I really love it when different trains of thought that have crossed my mind at various unconnected points of time, take off in a different trajectory, only to somehow eventually diverge into one solid epiphany, that comes as a pleasant, calming force that gently nudges me to make you sit up and notice, rather than knock me down with a full gust of realisation.
It’ was that pleasant feeling warmth that wafted over me when I read Mark Manson’s blog today, to find completely articulated in perfect, neat, succinct lines of words, exactly what I have been mulling over the last many weeks.
In my consistent pursuit mindfulness, self-improvement and fixing the restless that I have felt within me this year, I’ve been reading up a range of literature about it, differing opinions, different sides to the story, various theories and possibilities. A lot of it eventually points to accepting what I loosely term mediocrity, and it all loops back to saying a big, loud fuck you to perfection (something I listed here at the very start of the year). Consciously and unconsciously living in the present (and not in that fluesy, psychobabble-y way that we tend to brush it off as, but a solid part of my life in practice), with intention has been a constantly recurring message in my life. And what it comes down to is giving up the relentless pursuit of awesome, and settling for a more realistic average.
I’ve grown so tired of the glorification of busy, of doing it all, of being excellent. For a long time I have been in awe of, and spent a lot of bandwidth aspiring to be like the people who “have it all” (or at least seem like they do). And then I read this piece in which Mark Manson calls it “the tyranny of a culture of exceptionalism”. A dangerous disease that has the power to make even the most calm, sorted, happy person who is otherwise peacefully bumbling along on a path of contentment, stop and feel like shit for not being awesome. The post really hit the spot.
I’ve always wrongly assumed that the other end of the spectrum of excellence is lowly mediocrity which someone is equated to failure. But Mark Manson puts it in refreshingly simple terms;
Which leads to an important point: that mediocrity, as a goal, sucks. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK.
I don’t know when being anything less than awesome came to mean abject failure or pointlessness. Whatever happened to the in betweens. The completely average, mundane things things. Manson’s words resonated deeply with what I have been toying with the last few months.
You will have a growing appreciation for life’s basic experiences. You will learn to measure yourself through a new, healthier means: the pleasures of simple friendship, creating something, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone you care about.
You know what being average does? Average is what reminds you to be content. It’s what realigns my mirrors, sharpens the focus, and reminds me to keep things small, simple and honest. Average reminds me that it’s all that matters.