Stop Doing Mediocre Shit

Mediocrity is an epidemic spreading across the nation. No one is safe anymore. Just when you thought you were in the clear, the talons of mediocrity latch unto you with a merciless force. One day, you’re a lively, creative student of life and the next day you’ve fallen into the trap of complacency.

The highlight of your day is watching reality TV in the evening. You drink too much alcohol. You say things to your friends like, “Can you believe what happened on Scandals last night?” You work a job just to pay the bills. You argue with your partner about the crusty dishes in the sink and then hold a grudge for weeks even though you can’t remember what the argument was about. You wonder where the holes are in your life that allowed for your big dreams to slowly seep out of you unnoticed.

fight-mediocrity2Ah, yes, mediocrity. You thought it would bypass you if you took the safe route in life—go to college, finish grad school, get a decent job, get married, buy a house, pay off your loans, have kids, have grandkids, and die with money in the bank. Then you realize that this safe route (a.k.a. The America Dream) is a perfect breeding ground for…you guessed it…mediocrity.

At this point, you finally clue into the fact that the “happiness” you’ve been in pursuit of all these years cannot be found through more schooling, a better job, a bigger house, or getting divorced and remarried several times. No, mediocrity keeps rearing its ugly head after every significant life change so that you ultimately had to conclude that the problem wasn’t hidden in your external circumstances—it’s inside you. That’s how mediocrity secretly gets you.

This 2014, it’s time to break the cycle and STOP DOING MEDIOCRE SHIT.

There, I said it. I feel better now. The solution is that simple.

Ready to join me and take the pledge?

I pledge to stop doing mediocre sh*t in 2014. I pledge to conquer my fears, break free of my comfort zone and live the life of my dreams.

This year, it’s time to take back your future from the clutches of mediocrity. It’s time to switch into the driver’s seat of your life and take control of the wheel. You’ve been coasting for way too long. You know it and I know it. 2014 is your year to make shit happen—to stop waiting, to reclaim your dreams and to start living the exact life you want to live (i.e. not the life that your parents or society inadvertently pushed on you). This is your ticket to success.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a big undertaking. You have to be committed, but the payoff is worth it. Ready to get started? Ready to bask in a new life of personal and professional happiness, excitement and freedom?

Here’s what you have to do to give mediocrity the boot:

Stop thinking mediocre thoughts.

You might think that mediocrity is defined by your external circumstances, but it actually first begins in your mind. In fact, mediocre thoughts breed mediocre results 100% of the time. A mediocre thought leads to a mediocre choice which results in a mediocre outcome. As you repeat this pattern over the years, the mediocrity in your life expands until the instant it violently implodes and becomes the black hole to which your entire life gets sucked into.

Now I know you’re on the edge of your seat wondering: What is a mediocre thought? Mediocre thoughts are those that begin with phrases such as…

I can’t…

I don’t…

I won’t…

I couldn’t…

I’ll never…

No one will…

Sound familiar? Come on, admit it. We’ve all had our fair share of mediocre thoughts. And god forbid, we’ve even said them out loud a time or two. Let’s look at some examples to get really clear about what we’re up against…

I can’t take a risk that big at this point in my life.

I don’t have time to start a side business.

I won’t ever be able to make enough money to sustain myself without a job.

I couldn’t imagine letting my family down if I fail.

I’ll never be able to quit my day job.

No one will ever care what I do.

Have you ever had a thought like this lead to a positive or worthwhile outcome in your life? Think hard before you answer. I’m guessing probably not. So why are you still thinking these thoughts? These types of thoughts hold you back from greatness. They squelch your dreams. They keep you from living a life of freedom. The bottom line—they aren’t serving you anymore.

I’m guessing that people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Seth Godin, Gandi—or anyone else who’s made a global impact—didn’t let these types of mediocre thoughts clog their brain and impede them from sharing their passions and following their dreams.

If you don’t make an effort to shake these types of thoughts, you can press the snooze button on your life right now. You’ll be on the fast train towards conformity, compliancy and mediocrity. And it might be decades before you find an exit ramp.

So how do you escape? Well, the common thread is that all of these thoughts are rooted in fear. Mediocre thoughts are fear-based thoughts. Understanding this simple fact allows you to get a handle on them.

The first step to overcoming fear-based thoughts is to become aware of them. You can’t see the elephant in the room if you’re constantly staring out the window. Turn your awareness inward. Pay attention to the thoughts that are popping up in your brain repetitively. Are they thoughts that will guarantee a happy, fulfilling, passionate life? Or are they thoughts that are keeping you stuck in a rut? Don’t judge them—just pay attention.

The second step is to recognize fear-based thoughts for what they are—they’re merely stale voices inside your head that are trying to keep you safe and snuggly in your comfort zone. That’s it. They have no external power. They’re just left over from the caveman days when getting out of your comfort zone might mean getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger. Now that would be a serious problem! Fortunately, the local townspeople have told me that there hasn’t been a sabertooth sighting around these parts for going on 10,000 years now. Whew! You’re safe.

Step three is to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. You don’t have to get rid of your mediocre thoughts—you just have to replace them with better thoughts. For instance, if you’ve been watching CNN your whole life (i.e. negative, fear-based news), it’s time to flip to the Discovery Channel (i.e. interesting and uplifting stories). You don’t have to eliminate CNN off the face of the earth, you just have change to a different channel.

Same with your thoughts—when those repetitive mediocre thoughts pop up like the persistent moles in the Whac-a-Mole arcade game, your job is to whack them over the head with a positive thought. My advice is to choose an affirmation to refocus your attention on. Here’s a list of 80 great affirmations for entrepreneurs.  You might have to say your affirmation of choice a thousand times a day at first to stay on the right track, but soon it will get easier when your mediocre thoughts don’t have as much of a foothold.

If you change your thoughts, you will successively change your life.

If you stop thinking mediocre thoughts, you will automatically stop doing mediocre shit, and you will be free to start living the life of your dreams. You will be fearless. You will be happy. You will be successful. But it all starts in your mind.

This 2014, take a stand against mediocrity. Pledge to live your life exactly how you want to and not let anyone or anything stop you. It’s time to take the power back.

Photo credit: Photo by Kirsty Hall https://www.flickr.com/photos/fragiletender/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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Ralph Quintero - a couple of years ago

Hi Laurel! Great post! Thank you so much for sharing my affirmations with your readers. By the way, I agree with you 100%…Mediocrity is killing this nation. People forget that we have the “choice” to be incredible and to do incredible things. Why do something that’s not, or take the easy way out? I’m with you on your challenge to live life exactly how we want in 2014! 🙂

    Laurel Staples - a couple of years ago

    Ralph–thanks for your comment! I love your affirmations and thought they were a great fit for this article. There’s no time like the present to start living the exact life that you want. Just imagine where people would be in January 2015 if they used your affirmations daily. 🙂

Whitney Woolstenhulme - a couple of years ago

That was quite inspirational and very well-written – thank you so much! I’ve been going through a major change in mindset the past few months. Mediocrity had taken over. I wasn’t motivated, I didn’t care. And like you said, the highlight of my day was sitting in front of the TV. So I took a minute to figure it all out, and realized that my job wasn’t allowing me the opportunity to learn, grow, or overcome any challenges. It was complacency at its best, and I knew I needed a way out. That’s when I decided I wanted to work for myself. I’m still not able to quit my day job yet, but I’m taking all the steps necessary to get there. I’m very confident that I’ll be able to meet my goal of quitting by June, which has been a huge motivator of getting me off my ass and putting in the work when I could be simply watching TV.

    Laurel Staples - a couple of years ago

    Hi Whitney! Thanks for your comment. That is AWESOME that you’re on track to “fire yourself” this year! I am so excited for you…keep me in the loop. Quitting a job is definitely a huge motivator to get people moving in the right direction and putting a stop to mediocrity. Good luck to you!!

Naomi@startups - a couple of years ago

Hi Laurel,

A really good post to welcome in the new year. I believe the main reason so many take the mediocre route is because from a young age we are encouraged to be careful and not take risks. Also told it’s better to be safe.

I’ve practiced positive thinking and used positive affirmations for about three now. It’s completely changed my level of stress. I’m no longer held back by things I can’t change and i’m always able to see the positive side of a bad situation.

A friend recently said to me “your in a good mood” and my reply was “I have no reason not to be! Why not be in a good mood?”.

I also try to stay away from negative press that means nothing. For example celebrities who have put on weight and I’m determined to never allow my children to think they can’t do something. It drives me crazy if I hear them say “I can’t do this or that”.

Thanks for the great read. Hears to saying no to being mediocre!

Naomi

    Laurel Staples - a couple of years ago

    Naomi–I totally agree–most of us aren’t encouraged to take risks in life, so we play it safe until the day we die. But that’s not the road to happiness in the end. Sounds like you’ve really found the beauty of affirmations and positive thinking, which is (in my opinion) the only thing that will ultimately yank us out of a mediocre life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Ross Barber - a couple of years ago

Great post, Laurel! I’m definitely noticing that the less mediocre thoughts I put out there, the better things are. Keep up the great work – really enjoyed this post!

    Laurel Staples - a couple of years ago

    Thanks Ross! Glad you liked the post and that you’re taking a stand and fighting mediocrity, too!! 🙂

R tin - a couple of years ago

Yes. What if someone overcomes mediocre thoughts/actions to an extreme? So now simply working a job becomes a waist of life when an alternative could be to maybe bike the states and experience life in its most raw form? Think about it. Mediocre living has to exist. But I will not accept this myself. At this point frustration and loneliness are inevitable. Where are the boundaries after reversing mediocrity? I would really love to know.

    Laurel Staples - a couple of years ago

    Great thoughts. I agree that mediocre life does have to exist and that the average person probably shouldn’t worry about it. But the people reading this blog–the creative types and entrepreneurs–should avoid it like the plague. I think the boundaries on the reverse side of mediocrity are set by each individual. And I believe that fighting mediocrity means making it a priority to do whatever is in your heart to do. Thanks for your comment!!

Darenia - a couple of years ago

Let’s not be mediocre in being crime victims. I’m so SICK of hearing people in courts say, “oh, it’s okay that you hurt my loved one or killed someone I loved, I forgive you.” NOOO STOP THE MADNESS. FU%$ that. Go on a triad. Print a blog of the perpetrator’s crimes and NAME them. NAME the mother F$###ns that hurt you or your loved ones. ENOUGH of this soft ash bs. EXPOSE these scum

Sankaralingam Maharajan - a couple of years ago

This is one of the best motivation articles I have ever read. Inspiring. I am able to relate to what is happening in my life. Infact I was searching answer for some questions in past couple of months. I have found clarity through this article.

@ Laurel Staples – you should be such a wonderful person to share this with us :). Thanks a heaps ! Please keep writing.

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