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  • Tasha D. Manigo-Bizzell

The Burden of Mediocrity

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Ordinary, average, unexceptional, uninspired, middle-of-the-road, lukewarm, unremarkable, forgettable- is this you or someone you know? No matter how you describe it, mediocrity really is a heavy burden- one that many of us have carried at some point or another in our lives. What’s so bad about being mediocre? For one thing, it can debilitate, keeping us complacently stuck in the same spot (usually a rut) never realizing our full creative potential, leading to one boring existence.

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III speak on the subject. He said whenever you are mediocre you reach your peak in the middle. Your peak? How sad that many of us will never realize the full extent of our genius because we have settled for mediocrity. I wonder, are you doing your part to fulfill your purpose? How do you move from mediocrity to greatness? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.

1-Clean up your space.

Your environment impacts your outlook, and your outlook determines your destiny. When you look up from where you are, what do you see- order and clarity or disarray and dysfunction? Is your greatness buried under a pile of junk? If you want to move out of your stuck state, you have to get organized. Clutter, whether physical stuff crowding your room or mental junk occupying valuable head space, can overwhelm and cause stress. It's easy to look at all of it and decide to just give up and accept what is rather than clean up and discover/create something new.

2-Get a routine (and make it exciting!)

Mediocrity is fueled by boredom and boredom leads to complacency. Doing the same thing the same way, day in and day out is bound to drive any one mad particularly if there is no life in it to begin with. Make sure your routine includes the things that give you life and feed your soul. If you are a writer, make time to write. If losing weight and getting healthier is what you want, then you have to include exercise as part of your personal routine. Even if you don’t have complete control over what you have to do every day, you can change how you do it. So, look forward to your agenda and add a little excitement to your day.

3-Fear not!

“Be bold, be courageous, and take a risk!” I’ll admit that is kind of hard to do when you are scared out of your mind. Yes, fear can make you settle for mediocrity because it’s easier than failing. The acronym F.E.A.R. - false evidence appearing real- means that what you are afraid of most likely doesn’t even exist and probably wouldn’t happen even if it did. Your best defense is to acknowledge what scares you then imagine a “perfect world” scenario. What one thing would you be willing to do if you were ten times braver? Plan to do that.

4-Keep moving.

Mediocrity can feel like you are bound but staying still won’t get you unbound. You have to do something. I think too many of us are afraid of doing the wrong thing, so we do nothing. Don’t be afraid of failure. If you glean nothing else from my words know this- failure happens when you don’t try, not because you have to repeat! Look at it this way, repetition allows you to work out the kinks of life. So you’re not failing, you are perfecting.

5-Expect more!

Scripture tells us we have not because we ask not, and I will add we have not because we don’t expect much. Living with expectancy makes it possible for God to suddenly show up. Remember, if you never step out on faith, there will never be a need for a miracle. Right now, you probably have about as much as you have expected. Despite what you think, there is no crime in wanting more or asking for it. That does not make you shallow or greedy. The bible encourages us to “come boldly to the throne and make our requests known to God”. He can only say “yes, no or wait”. In any case, if you never ask (or expect) who knows what you would have received.

6-The time is now.

I don’t know if you realize every day, you are one day closer to the end of this thing we call life. Steve Jobs famously said, “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” And don’t put off living your own life either. Stop telling yourself “It takes too long” or “there isn’t enough time”. There is no time limit on dreams and purpose has no expiration date. But if you settle for just being mediocre you will get to a certain age, look back over your life, and see all that you did not do because you accepted less than what was available to you. The 18th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it this way: “Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do.” If you can believe the sky is the limit, then let go of “time” and do what you are called to do.

I am reminded of an episode of the “Golden Girls” in which Rose has a near death experience and is inspired to change her life. All the girls share what they too are inspired to do, and Sophia says “I’m gonna find out what I’m good at, take an aptitude test, maybe go to law school.” Dorothy quickly responds, “Oh Ma, come on, you’ll be 96 when you get out” to which Sophia replies “I’ll be 96 anyway!” So now I ask you, what will you do with the rest of your "anyway"? If you're lucky it will be a pretty sweet gig!

©2016 by Tasha D. Manigo-Bizzell

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