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How To Be Mediocre (in 4 easy steps)

June 21, 2009

If you want to be mediocre, do these four things extraordinarily well.  Mediocrity is a long road made up of a sequences of choices. People choose to be mediocre or remarkable everyday.  What choices are you making?

Mediocrity in 4 Steps

  1. Make mom happy. Do what people want you to do.  Measure yourself by an external scorecard (rather than an internal one.)  Always seek to impress people, and meet the expectations of others (rather than your own.) Believe people when they tell you your goals are stupid or impractical.
  2. Do what you hate. Go get an unrewarding  job.  Toil all day.  Do average work because you don’t care.  Complain everyday.  Take long lunches centered around a mundane interchange that seems to repeat and repeat and repeat like Ground Hog Day.
  3. Avoid befriending extraordinary people. Surround yourself with people with small worlds.  Ensure they never challenge you.  Be sure to focus conversations on professional sports statistics, and your weekend plans of “escaping the grind.”  Don’t make plans together for how you are going to change the world.  And by God don’t help each other develop action plans.
  4. Victimize yourself. Don’t make plans for change.  Obsess over the tough competitive world and your need for security.  Be monomaniacal about the unfair hand of cards you were dealt, and spend everyday dreaming and consuming power porn to fill the void.
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2009 8:14 pm

    Great post, when I moved to Cincinnati I realized no one knew me and I could be anyone I wanted, I did a bunch of soul searching and have basically done what you’ve covered in this post.
    Except for a rewarding job, I think I’ve made out pretty good, I may still be mediocre but I’m working on it.
    The best advice, surround yourself with people who challenge you!
    Get rid of the yes men and negative people who drag you down.

  2. elliottgarlock permalink*
    June 23, 2009 10:43 pm

    Thanks for the comment, man! Big ups on surrounding yourself with “A players.” Totally agree. It’s probably the best investment a person can make in himself.

  3. July 22, 2009 3:27 am

    Great article. Absolutely-I couldn’t agree more. Always listen to your internal voice first and foremost even if you are receiving advice that’s counterintuitive; each person has their own professional and personal career path to realize. Never be afraid to throw ideas out there that enhance and challenge the status quo for the better, even if no one else is supporting you or willing to put in the extra work. If you’re passionate for a cause or have a dream, seek it out despite uncertainty, initial negative reactions and don’t stop until you’ve built the right teams and resources who are just as excited about it as you are. You’ll be surprised by the people who really want to help–they are probably great visionaries who will inspire you further and lead you in the right direction.

  4. Calvin Han permalink
    March 14, 2010 1:24 pm

    I’ve been experiencing some of the same things here in Cincinnati, and believe me, I fit your 4 steps to the last detail. I would argue that these steps might be boring and might cause a little unhappiness in life, but they are a stable way of living. That’s why it’s a model that’s been repeated time and again.

    There is a reason people go to a 9-5 job, hate it, get married, buy a house, and die…It’s a form of stability. The people that I hear most complaining about their life are the people who have not experienced events in their life that have scared them away from stability.

    I’m saying that doing everything counter to what’s been said above is a good thing, but it holds a lot of risk. For example, I didn’t wake up one morning as a kid and say “I want to work for P&G”. What kid does? I wanted to, and still to this day, want to pursue skills and dreams that are not marketable in the world; that’s the reality I have to face.

    If there are ways to change my paradigm, I’m all up for it.

    Just trying to play the Devil’s Advocate here.

    -Calvin

  5. elliottgarlock permalink*
    April 12, 2010 12:19 am

    Hey Calvin,

    It’s not clear what you are communicating. I agree that no 8 year old child looks up at his mother and says: “I wanna be a brand manager at P&G, mommy.”

    Your point that living the life you dream for yourself is “risky” is nonsense (unless you dream of being an iron worker/coal miner/motorcycle stunt man). You tell me your “unmarketable” dream, and I’ll name 3 people who attained it and one book that will tell you how step by step.

    There are plenty of ways to change the paradigm. You are what you think. Think differently. Here’s some links for you to read.

    The Alchemist: http://www.amazon.com/Alchemist-Fable-About-Following-Dream/dp/0062502182

    A Brief Guide to World Domination: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/a-brief-guide-to-world-domination/

    Small is the New Big http://www.amazon.com/Small-New-Big-Remarkable-Business/dp/1591841267

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