Words to live by: Mediocrity

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s probably the fact that mediocrity is the devil. Right?

If you aren’t constantly striving to reach a glorious plateau safely beyond the claws of the dreaded ‘M’ word, you’re doing it wrong.

After all, we’re made of stardust and should never settle for anything less than luminescence. Or what?

Well, maybe that’s why we’re so exhausted.

I really liked something Cheryl Strayed – bad ass agony aunt for Dear Sugar and legendary author of Wild (among others) – recently said in an interview with Tim Ferriss.

He asked her: “If you had a huge billboard that you could use to get a short message out to millions of people, what would you put on that billboard?”

And without even missing a beat, she said: “Oh you know what, I think it would be this thing that I learned when I was writing my first book. It would be – surrender to your own mediocrity.”

Let me just repeat that:

Surrender to your own mediocrity.

And she goes on to say:

“Which sounds kind of sad, right? I mean, we’re supposed to be aspiring to our greatness. But, I think that here again the idea of humility and strength is connected. Because what I learned when I was writing my first book, I really felt like okay, I’m going to try to write the Great American Novel… even when I knew that I probably wasn’t going to be able to do that. That was what I aspired to.

Then I found – when I was about two thirds of the way into that endeavour – the idea of greatness was actually keeping me from fulfilling this dream.

So, what I had to do was that humble thing, where I say: guess what, it’s true, I might be writing a mediocre book. I might be writing a book that nobody ever reads and I just have to surrender to the truth of that. And I have to surrender to this notion that even if I’m mediocre, what matters more to me than writing a great novel is… WRITING A NOVEL.”

Sometimes we just have to accept that not every work is our best work. And certainly not our life’s work.

And that’s totally okay.

The fact that we’re showing up and DOING the work (whatever that may be). Now, that… that’s what counts.

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