How to Beat Mediocrity and PerfectionismMar 16, 2023
Mediocrity represents a feeling of apathy about what we do. It’s the feeling that nothing we do or say will make a difference... that nothing we do or say, matters. That it’s okay to cut corners because nobody cares anyway. This is a major problem. Because if we believe that we don’t matter, or that nobody cares, we’ll never find the courage to do excellent work.
Here’s a little trick I’ve learned that may be useful to you: Imagine that Mediocrity is a hideous creature trying to distract you from doing excellent work and being the best version of yourself. You’ve got this monster, this demon-like enemy standing over your shoulder telling you that your work doesn’t matter and that it’s okay to cut corners because nobody cares anyway.
I’ve found that the best way to stand up to Mediocrity is to simply tell that idiot to go away. I imagine myself punching him in the face and saying, “Get the hell out of my way. My work matters. I matter, and I’m going to do whatever I can to create unique value in spite of you, and others like you who make my life more difficult.”
When I muster up the Courage to do that, I find that my work becomes more meaningful. That’s because I recommit myself to excellence and do the excellent work that I’m capable of doing.
But wait, there’s more! Just when I think I’m in the clear, another antagonist comes out of the woodwork to harass me. This antagonist is called Perfectionism.
Perfectionism tells me that my work isn’t good enough, or that I’m not good enough. Perfectionism looks down his snobby nose and tries to make me feel insignificant. He’s well-dressed, eloquent, and super-attractive to my target audience. Especially compared to me… I start to feel inadequate, awkward, and dirty next to Perfectionism.
I start to feel that I need to crawl back into my little corner and be the loser I was born to be. In those moments, I remember the words of the Desiderata, which is a poem written by Max Ehrmann. One of my favorite verses says: “be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”
When I remember those words, it gives me the courage to stand up to Perfectionism the same way I stand up to Mediocrity. When we find the courage to stand up to Mediocrity and Perfectionism, we find new paths to excellence and joy in life and business. That’s because we realize that we’re just human, helping other humans navigate the beauty and ugliness of life.
So here’s my ridiculous question of the day:
How can you find the Courage to stand up to Mediocrity and Perfectionism today?