration Address at Brigham Young University (BYU), President Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remarked; “Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
I believe this. I am capable of doing something better, and I sincerely believe that you are do. Are you ready to leave your wanderings through mediocrity and rise above it?