There have been so many instances off late when a lot of us have been in spaces and places that have celebrated mediocrity over excellence.
I am always a champion of hard work and effort and celebrating that, but simply backing and bringing mediocre work into the light and singing high praises of it seems shallow and does not quite cut the standards you want to drive.
Mediocrity exists and will always exist in a world of the averages, but that is real and must be acknowledged as mediocrity. When you start applauding and rewarding it, is when the scales are skewed.
Have you noticed how so many people want to be recognised for doing their job right? When I say this, I mean that I have noticed a trend in the many capacities I serve in, a need to want to be called out for doing what the job meant for them to do.
I have always hated the idea of a participation certificate or a consolation price. Have we reduced the resilience to failure to that much? Then there should be no competition at all out there. We must make it all about participating and giving it our best.
Do not get me wrong, I am not glorifying success or winning and drawing parallels to it in any form, but I do think that this tolerance and playing to the gallery of mediocrity has led many down the precipice of their own ability and reality.
Engaging in this, only sets people up for failure in another form, embracing the mediocre and thinking that it is the best there could be.
I know and recognise my work when it is mediocre, when it has not got the attention it deserves, when I have rushed something or when my mind has not been in it. I would feel supremely uncomfortable getting praised for such work because I know that I did not give it my all.
Again, the output of mediocre is secondary, if the effort is mediocre is when the concern arises. I know on multiple occasions when it is just the need to soothe egos or to pacify someone that this celebration of mediocrity is used.
I have always worked with leaders and teams that demanded nothing but my very best from me. I learnt early on that when I struggled to ensure that I gave it my all and my best, it always worked out. The trick was also in doing whatever needed to be done for the journey and the experience rather than a flawless outcome that worked to my advantage.
I believe that we do romanticise the genius moments and the magic ones, but I also see around me, how much of the mediocre goes around as accepted benchmarks.
Here’s what can be done to not be mediocre ourselves:
- Change the way you see, process and understand success
- Believe in your own prowess and skill
- Work with passion and commitment
- Engage in the journey not the destination
- Work on your weaknesses, work to your strengths
- Don’t expect applause and set yourself up for failure
- Don’t compete with anyone but you
- Have a mindset that helps you grow, not win
- Widen your scope of learning and growth and engage in things that help you open your mind
Here’s what can be done to not encourage mediocrity:
- Ask yourself if this was what you expected to be done as per your inputs
- Assess the outcome and think of it objectively
- Remove the person from the equation and then look at the final output and if it is worth calling out
- See the drive and purpose behind the output
- Check for passion and commitment that went into crafting or creating
- Encourage and groom for growth
- Challenge the status quo and always push for better
The world needs drive and excellence and voices that stand out and are willing to take risks and learn and grow. Let’s fuel that in people, mediocrity can have a parallel uncelebrated existence in the meanwhile and excellence can continue to inspire better outcomes.
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