If we believe in and try to never settle for less, but still have a stuck feeling, then there may be things in our lives we may not know about but are at work in our lives holding us back helping us to settle for less.
“It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little … damn mediocrity.” ~ Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
Mediocrity scares me. It’s the fear of not being as good as you want to be. If you give over to that fear, it will sabotage you. As much as I can, I try to use that fear to guide me. ~ Chris Pine
Those Well-Intentioned but Empty Mediocrity Phrases
I heard the expression the other day “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It was dropped out there like ancient wisdom, to try and end the conversation, and any possible needed (costly, risky) actions. Who could possibly top such a pearl of wisdom? And we want to never settle for less? Things are always broke or at lest can be made better.
Hmmm, I thought. Is that just an excuse for a person who is afraid to try new things and who lives life by playing it safe? I thought so. How would I know? Because I’ve done the same thing. I have to fight playing it safe even today. It’s so much easier to play it safe because there’s not much at risk and everything remains so very comfortable. Welcome to mediocrity. Welcome to Settling for Less
There’s one minor problem with all of this. Things in your life do not change much. Things don’t get done because they don’t have to get done. Nothing is broken and life is easier that way.
The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is probably good advice for those few individuals who like to change things for change’s sake. That cycle of constant change is as destructive as no change at all. There is no measure and evaluate of one’s current state in life.
Since you are constantly changing things in your life, there is no fixed or base measuring point. As a result, you have no real idea where your life is heading. There is no fixed point, no status quo, except change.
You can hear this expression from people who don’t like change. They play it safe and stay well within their own comfort zone. When we were children everything was an adventure. But now, there is not much adventure in a safe, comfy life.
My company just announced some sweeping changes to both the structure and visual feel of the company websitesite. Was the old site “broke”? Functionally, no. Everything worked for hundreds of thousands of users doing thousands of transactions per second. It was not broken, it was fine.
The site had not been updated for years, it looked old and it was not mobile friendly. The world has and is changing at a very quick pace. In that sense, it was time for a change. So from someone else’s perspective, it was broken because the website was holding the company back, from reaching the next level. Is change easy? No. Will it take a lot of getting used to? Yes. Will it help us? Yes. Will there be a risk? Yes. Is going to the next level easy? Nope, but it can be fun!
Playing it safe can become a way of life, a guiding force in our lives. It can limit our potential growth and even create some irrational fears.
We can miss things by playing it safe. It can prevent us from making important career changes or even moving past abusive relationships for fear of ending up in even worse circumstances.
It can stop us from discovering things we may not even know about. It can take away a thirst and zeal for life as we teach our children to be the same way when they watch our fearful example. It can, and this is a huge deal, take away the meaning of life.
Sorry, no magic pill here. Besides, life is more fun to figure it out yourself. You need to find your own path and not just get a set of instructions (like I tend to want), from someone else.
But…. we need to question whether the fears, worries, and uncertainties we face are the result of false beliefs we have embraced in our life. If something is broken, it DOES need to be fixed. We need to stop living by silly phrases which seem well-meaning, but actually are not beneficial to our lives.
It may not be easy at first, but easy may not be all it’s cracked up to be. No one has ever guaranteed me ‘easy’ except a salesperson. So don’t be afraid to challenge your beliefs and fears. Instead, make changes if you need to and live life having overcome at least one fear.