What mediocrity really means and why avoiding it should be your singular north star.

What mediocrity really means and why avoiding it should be your singular north star.

It is better to be an average person than to be mediocre.

Image for posta meme will do

Recently, I?ve been having a series of thoughts on the subject of mediocrity and what being mediocre really means. In recent weeks I?ve had conversations that in various forms have raised the topic of mediocrity. It got me thinking deeply ? What does mediocrity really mean? What does it mean to be mediocre?

When we hear the word ?mediocre?, it seems we know what it means. Turns out we really don?t. What we do have is an idea of what it is.

Distilling down the meaning of mediocrity is very important, as ideas and pictures may be still too abstract and not bring close a tangible meaning you can hold.

If you?re being asked, What is mediocrity? How would you define it? Would you pause for long? Would you stutter? Would you give a shallow meaning?

There?s a difference between having an idea/picture of what something is versus really knowing what something is.

When you have pointers to tell you if a person is mediocre or something oozes mediocrity. Then you know what it really is.

Mediocrity is any point in time where you cannot attest to a thing or a person being either great, poor or average.

A mediocre is someone whom you cannot at any time speak of, as being great, poor or average. He/She isn?t great, isn?t poor and isn?t average.

Now, this is where things get really interesting. Take note of the word ?cannot? above and below.

If I cannot say Ben is great, I cannot say he?s poor, and I cannot say he?s average either. If I cannot decide on Ben, What then is Ben? Ben is mediocre!

But seriously Presh, How can a person exist in neither of these three states?

Good question. After thinking deeply at this point. The only answer I can give you as to why a person can exist in neither of these three states is simply CONSISTENCY.

The deciding factor to know if a person is mediocre is simply consistency.

Image for postgoogle image search for mediocrity

From the image description above, the reason why a person say Ben can ?settle halfway to the summit of a difficult mountain? is because Ben doesn?t consistently climb up or go down. If Ben consistently climbs up, we say Ben is up. If Ben consistently goes down we say Ben is down. Still, if Ben consistently naps at the middle of the mountain, we don?t say Ben is up, we don?t say Ben is down either. We say Ben is neither up nor down. Ben is midway on the mountain. Ben is middle, Ben is average. IMHO, Average still doesn?t equal Mediocrity. (More on that below)


If Ben is consistently great, without blinking an eye. You can say he is great.

If Ben is consistently poor, without blinking an eye. You can say he is poor.

If Ben is consistently average, without blinking an eye. You can say he is average.

Average doesn?t equal mediocrity because a decision can be made on ?average?. You can decide.

The reason you can decide on either great, poor, or average is because of consistency. Making a case for mediocrity relies on two main factors ? consistency and decision. Prejudice aside, once you can?t make a decision, a person is mediocre, and the reason you make a decision is because a person or performance is consistent.


If Ben is 8 out of 10 times great more than he?s poor, you can say ? well, he?s great?

If Ben is 8 out of 10 times poor than he?s great, you wouldn?t call him great although he has a few(2) great performances, you?d say ?well he?s poor?

If Ben has an overlap of great and poor performances; You wouldn?t call him great, neither will you call him poor. You can always say he?s average. Better still, you?d say ?he?s good but not really good?. You can decide.

When out of say 10 performances, you can?t say if Ben is great, poor or average. Then Ben is mediocre. Why? Because Ben lacks consistency and can?t help you decide. Ben is not consistent in either of the three(3) states.

There?s the concept of sitting on the fence versus being average.

It?s either a go or a no-go. Then there?s try a.k.a (let?s see what happens.)

Try is the same as average, as good. The dictionary defines mediocre as being average and I don?t completely agree with it because the ?average? is a decision. I can tell if a person or a performance is average. The fact that I can make such decision doesn?t equate to being mediocre.

Image for postgoogle?s definition for mediocre

In my opinion, the average is not mediocrity simply because people can make a decision.

The reason why people can make a decision on an average person or performance is that they are responsible, they are accountable, they have some form of control.

I can say ?Let?s try Ben? because I feel with control, I can push for the desired outcome. I feel like I can exercise some control over a situation.

People don?t say they can ?try? when they know right off that a thing will fail. People don?t say ?try? when they are sure of success. They either say ?I can do it?, or ?I can?t?. People only say ?try? when there?s a chance they can pull a thing off and they do have some form of control. And the reason they say ?try? is that they can decide. ?Try? is a decision.

Prejudice aside, the moment there?s a state of indecision on your ability or performance as a person, then you?re mediocre. The moment you can?t help people make a decision about you, you?re mediocre. Period.

If I cannot say Ben is great without a struggle.

If I cannot say Ben is average without a struggle.

If I cannot say Ben is poor without a struggle.

In other words, if Ben can?t help me make a decision about him, then Ben is mediocre. End of story.

And it?s not that a mediocre can?t be great, it?s not that they can?t improve, it?s not that they can?t learn. It?s simply because they?re inconsistent. Their improvements are not consistent, they are not consistent in their learning, they?re in a state of mediocrity.

Take a deeper look at the dictionary synonyms for ?mediocre? ? ordinary, common, commonplace, middle-of-the-road, middling, passable, fair.

The common thread that runs in all of these words, is that consistency is lacking.

Nobody remembers a mediocre.

The most important takeaway from mediocrity is that nobody remembers a mediocre.

The reason there?s a never-ending debate between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is that they are both GREAT, even though they?ve both had a series of poor and average performances between them.

Same with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Same with Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.

It?s why you hear Serena Williams, Beyonce, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc. The reason why there is a never-ending discussion about them year after year is because they are not mediocre. Nobody remembers a mediocre.

Now all these are popular examples of people who were consistent in one state ? being great. There are others who are consistently good(average) and consistently poor.

Not being mediocre doesn?t mean you will be world famous, it doesn?t mean you will always be great, or that you won?t have poor and average performances. You may not be as great and popular as Steve Jobs, or Muhammad Ali.

You may be the best customer attendant or salesman your small company has ever had, you may be a top chef in a pop-up restaurant in northern Paraguay or you may be a good dog-sitter in the neighbourhood. But you produce such consistent of a result that people can make straight decisions about you. They don?t sit on the fence.

As an individual, your singular north star, in all you do should be to run away and as far from mediocrity.

As I get more answers and more deep insights I?ll keep refining what mediocrity means for me and then I?ll update this article, but until that time, This ? my friends is mediocrity.

Hola ????and Shalom ?!

Thanks a lot ? for reading. I appreciate your time.


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