Making the Case for Mediocrity

Uncategorized Oct 06, 2020

I love athletes. I love how driven we are, I love how when things get tough, we push harder. I love that quitting is the dirtiest word for us, way more than losing even. I love that we hold others to high standards and ourselves to even higher ones.

I admire this about us... but right now, I know that some of us need to take a chill pill. I am here to remind you today - during an election year, record-breaking wildfire season, and global pandemic - that IT'S OKAY to be mediocre for a little while. This shit is hard.

In Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, this may not be the season to do much more than the basics.

When it's Time to Try Mediocrity

Here is how you know it's time to 'walk it off':

  • You finish every day feeling defeated, wondering how your to-do list somehow became longer.
  • You feel like you aren’t good enough, and argue against people who compliment you.
  • You end the night immobilized in front of Netflix, numbing yourself with endless bowls of popcorn. (Just me?)

At my house, I can say that we are doing really well... But that’s in light of EVERYTHING that seems impossible right now. We are healthy and well and our main focus is on keeping our family fed and safe and keeping our careers alive. In that sense, we're killing it. But let me be straight for a moment: There are no Pinterest worthy projects or  giant leaps forward. We are focused on taking care of our basic every day needs, and with that as our standard, we are doing well.  

And, you know what? I'm okay with that.

Adapting Your Overachieving Mindset

Maybe you are thriving right now, but if you aren't, you may be able to make everything better with a simple mindset shift. In times like these, changing your expectations and trying to do LESS, not more, is crucial. Yes, make time for the things that matter most, don't push all your dreams aside until a hypothetical 'better future', but narrow in on the must-haves. 

At the end of the night, If you are yours are healthy and safe, is it possible that you are adding to the difficulty with your expectations or perception of how you are doing?

Maybe you need to expect less from yourself. Maybe you need to focus on the small wins, or just one win every day, maybe you need to celebrate the ones that seem silly or insignificant (like showering or getting a workout in).

Maybe instead of working harder to keep up, you lower the bar. Hustling more isn’t gonna cut it. Trying harder won’t do it. Pushing yourself to meet expectations will not get you much more than frustration and disappointment right now.

I know, this sounds counter to every driven person’s life motto. I get that this is against the winner-take-all, tough-as-nails mentality that has probably gotten you success in the past. But here is how you know if this is the mindset you need to adopt. First, ask yourself: Is what I am doing working for me?

If you answer yes, then godspeed. Keep it going!

But if the answer is no, you need to try something different besides working harder.

The Benefits of Rest

Resting is a part of being an athlete. It's how Olympians can win the gold and come back 4 years later to do it all again. Rest is just as important part of training as is active training, and the same thing applies to other areas of life.

In fact, more often than not,  ‘doing less’ will help you actually feel centered enough to accomplish more of what matters the most.

I'll leave you with a little something I tell my students: You don't have to commit to this mental shift forever. Your driven self isn’t going anywhere. Try mediocrity on for a day, a week. See how it works for you for a limited amount of time. Give yourself a time period of scheduled rest and then check in with yourself. Do you need more? Are you refreshed and ready to tackle the next big project. 

Why not try mediocrity for a day? I promise you don’t have to stay there. In fact, what you MAY realize is that doing less is part of a larger strategy to actually moving forward. It’s a marathon not a sprint people and the ones that learn to control their mind will always be able to lead the pack, even if it means slowing down for a bit.


Want a quick and easy tip for doing less while STILL growing your mindset (the gift that keeps on giving), try listening to a podcast while you're doing something else. If you haven’t subscribed to our DAILY mindset podcast The Inner Game you definitely should. And as it so happens, we have a podcast episode that's about this very topic! Listen to Episode 8, How Average Wins the Day for more on the case for mediocrity. 


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