Embracing Mediocrity: Redefining Success and Expectations

Greatness is in your DNA! But what if that is not the case? What if the greatest height that you attain in life is but a mediocre one? What if real greatness is reserved for just a few? I remember watching Chris Rock in one of his stand up performances, joke about the way most parents love telling their children how great they are. Telling them how anything they put their minds too can be achieved. That they are special among people in this world. With the punch line being that they’re really not. That we’re feeding our children falsehoods and setting up unrealistic expectations for them. Sounds deeply depressing of course. But it has been said that 98% of people die without fulfilling their goals and dreams. Leaving a mere 2% that would have attained some measure of real success in their lifetime. Depending on the source that number can range anywhere between 2% and 8% of people that actually achieve success in their lives.

So what does that mean for the rest of us? The depressingly mediocre among us. Those holding onto ideals of their greatness dancing around only in their heads. Delusions of grandeur run amok because to face reality would be to lose hope. So we dream. But are we all truly deluded? Or have we learned to accept, and to define for ourselves what success looks and feels like? Perhaps we are so conditioned to check off the boxes of things attained, the career, the house, the family, the money in the bank, and all the other trappings of life that our definitions of success is directly tied to those. Perhaps these are truly all we have. The formula we have been applying is one that has been designed to create a particular and very similar outcome. Hence the sameness of our existence. We jockey for superiority, but often fail to realize that we’re jockeying for superiority among a mediocre group of like minded people. It would probably serve us better to acknowledge the fact that there are certain levels that we will likely only attain and that there are a few among us that have what it takes, or that have been anointed, or blessed or have been given the keys to break free. 

Not that this means defeat, that we should let our ambitions wither and die. But that we should also frame our expectations, some have said, have no expectations for that matter, and see where our desires take us. The goal oriented nature of society sets many up for failure, for regret. The inability to achieve a particular goal signals a defeat, another knockdown, to use a little boxing parlance. One that further weakens our resolve and desire to get up and continue. For many it’s repetitive. Down for a bit and we try again. Achieving some wins along the way but never really getting to that big win that was promised to us as a child. So many simply wallow in regret. Having lost sight of the actual journey, and the importance of celebrating the actual wins along the way. The embracing of our mediocrity, but not necessarily seeing it as a failure. This was the cup we were given and it can only be filled to this point. Some of us were given much bigger cups and the ability to fill them…


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