When you’re a kid, you’re encouraged to go beyond the standard. You’re expected to try harder or do more. Then you get into your 30s and you find yourself committed to a good enough job because you have to maintain your lifestyle.
Ever wonder what happened? When did you lose your desire for more? You seek advice from friends and family only to be told ‘this is a part of growing up’ or “this is as good as it gets.’
Is your disillusion the problem? Or is it that you’ve created life or mindset that has settled for good enough?
Somewhere in your journey, mediocrity came knocking at the door and you unknowingly welcomed it in. Gave it space. Fed it. Ensured that it was a comfortable house guest. You thought it was a temporary agreement. Now you have no clue how to evict it.
One of the reasons change can be hard is because we’ve unknowingly conditioned ourselves to aim for good enough. It’s an invisible standard that exists in our careers, relationships, and personal goals. We may have even unknowingly created habits and routines to reinforce it.
Mediocrity tells you you don’t need to succeed, you just need to sustain. You think you’re doing well but you’re actually only doing enough. Creating true change will require you to identify and examine the ways in which you’ve been normalizing mediocrity.
Here are a few ways to spot it:
Low standards: Anything just a little bit better will stand out, even if it’s not the standard that you were promised.
Low expectations: You don’t have an opinion about things that affect your life. You excuse behaviors that would bother someone else by saying there’s nothing you can do about it.
Not seeking feedback: You don’t ask someone who may have a better way of doing things or expanded way of thinking to give you feedback.
Taking things or people for granted: You don’t acknowledge excellence or high standards of care, support or work from others.
Adjusting your goals: You make your goals and then adjust when someone challenges them or if it gets too hard.
Being a people pleaser: You are eager to accommodate or create harmony and hesitant to challenge.
Blaming others: Reflecting on yourself is much more difficult than finding fault in someone else.
Finding excuses: You’re a parent. You’re too busy. You don’t have the money. You find time for the things that matter to you. Improvement may not be one of them.
Defensiveness: When someone calls you out on an area of improvement, you immediately become defensive. That’s your ego trying to protect itself. You dismiss the feedback and find ways to reassure your ego.
Not questioning the standard: You’re a go with the flow person because you don’t think you can do better than what you have. You don’t want to appear to be demanding or difficult so you just go with it. Even when you know something about it isn’t working for you.
Not prioritizing yourself: Living your life according to someone else’s priorities aligns you with their standards.
This isn’t a call for you to seek perfection either. There’s a happy medium. It’s just a matter of finding it.
You should aspire to be the best version of yourself. That reason is simple: nothing external will bring you true peace or happiness. That’s a social construct. And it’s a crap ton of responsibility to assign to someone else. You own your happiness.