Recently, I saw some statistics which indicated that about 80 percent of people are living a life of mediocrity. This means that four out of every five people we encounter are not living up to their true potential. Og Mandino in his best-selling book, The Greatest Secret in the World , says that "The greatest secret in the world is that you only have to have a small measurable amount better than mediocrity … and you've got it made. " Does this mean that most people produce mediocre work, so if we operate at a level just above mediocre we are more likely to attain success? If that is the case, how do we define mediocrity? Freedictionary.com defines mediocrity as, "ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding."
Are you living a life of mediocrity?
No one ever says that when I grow up I want to be mediocre, so how did we veer so far off our intended path? Why do we settle for ordinariness, for mediocrity? Is it because of laziness, low self-esteem, repeated failures, disappointments, feelings of unworthiness and un-deservedness, or because it is comfortable? I have no answers, but it is something for us to think about and then take action to reduce the statistics.
In The Greatest Salesman in the World , Mandino shares many ideas. Below are five of these ideas worth thinking about because they will direct us on the path to become extraordinary:
- Master the art of living not for yourself alone, but for others
- No other trade or profession has more opportunity for one to rise from poverty to great wealth than that of a salesman. Anyone could sell all goods if he / she learned and applied the principles and laws of selling
- Wealth should never be your goal in life. True wealth is of the heart, not of the purse. Do not aspire for wealth, and labor not only to be rich. Strive instead for happiness, to be loved and to love, and most important, to acquire peace of mind and serenity
- Until the fig tree is ripe it can not be called a fig and until you have been exposed to knowledge and experience you can not be called a salesman [expert]
- Never feel shame for trying and failing, for he who has never failed has never tried. Failure will never undertake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough
Professionals can easily become overwhelmed or even distracted by all the great information that is out there about how to be the best you. But the problem is that the information is "out there" and they do not know what to do with it. They have no idea what the next step should be to apply the information to improve their condition in life.
Keeping Mandino's five ideas in minds, why not take incremental steps to become remarkable? Answer the following questions:
- What is your mission in life?
- In the next three years, where would you like to be in your personal and professional life? Frame your responses in the form of goals.
- Are you committed to achieving those goals? Why? Why not?
- In the past, what has invented you from achieving your personal and professional goals?
- Develop strategies in advance to overcome those obstacles.
- Think about your professional goals, what gaps exist between where you are now, to where would you like to be in the next three years?
- What actions do you have to take to fill those gaps? Please describe in detail and list your actions in order of priority.
- What knowledge do you have to acquire to fill those gaps? Please describe in detail.
- Who are the experts that you can learn from? Secure the books they have written, listened to the interviews and presentation they have given.
- Start building your body of knowledge based on your mission in life
Take incremental steps to realize your mission in life, and perform an action which takes you closer to your goal each day. You do not have to conform and be like the 80 percent of people who are mediocre. Instead, be the purple cow, the mythical beast that is remarkable. And never settle for a life of mediocrity.