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Don’t Applaud Mediocrity

Unimpressed Cat

The title of this blog post has been swimming around in my head for the better part of the past 3 weeks. I’ve been trying to figure out how to put down what I’m thinking without coming across as a ranting “Tiger mum“.

Cue this very moment where I’ve a. Spent a weekend listening to a lot of Childish Gambino and b. Spent a weekend confined to my bed recovering from some flu-hay fever-sinus-infection hybrid that has got me all sorts of stroppy, and what you’ve got is the perfect recipe for a ranting kind of post in the very Tiger mum tone I was trying so hard to avoid in the first place. Ah well *shrugs*.

Sean Penn Quote

Before I begin, let me make it quite clear that when I discuss how mediocrity should not be praised, I do not actually mean that perfection should then be the ultimate goal. Instead, what I am saying is that you shouldn’t be applauded for half-ass’ing anything.

There’s a very big difference between being quite proficient at Maths and scoring 65% on an expected test; and being someone who is absolutely rubbish at Maths and scoring 65%. It comes down to competency and capability. So my rants are directed towards the broad spectrum of individuals and organisations that embody the former statement and not the latter.

I don’t believe in giving people standing ovations for things that they should be doing. Nevertheless, in the same breath I am a strong supporter of acknowledgment and positive reinforcement for good outcomes and results.

Take for example, when your perennially tardy friend is late by only 10 minutes instead of their usual 30 minutes, they don’t deserve a standing ovation for being better at being on time. You can acknowledge some sort of improvement but still highlight that they still didn’t hit the mark – i.e. being on freaking time. Another example would be when an organisation promotes and applauds itself for providing a “first” in their product and services…except that the reality is that among their competitors they’re actually the last ones to “catch on” and adopt this not-state-of-the-art product or service…so actually, there’s nothing to applaud here.

The truth is you know your friend can do better and actually arrive on time, and you know this organisation had all the capabilities and information to provide this product and service a long time ago. And that’s why half-assed things will not get a standing ovation from me. No siree bob.

Drinking 6 – 8 glasses of water on a daily basis is recommended by health practitioners to maintain healthy levels of hydration within the human body. So you coming to me and gloating that you’ve managed to consume 6 – 8 glasses of water per day won’t get the over-zealous response you may be expecting. Why? Because it is EXPECTED (well unless you live in an area where clean drinking water is scarce, but that’s another story altogether).

There’s an expression that my one group of friends like to say when I get my knickers in a knot over things like this, they usually pipe up and say, “Vimbai, you can’t be ambitious for other people.” And they’re right.  You can’t want things for people more than they want it for themselves – if you’ve ever wanted to see an exercise in futility “live in motion”, then actively try to will motivation and purpose on behalf of someone else. Tiring stuff I tell you.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about wanting the very best for ourselves and for each other.

I have mini pep talks with myself on a regular because I’ve done (and still do, to a certain extent) my fair share of entertaining mediocrity. Thankfully, these days those episodes don’t last long, a far cry from when mediocrity and I exchanged matching BFF bracelets and shacked up together for prolonged periods of time.

The key,  I have found (and that has universally been preached in a gazillion different ways by a gazillion different people), is to give of yourself 100% to the task at hand, no matter how big or small. Once you get one area or element of your task to achieve the results you want, then you move onto the next thing. Going beyond the call of duty and doing your best eventually becomes an ingrained lifestyle choice and not just a select practice applied to certain areas or tasks.

So whatever you do, don’t half-ass it (I’m also talking to myself loud and clear, here, lol). As a wise Marianne Williamson once said, “Your playing small does not serve the world”, so let’s do better and exceed expectation nne.

*rant over*

Happy Monday and here’s hoping you kill it (figuratively speaking, of course) in what ever you get up to, today!

V x


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