Tips on Excellence: Replacing Mediocrity in Our Personal Lives & Government

As I type, news is breaking around the U.S. Government’s takeover/purchase of General Motors. As I listen and read, all I can think about is how hard it is to get anything accomplished at a State or Federally owned/operated agency. Think about Motor Vehicles, Social Security or City Hall for that matter. Ever been in one of those lines or encapsulated in a time warp by the inefficiency and delays? Now, the manufacturing and selling of automobiles is about to fall into the abyss.


I have a 16-year-old daughter who puts just enough energy into everything she does to get by. Even the things she likes doing! She simply isn’t motivated to do more than the bare minimum it takes to get things done. Yesterday, she and I had one more of the many heated discussions that take place around her approach.  Usually, I mention words like “lazy” or “princess” but this time I suggested that her standard is mediocrity.  Now while you may think that was an unkind observation to have (and more so, to share) it was actually the first time I ever saw a light go on in her head around what is usually her dismissal of my complaints that she hasn’t finished what she began, or in the alternative,”finished” with aspects of the task or goal still incomplete.

So what do government and my 16-year-old have in common?  In a word: Mediocrity.

But let’s face it. Such aspirations aren’t limited to my two examples. I could go on. And on. And on.  Blame it on the technology or the pace at which we live, but there is no denying that most people in this country have settled into reduced expectations of themselves and everyone else. 

We don’t anticipate excellence. We accept mediocrity.

So what’s the harm?

Mediocrity, by definition, implies a lack of caring about the end product. It’s about “average-ness” and “second rated-ness.” Its about expediency and profit over quality and value. When you choose not to care about the quality of what you do, when you don’t give it your best, you not only make a statement about what you think of yourself, you also set in motion events that lead to the devaluation of other people, lifeforms and things.

It is definitely a choice you get to make.  In every situation, you have the opportunity to decide how much energy, integrity, and authenticity you will bring to what needs to be accomplished. You get to define and apply the standard that best represents who you are. No one else gets to make that call.

Lowering your standards is the slippery slope that leads to mediocrity, and less. So why do people do it? Because it’s easier and quicker than the effort and time it takes to achieve excellence. So whether it’s about doing the job you’re paid to do, completing your homework, or choosing who you spend you life with, mediocrity gets you something…albeit not something that necessarily enlivens or empassions you… or anyone else for that matter.

Mediocrity doesn’t lead to feeling good about yourself. It leads, ultimately, to not feeling. That’s the slippery slope. Mediocrity is a denial of the Divinity within each of Us.

We exist to awaken and become conscious around Self-Realization. When such awakening occurs, it is to know for certain what remarkably unique creations we are and how the possibilities for our own creations are boundless and endless…constrained only by our vision and an unwavering determination to be the best we can be.


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