The Ebb and Flow of Mediocrity

I’ve often found myself considering restraint in sharing my knowledge with some, because of the ridiculous assumption that in doing so, I may render myself redundant. But then I started considering previous times when I did share such knowledge and noticed how few embraced it. It’s really simple, this whole leadership thing. Take accountability for who you are, and lead by example. If you have the conviction, it will hold you in good stead, if you don’t, you’ll be a victim. Based on the simplicity of it all, I assumed that it would be readily adopted by most, given how sincerely everyone chants about their desire to rise above their circumstances. I’ve since discovered that those chants are hollow. It’s the quiet conviction that is evident only in action that holds any truth these days.

The vast majority are so secure in celebrating their struggles, that they refuse to grasp a reality without it. They’ve chosen to be defined by their struggles. The rest of the meek look up to them as martyrs fighting the good fight, but refusing to see the self-deprecating behavior that keeps them firmly in that cycle because recognising such behaviour will inevitably lead to a self-realisation that will shake their world. I would never have believed that success was so daunting to so many if I didn’t witness it first hand. But it can’t be success, can it? I mean, everyone spends their lives trying to be successful in some way or another, so perhaps it’s their definition of success, the subconscious definition that needs to be questioned.

I think too many of us define a reality of success that is different to our dream of success. We create goals that are based on ideal outcomes, and then look around to see our less-than-ideal circumstances, and resign those goals to being mere ideals and therefore unattainable. Then we focus on what is realistically achievable based on our current circumstances, measure that against our past successes, and calibrate our expectations of success against that. Little do we realise that in so doing, we have just defined mediocrity, and lost sight of true success. So what is true success then?

I think true success is where our ideals meet with our convictions, so that we find ourselves creating the circumstances we need to achieve the idealistic goals that we desire. However, this demands a healthy ego, and an equally healthy passion driven by purpose. The one without the other is a recipe for humiliation. The ego is needed to establish the conviction that convinces us that we are capable, while the purpose driven passion is what keeps us focused on the outcome we set out to achieve. Again, sounds simple enough, yet so many still get it wrong. Why?

The answer to that question, I believe, is easier than most would like to accept. It’s not the fear of success that holds us back, but the fear of accountability. Letting go of a struggle that has come to define who we are inevitably leaves us wanting when that struggle no longer holds true. And in there lies the ebb and flow of mediocrity. Some go through a lifetime redefining that struggle in order to ensure that it always holds relevance, while just a few shrug off the stigma of their struggles and choose to reinvent themselves as many times as is needed to get closer to the ideals of their dreams.

The world is full of meekness clothed in aggression and pompous displays of trophies. When such is the prevailing reality, it stands to reason that those with purpose will be scorned as dreamers who will amount to nothing, until they do, followed by the masses swaying to celebrate the triumphs that they themselves scorned to begin with. Success by association is the food for the masses. It gives more people purpose than purpose itself.

Contemplating this leaves a distinctly bitter after taste about the state of this world I find myself in. The difficulty of not being one of the masses in a society that has polarized towards group thinking and collective accountability, is that finding your success can be an intensely lonely path, leaving any subsequent embrace in the face of success deprived of sincerity.

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