The dictionary defines “Mediocrity” as something ordinary, par for the course or inferior in quality to something else. But then isn’t mediocrity a word created only by humanity? When we are taught at school during our early years, we are taught about excellence and failure. There is no middle ground for words like “Decent”, “Ok”, “Fine” etc. But then when we humans grow up, mediocrity percolates every part of our lives. Though what is considered as mediocre by some, would be considered as excellence by others.
With respect to this particular post I would stick to examples related to India. Consider the field of writing. To be honest, does Chetan Bhagat deserve to be the poster boy of Indian fiction? Rather than character assassinate him like many others, I would take a different route. He never wrote quality fiction though no doubt he has improved considerably over the years. But his writing is for the masses and to make the moolah and laugh all the way to the bank. In terms of writing – He’s still plain mediocre (Though I am sure some may call him horrible). But why are thousands inspired by his style? Why is everyone calling him the god of writing? As one publisher recently told me – “We produce only what sells.” So its all about the money. Who cares whether you are mediocre?
Most of the people I see around me working in a corporate job seem so satisfied. You would wonder they have achieved the world and are the kings and queens of the planet. But here’s what they do. Go to office on time. Leave office on time unless there is an extreme urgency. Come back and enjoy life. And then go to office the next day. And finally after 5 days of work “Enjoy and party on the weekends.” Obvious questions would be “Why should I work that hard?, What will the company give me if work this much?, What is the point of all this when we can enjoy life to the fullest? etc. etc.” Now these people feel that they are having fun and working equally in life. But what exactly is there life all about? Mediocrity in everything? And they would finally be remembered as what? – “One of the many thousands of employees in that organization”.
An entrepreneur is one who creates jobs for others. He has the courage, the guts and the passion and determination to take risks. He is one who is never afraid to fail despite all odds. These are the kind of guys who actually move up from the level of mediocrity to some semblance of excellence.
There was only one Anna Hazare when there could have been any of us who could have stood up against corruption; there was only one Narayana Murthy who started Infosys when many of us could have thought of such a revolutionary idea; there was only one Tata when there could have been a 100 more. All of them were never born from a golden goose who laid a golden egg. They were at some point like you and me. We dream of achieving as much if not more excellence as them. But sadly the dream is pursued by a miniscule minority.
There are leaders. They are entrepreneurs. There are people who think out of the box. But for a country which needs revolutionary thinkers to take it forward, we are pretty well short.
But all of you would ask – Why do I need to be Anna Hazare or Narayana Murthy or Tata or Kalam? Why do I need to be revolutionary? Why can’t I just go to office and come back home and party all night? Obviously very well. You can do just that and live a happy life.
It all boils down to –
What do we want ourselves to be remembered as? As ones who followed the others to establish mediocrity as a standard or as those who moved towards excellence?