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?
A good blog to start the year…..Couldn’t keep cb out of the loop.could you 😉 ..Well what you term in this blog is what I heard as a “middle class mentality”….a thought process where we don’t want to risks,even if it means missing great opportunities…Be happy with what we have and expand our own legacy by increasing the Indian population 🙂 …..
I don’t agree with your views on Hazare…..but that is a separate issue…….
Yeah true. If I come to think of it now, yeah actually its really a middle class mentality. Everyone’s happy in the comfort of their homes and as you said expand their legacy by increasing the population ;).
As far as Hazare is concerned, I am not sure where you disagree. I personally am not in support of him in a lot of ways. But what my point was that whatever said and done, it finally took one Anna Hazare to actually get the bill passed in whatever way. How many of us were actually that bothered? Interestingly after the initial fizz when people attended his fast in the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi, now wonder what happened. Short term memory among the public, maybe.
hey ! kudos on coming up with a precise n forceful post….! but I guess you missed out another factor that plays an extremely important role. Destiny. you might say destiny is in our hands, but to quote Malcolm Gladwell, free will is an illusion(in an excellent book titled Blink, a recommended book for making snap decisions). There are thousands of reasons that make a person sacrifice his ambitions, desires and drive to settle for the 9 to 5 job. Some just have to take it to fix an ulterior motive. A guy who takes this job only to pay off his education loan to make his parents financially independent, still would not be a mediocre specimen of human species. Though I completely agree with the fact that 90% of youth has given in to comfort zone in exchange of a desire to excel in field they want. However, somewhere, the factors that shape the youths’ thinking need to modified rather then the youth. The current generation, I regretfully believe, is beyond help.
P.S. : CB n clones actually suck bigtime ! They have a space, because we gave them.
Yeah Apoorva, you have brought a brilliant point here. I personally would agree that a lot of people who are maybe not so well off or don’t have the means to achieve a lot in life and stuff may do mediocre things according to us which are actually excellent in their context. So their the difference of mediocrity could be actually a bit different. But then one always needn’t give in to destiny but instead try to shape it. Anyways that’s a point for another time.
But then if you see youths who have all the means to achieve a lot and our well off are the biggest culprits. As one of the earlier comments put it, most want to sit at home and expand India’s legacy by increasing the population. Yes there are hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs out there or people who want to make a difference. But then if you can have a simple job (9-5) and party and chill with friends, why take the pain, isnt it?
We give the space to CB and others because we ourselves have set mediocrity as a gold standard.
All stems from 80-20 rule, What u do in corporate from 9 to 5 is great but what u do between 5 & 9 will seperate u from the other 80% who are content with with being mediocre. I like the Malcolm Gladwell post on ‘Blink’, great book. I’d also like to reference ‘Outliers’, work your 10,000 hours on your craft of choice. It will put u in the top 20% and out of mediocrity.
That’s an interesting point Jimmy. Sadly most of the people just want to end up in the 80% of the population which does nothing much than go for the 9-5 job and come back and relax and enjoy and then go again. I am sure a lot of people would be having crafts of their choice but I really wonder how many of them actually work on honing it by giving excuses like no time, energy and what not.
Thanks mom 🙂
A good article and i agree all the way. Guess we, rather myself am happy being within the 80%.
Yeah to each is his own :).