I don’t know about you, but one of the things I’m afraid most in life is mediocrity. For me, life is too precious to be lived in mediocrity. Life is a golden opportunity, and we should use it as good as we can. Living in mediocrity means we do not use the opportunity as good as we should.
Unfortunately, many people are trapped in mediocrity. I believe one of the main reasons is they do not dare to be different. You need to be different if you want to be above the average. The question is:
Do you dare to be different?
This question might not be easy to answer, but how you answer it will make the difference between excellence and mediocrity.
Here are some more specific questions to help you check yourself and take actions:
1. Do you have a dream? This is the first question you should ask yourself. I believe one of the main reasons people just follow the herd is they don’t have a dream. If there is nothing to pursue then why bother being different?
But a dream is what sets you above the average. Not having a dream means going to mediocrity on autopilot.
If your answer for this first question is “no” then start searching. I’m sure you have a dream deep inside of you. It might be something from your childhood. Maybe for long time you have been too busy to let the little voice of your dream be heard. This is the right time to heed that little voice.
If you have found your dream, the next question is whether or not you have the courage to follow it. Questions two through five will deal with that.
2. Are you doing what you want or what you should? There are often implicit “rules” about what someone should do in a particular situation. For example, when there are two job opportunities, the “rule” says that you should take the one with higher pay.
But is that what you want? I mean, does it help you achieve your dream? Maybe the job with less pay will help you achieve your dream while the one with higher pay doesn’t. Do you have the courage to be different and follow your dream?
3. Do you worry more about being loved than being what you love? Another reason why we don’t dare to be different is because we are trying to meet other people’s expectations. We often worry more about what other people say than about what matters to us. But living someone else’s life is a bad way to live your life. Why should you lose opportunity just because of what other people say?
4. Do you choose what is safe rather than what is right? Maybe you are not trying to meet other people’s expectation. Maybe you just don’t want to take risks and therefore you choose to play safe. But this is exactly what many old people regret. When they were asked in a study about what they regretted most and what they would do differently, most of them answered: “I wish I had risked more.” Don’t let the same regret happen to you.
5. If you had only six months left to live, would you do what you are doing now? You can only answer “yes” to this question if what you are doing matters to you. Doing what matters to you is a sure way to excellence since you will do it with all your heart. But you need the courage to be different and follow your heart. Do you have it? I hope your answer is yes. Life is too precious to be lived in mediocrity.
Donald Latumahina is an avid learner who blogs regularly about personal growth and effectiveness at Life Optimizer. He enjoys reading, writing, music, and connecting with people. He is currently a graduate student in information systems.