Can Embracing Mediocrity be a Good Thing?

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What does it mean to be mediocre? Can being mediocre be a good thing?

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Mediocracy

Mediocracy

Can Embracing Mediocrity be a Good Thing?

Kylie Jenner, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Billie Eilish, Usain Bolt, Charli D’Amelio, Christiano Ronaldo…what do they all have in common? 

Apart from being household names, each has had hugely successful careers and are extremely talented in their respective fields. 🏆

They range from the youngest self-made billionaire, an American actor who has appeared in over 55 movies; a singer-songwriter who has won seven Grammys at the age of 21; an eight-time Olympic gold medallist; a famous TikToker with 149 million followers and last but not least, a professional footballer who has scored over 800 goals for club and country. 💰🎭🎶🥇📹⚽️

The reality is that most of us won’t accomplish half of these achievements. This could leave us feeling mediocre and that our achievements are nothing to write home about. But what does it mean to be mediocre? Can being mediocre be a good thing?

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines mediocre as something or someone ‘of only average quality; not very good’. But there is more to mediocrity than meets the eye. 👀

While these super stars are synonymous with being the best of the best, you might be surprised to know that their paths to prominence hasn’t been as plain sailing as you might think., They’ve all made sacrifices over the years to work their way to the top. And, their methods to do so have led some to question how healthy these habits and actions are. 

So, here’s some food for thought in embracing mediocrity. 

It helps us to remove the often impossible standards and pressure to excel in every area we partake in. Dr. Gail Golden, a leading psychologist and performance coach, is an advocate for embracing mediocrity, and in an interview for Forbes magazine in 2020 she shared that: 

“If you try to be great at everything, you’ll probably be great at nothing, and you’ll wear yourself out in the process”.

Scientists have conducted many studies over the years on the effect perfectionism has on an individual’s mental and physical well-being. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, wrote an article for The Washington Post last year on the dangers of perfectionism. In the article, she explained that this ‘relentless pursuit of flawlessness’is a harmful mindset, and your mental health will suffer as a result. 🧠 

She continues that when we fail to achieve our self-imposed idea of perfection, we ‘beat ourselves up with harsh self-criticism’

With this in mind, when you strive for greatness across the board, you can run the risk of becoming your own worst enemy.

Jonny Wilkinson, one of the most renowned rugby union players of all time, is a good example of this. Jonny played for England between 1998-2011 and made his debut at 18 years old. Considered by many a rugby legend, he scored the winning drop-goal for England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final against Australia with only 28 seconds left on the clock. 🏟

Despite this phenomenal accomplishment, and loads more in his career, many would argue that he had some pretty bizarre habits and obsessive training programmes. His regime has faced scrutiny in the past as it consisted of kicking rugby balls non-stop for six+ hours a day and even reportedly brushing up on his technique on Christmas Day! He would also practise until as late as 10:30 pm if he didn’t think his kicking was up to scratch that day. 🏉

Perhaps he was taking the phrase: ‘practice makes perfect’ a bit too literally. All of this begs the questions what is the price these public figures pay for their success? And, what toll does this have on their happiness and overall quality of life?🤔

The truth is, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for these celebs who we admire and appear to have it all. In fact, over the last decade, Jonny has opened up about his battle with mental health in interviews, his podcast, I AM… with Jonny Wilkinson, and most famously in his autobiography, Jonny: My Biography. Jonny admitted in an interview with The Guardian in 2014 that: “my obsession to win has, in the past, made my life hell”. 🎙📕

So, what would happen if we took the pressure off ourselves, did our best, accepted we’re not perfect and embraced mediocrity as the way forward?

Imagine the time we would have for the things that really matter in life if we didn’t let the idea perfection be so consuming. Spending time with our loved ones, rather than neglecting them in search of being the best sounds quite compelling. Instead of getting down in the dumps when we make mistakes or don’t do something perfectly, we truly accept that we tried our best and can’t be good at everything.

So what should we do? Should we aim to be an all-rounder instead?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines an all-rounder as someone who‘has many different skills and abilities’which got us thinking… Maybe being an all-rounder is something that we should all strive towards. Think about it, being able to apply yourself in a variety of different areas AND to a satisfactory degree is pretty impressive and a big achievement. Arguably even more of an achievement than being an expert or great at just one thing. 🤩

Why not give it a go and see what happens? 

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