Why Thwart Mediocrity?

Last week, Morriss posted an interview with me. Toward the end of our chat, I spoke about this blog’s theme.

I turned in a half-assed homework assignment in the sixth grade. My teacher (more accurately, my mentor) asked me if it was my best effort. It wasn’t even close. She asked me never to show work that was mediocre.

I fear mediocrity because it characterizes the first, second, and third drafts of everything I touch.

9 thoughts on “Why Thwart Mediocrity?

  1. I enjoyed listening to that podcast and thank you for your comments on all things Y&F.

    I HATE mediocrity, but at work as of late, I justify it to myself when we have client deadlines looming. If it’s a printer piece and errors are spotted after-the-fact, there is ALWAYS time for reprint. So was that deadline the correct hill to die on? Lesson I’m learning right now, spend the time and get it right.

  2. A great reminder to do our best….it is definitely easy to fall into laziness. I have a similar story….I was a big fan of my 6th grade math teacher….I came back home after my first year of college and randomly saw him at a pizza parlor. He said “So are you still doing things half way?” Ouch. Uhhh, yes, yes I am actually. I don’t think I started to turn things around until after I had played 3000 hrs of counterstrike and light was beginning to hurt my eyes.

  3. Trey,

    Do you believe that it is effort or outcome that determines mediocrity?

    If I try my “best”, is that how I thwart mediocrity?

    I don’t believe so. I believe mediocrity is tied to outcome, and thus it is not a case of never being mediocre, but rather knowing when to accept mediocrity and when not to.

    Designating areas in my professional and personal life where I accepted nothing but the best, and finding ways to “make it by” in others is where I start on the path to overcome mediocrity’s hold on my life.

    Would love to hear your thoughts…

  4. Mark, Great question.

    There’s a point while washing my car when I say, “That’s good enough.”

    I love how you said it:

    Designating areas in my professional and personal life where I accepted nothing but the best, and finding ways to “make it by” in others is where I start on the path to overcome mediocrity’s hold on my life.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  5. Trey and Mark,

    Count me as another supporter of working hard to establish the line between life tasks in which it’s desirable/necessary to do your absolute best work and the tasks where satisfactory equals good delivery.

    As a lifelong neurotic perfectionist, I can tell you what a curse it is to be forever seeking home runs. I think I starting to see that it just makes me nuts. Maybe I should start calling myself a recovering perfectionist.

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