In movies and television today it’s popular and okay to be mediocre and average. There are many shows that portray people living with dead end jobs, messed up family lives, and even addictions. In watching these shows you get the idea that this is the way life is supposed to be so just settle in. The characters have lost all hope of a better life and have become sarcastic about it. They are stuck in a rut of family drama, bad luck, and may be using some form of addiction to cope with it. Some eat, shop, exercise, or have sex in excess. We see this so often now that being stuck in an addiction has become a normal response. This leads people to feeling like a victim of circumstances.
The message seems to be that it is okay to be this way. It’s okay to be an alcoholic, sex addict, or obese. It’s okay to have a crappy job, to live in a bad relationship, or to have screwed up kids. Why should you change your life if you see it as acceptable on TV?
The problem with shows such as this is they set too low a standard for your life. I know it feels good to see someone else struggling with their life too. In fact many of the people shown in the media are far more messed up that the average American. We find solace is seeing somebody else who is more messed up than we are. It makes us feel good about ourselves. I think it is great to feel good about yourself. I’m all for it. I think we should feel good as much as possible. However, let’s feel good for the right reasons. Let’s feel good because we did well in school, found a great job, or met someone special. Let’s feel good because we became a responsible parent or did a good deed.
If you’re life is not where you want it then you will not feel very good. This is valuable feedback that some change is required to make an improvement. If we fill our lives with feeling good about falsehoods then we are living a lie. I believe we need to have a higher standard for our lives than we see in the media. We need to be working to improve our relationships. We need to be trying harder in school. We need to be moving up in our careers or starting our own businesses. We need not to rob ourselves of valuable feedback.
I’m not saying that we should feel bad all the time either. Everyone needs to have some fun in life and freedom from their worries. However, there are many ways to do this without just lowering our standards.
If we lower our standards far enough we will feel better about ourselves. We can compare ourselves to others. At least I can pay my bills. At least I’m not as bad the that guy in the movie. That may work for a while. Maybe we can even do this for a lifetime. If we do this and accept being mediocre we may even feel happy about life, but it won’t be a fulfilled life. Being mediocre doesn’t leave enough room to have dreams.
In order to have dreams you need to be better than mediocre. Dreams require a higher standard. One that modern culture rarely shows us. Dreams require that we evaluate where we are and become dissatisfied. Only by becoming dissatisfied can we take ourselves to a higher level. Yes, we will feel unhappy for a while, but that unhappiness becomes a reason for moving forward. A reason for changing our lives. A reason to fix that relationship. A reason to quit that job. A reason to start a business. A reason to seek help for addiction if necessary. A reason for expecting more from ourselves.
Dreams and vision are the stuff of greatness. Men and women of great accomplishment and wealth all have dreams. Those without dreams will end up working for those that do have them. Read the biography of any person of accomplishment and you’ll see that they were driven by their dreams. It got them out of bad early even morning and kept them up at night. They taught themselves what was necessary. They sought out the assistance of others. They molded themselves into a person who could achieve their dream. They forgot about their worries, feelings of inadequacy, and shortcomings. They concentrated on their strengths instead of their weaknesses.
So the falsehood that mediocrity is okay must be replaced by the truth that we must live by a higher standard. We need to have dreams and allow those dreams to consume us. To allow those dreams to mold our lives into who we will be when we accomplish them. The dreams themselves are important. We will celebrate their accomplishment and reap the rewards when finished. However, it is who we will become along the way that is most important. We will become a person who is confident, capable, inspired, and a leader. A person who can overcome large obstacles and more importantly overcome themselves.
The truth is that we are all extraordinary. We all won the genetic lottery and were born. That itself is an amazing accomplishment.