In North America today, we are getting too comfortable with just getting by. We have been settling for ‘good’ instead trying to be ‘great’, and this in turn has led us to redefine what it means to be good, and we often no longer understand what ‘great’ is.

So many individuals have settled for good that these people are often considered to be leading great lives. I find this to be especially true in today’s economy with so many people struggling just to get by.

What is causing all this? Why are so few people not trying to succeed anymore?

I think the primary culprits are the media, our schooling system, and our government (which runs our schooling system and influences the media).

There is a war going on. A media war which we will call a war on mediocrity; a term I first heard from leadership expert Orrin Woodward.

How our schooling system helps promote mediocrity

I read an article on a story about a teacher who lost his job because he wouldn’t grade students according the school policy. The teacher gave a failing grade for students who failed to do their assignments, while the school had a policy of giving only an ‘incomplete’ for work not done. I’m happy to say the teacher had the character to stand up for what’s right, and told the review board that if he was given his job back he would continue to give zeros to students who didn’t do any work. He has since  been hired at a private school, showing that having character can pay off in the end.

We are so afraid of telling our kids where they are at, so afraid of hurting their feelings, that many of them become wimps. They don’t have the pressure of losing and don’t learn that to succeed in life it will take work. If they learn early on that they can’t fail when they don’t put in the work, then they will take this with them throughout their life.

We are also teaching our kids to not keep score, that we should not be trying to win. As I explain here, By not teaching our children to strive for greatness, to be the best they can be, we promote mediocrity as the ideal.

Schools today, and even when I was in school, don’t teach you to be successful. They don’t teach you how to think for yourself; they teach you to just do as your told – they teach you how to have a job. This is one of the reasons I’m so thankful for the LIFE suite of products. This is also one of the reasons why so many managers and supervisors today get promoted based on their ability to do a good job, and not on their ability to lead those under their supervision. I believe that in some cases this is based on their not being enough people who understand leadership and what it takes to be successful, but in other cases it is due to their high level manager not knowing what to look for in a good supervisor or manager; they were mostly raised with the ‘do a good job and listen to the boss” employee mentality and never learned real leadership skills.

Schools also teach you that it is bad to fail; but true success requires failing over and over, learning from your mistakes, until you finally get it right. Maybe that’s why some college dropouts became some of the richest people. Think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson (never finished high school), James Cameron, or Buckminster Fuller. In each of their histories, you find them failing at things before they became a success.

How the Government promotes mediocrity

The thought that bothers me the most here is that it’s the government, partly through the schools, that force people to depend on the government in the first place! If someone doesn’t have to work to hard to make a living, due to having so much given to them for free, it creates a disincentive for people to work harder. People have become so used to being lazy and getting by, that the work required to be successful looks so tough. In many people’s eyes it hardly seems worthwhile to put in the effort.

The government takes so much in taxes these days, especially from employees where it’s generally more than 50%, that there is little left for people to care from themselves. It causes even more people to rely on government handouts, and it makes people feel inferior.

In Orrin Woodward’s book Resolved, he talks about the concept of learned helplessness. When people get so used to the way things are, they don’t think it’s possible to be anything else; it limits their beliefs, and no one will do anything if they don’t believe that they can succeed. With the average person being brought up relying on the government, it becomes an entitlement to them; it becomes a right. Having never lived without it, it’s hard for the average person see themselves not needing it.

How the media helps promote mediocrity

The other thing I find promotes mediocrity is the idea that your bad if you’re successful. I’m not sure if this comes originally from what is found in the mainstream media (MSM) these days, or if the MSM reports it in this fashion because it’s what people want to hear, but either way it’s not helping the situation by continuing the cycle.

The reason I say the media portrays success in a negative fashion has to do with how they portray rich people. Most stories these days consider someone who is rich to be greedy, who deserves to have more of their money taken from them to help those of lesser means. They seem to automatically follow the belief that someone who is rich doesn’t deserve it and only got their wealth through taking advantage of others.

In many cases this is true, such as when a business or an individual will use government regulations to get special deals, but in these cases the media should be explaining what the real problem is. As it’s written today, it comes out as ‘your not rich, so other people shouldn’t be either.’

Anyone who is successful, even if they got there by giving the public something they wanted or needed, get’s vilified if they have too much money. People are no longer saying “look at what’s possible if I work hard”, they are instead saying “It’s not fair that he has expensive things, he must hate the poor for not giving to them instead”.

If someone got rich through nefarious means, then fine, point out how bad that person is, but point out what they did to not deserve their wealth. the more we keep making it look like you’re a bad person if you’re successful and wealthy, the more people will stop trying to be successful as they will believe it’s wrong.

I talk to a lot  people these days,  always looking to help others be wealthy if it’s something they want. What is saddening to me is that more often than not, when I ask someone if they are looking for something more out of life, they respond along the lines of “no, I’m good. Besides, money is bad, people should be happy with what they have.” And this is often from someone working close to minimum wage in retail. I have nothing against someone who may not trust me because they don’t know me, or if they truly are having the time of their life – but to respond that money is evil just doesn’t make sense; at least not until you consider what everyone is learning from school and the media.

They are right in that we should be happy with what he have, but I think that the average person will not bother looking into what I’m talking about because they don’t believe they can do any better than what they now have. I’m happy for you if you really are happy with a minimum wage job, but I can’t believe it’s really that high a percentage. too many people are telling themselves that they are happy to justify not having more, to feel better about their belief that they can’t have more. What the media is doing is helping people justify their lack of success; they make them feel good about not being successful by making it look like you would be a bad person if you were.

People want to be liked. If success is vilified, it’s understandable that a person might want to avoid it.

Let’s start celebrating the success of others when it’s earned through giving people what they want.

I have a few questions for those who are against those with money simply because they have it; who think that companies should be limited in their profits; who think that people who have less should be able to have the government take from the rich and give to themselves instead of going out and doing something productive of their own.

Why is it wrong to keep the rewards of helping other people?

Why should a company be forced to pay higher wages when both the workers and the company have agreed to the wage?

Why should someone who is not willing to take risks and that only does mediocre work get the rewards from those who decided to go out and do something great?

Why is it assumed that because you own a business you are greedy? And if you are greedy, why is it so bad if you’re not doing anything immoral and actually helping people in order to satisfy that greed?

Why do people only look at how much people like bill gates makes and not at how much they give away? Why do they have to give it ALL away before they can be considered good? How can they continue to give to a lot to others if they no longer have the level of income coming in that allows them to do so?

Why is it always assumed it’s greed that stops a company from giving raises or more benefits. Why is it usually only revenues that are considered and not actual profits?

What it’s going to take to get past mediocrity and move on to greatness

I’ve done a lot reading, I’ve listened to a lot of audio recordings and I’ve attended seminars with very successful speakers. I’ve found that what it takes to move from good to great is to become above average. Do things the average person is unwilling to do.

The average person won’t make sacrifices. The average person will cower from criticism. The average person is unwilling to fail. The average person is unwilling to work hard enough and long enough to get results. The average person quits. The average person won’t dream big. The average person won’t read books or listen to CD’s on leadership and personal development. The average person is unwilling to learn. The average person caves in to the peer pressure of those who don’t have the results they want. The average person believes in majority opinions and won’t think for themselves. The average person won’t set goals and focus on them until they are done.

The average person makes excuses for being average.

Stop making excuses and go be great. I know I am.

  1. Wow buddy! Great article!

  2. yvMwS6 says:

    I agree completely with what you said. Wonderful Stuff.

  3. Richard says:

    Excellent article. It really resonated with my wife and I.

  4. Rusty says:

    Good article, lot’s of truth in there. Your grammar and spealling could use some work. They are good, but not great.

  5. Alina says:

    Great ideas but you should work on your grammar. Honestly, you don’t know where to use your/you’re.

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