BY BAYO OGUNMUPE
Fear Mediocrity For It Kills
DEAR reader, this is the knowledge I wish to share with you. I am an advocate of being exceptional in anything you do. I have been privileged to take this topic many times over the past year. Meanwhile, I want to say: The very things that make you feel afraid are the very doorways into your leadership best.
As you read through, I want you to clear your mind and let the message sink into you and help you become cautious of the most dangerous killer of careers, dreams and success. The enemy of good is great. Greatness detests good, because the comfort of being good is what makes some of us not exceed our boundaries and get to the state of being exceptional.
Which takes us back to what mediocrity means. Mediocrity is averageness: a quality that is adequate or acceptable but not very good, not exceptional. A mediocre person is someone who lacks any special skill or flair. In these definitions, you can clearly see that there is a thin line between average and failure, people who always settle for less. People who enjoy swimming in the pool of mediocrity usually do not get to become very successful.
They are those who work four hours a day and tell themselves they have done their best; whilst watching a colleague in the same office doing eight hours on average everyday. To become successful and attain mastery in your occupation you have to consciously practise for a total of 10,000 hours.
Talent is not enough to take us to Treasure Island. For example, look at Christiano Ronaldo, Messi. Why don’t we hear some players whenever they are calling Messi and Ronaldo? Remember, some of them came to limelight about the same time during their under 21 competition. Most of us thought Mikel will rival Messi for a long time. Well, talent was what brought them to limelight, gave their face to the world but only deliberate practice and effort in becoming the best and not staying in the state of mediocrity makes the like of Ronaldo exceptional.
It was said that Ronaldo trains three extra hours after his team mates are done for the day. Where do you think those extra hours go to? They actually show in his performance on the field of play. Now you know why you don’t hear from some musicians, while 2-Face Idibia lasted the test of time. Indeed, these mediocrity states lie in everyone’s life but if you do not consciously look into yourself, the truth about your performance, most importantly know when you have started becoming a mediocre person, you will never know how much damage you have done to yourself in the past.
There are four major symptoms of mediocrity. They are: lack of vision, compromise, indecision and always holding on to the past. Because you are comfortable with where you are now and not seeking to be exceptional, you will lack vision. The mediocre person easily compromises in his daily activities. You are to deliver 50 items a day; you delivered 30 and feel you have done well because you have exceeded average. Trust me, you are a mediocre person.
Mediocrity ensnared you because you do not actually stretch your boundaries daily and you hardly work to test other hypotheses of your career and work. Imagine Solomon who consciously works eight hours daily and Judas who works four hours a day, at the end of one year, Solomon would have worked for 2,920 hours while Judas has 1,460. This means Solomon must have stretched his mental, physical and experimental powers 1,460 hours more than Judas.
In the early days of their partnership, this might not be really measurable. But this will become more pronounced after a year. Then Solomon becomes more exceptional, he takes on more responsibilities; he even works longer and delivers more than Judas, hence his promotion. Judas would never realise the tides favouring Solomon was coming from those extra hours of work that Solomon has put into his career.
What happens to Judas after a while? He becomes disillusioned, obsolete, irrelevant, lacking skill, innovation, creativity, lazy, unproductive and unhappy. However, some mediocre persons work hard, they just don’t exceed their boundaries. They get tired and assume that is the best they can do. They abhor risks, they rather do the same thing over and over again. They are always afraid of change and are never willing to welcome it even when it becomes inevitable.
But there are three things you must do to avoid mediocrity. One, avoid procrastination. Begin whatever you want to do immediately. Whatsoever thou resolveth to do, do it immediately, reserve not to the evening what the morning can accomplish. There are no more than 24 hours in a day. Stamp your feet to face the challenges of the day. Two, the very things that make you feel afraid are the very doorways into your leadership best.
Things you have never done before that looks like opportunity will always scare you. Taking calculated risks is the best decision you can ever make to become an exceptional person. Not doing anything out of the fear of the unknown is the true behaviour of the mediocre person. Always take chances. This is what great and successful leaders do. It is fine to be content but never be satisfied. Thus, you must improve yourself daily, relentlessly and passionately. When you do this, you become exceptional.
Being exceptional requires that you never set limitations on yourself. Cut out all low impact work. Obsessively focus on high-impact work. Use every minute of your life doing only those things that will get you nearer where you want to go. Do fewer but better things. Keep moving forward. Keep making the smartest choices and actions. Be persistent and patient, when taking action. Stay away from mediocre persons, they will infect you with mediocrity. Cut them off totally for they will eat into your time and undermine your productivity. Finally, remember that all good is hard. All evil is easy. Cheating is easy, stay away from easy things; they are the road to mediocrity.