I’m not very good. But I’m not very bad either. If you compare me to many others, I will come across as average, bordering on inferior. According to most, I’m mediocre. I guess that’s the problem with comparisons – particularly when we’re comparing people. If you compare me with someone like Mother Teresa, for example, then every act of kindness I have ever done will suddenly seem so insignificant – and yet, in that moment of time, it was greatly significant to its benefactor, and it made me more than just mediocre.
Did you know that when we trace back the history of words, we can sometimes gain a whole new perspective on the particular word we are tracing?
In a society where everyone seems to be competing and comparing, and realising my inadequacy when I tend to do this to myself, I had a look at the word mediocre.
I found the word history at yourdictionary.com rather interesting : it stated a conclusion something like this :
“Something that is mediocre is only midway up a mountain or rises up to only half a mountain’s height, as it were—the thing goes just halfway to the highest point of excellence.”
I’ve seen, and met, people who seem to be at the highest point of excellence – but true to the old adage, things are not always as they seem. If we were to take their lives apart, bit by bit, we’d find little moments when they were not excellent, and where they still struggle to strive for excellence.
Could I have done more with MY life? Of course. Could I have behaved differently, acted differently, made different decisions and choices? Heck, yes! Do I dream of perhaps still doing more / being more? Absolutely!
But let’s take a look at that ‘word history’ again.
Highest point of excellence? Would this not mean we have achieved perfection? To those who compare and feel they are superior : nobody in this less than perfect world is perfect; therefore, although you may be superior to me in certain instances when comparing our lives, you’re not perfect. In fact, you’re kind of mediocre.
This is not necessarily a bad thing – it all depends on what you do with it. If you stay in the attitude of mediocrity, satisfied to always be just average, then you need to try and change that mindset. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, or listen when you’re being compared – or you may never be anything BUT mediocre. Strive for excellence to the best of your ability – but never forget where you came from, lest you become one who compares.
Let’s look at that ‘word history’ once more.
Midway up a mountain / rising up to only half the mountain’s height? But did you SEE what was in that first half of the mountain? Do you have any idea what I had to go through to get to this halfway mark?
I climbed over boulders of bad situations and circumstances; I swam through rivers of anger and pain; I battled creatures in dark forests who carried weapons of despair, depression and hate. Looking back on that first half of the mountain, there have also been those moments where I feasted on berries of love and laughter; was comforted by the foliage of friends; and able to follow the pathways of hope and courage.
I may only be midway up the mountain – and who knows what else is in store? I may be mediocre for now, still stuck at that halfway mark. But my life is not yet over, and I hope for more days to fill. So I will pack up the tent I have pitched, and kill the embers of the fire of mediocrity in my life. Here’s to stretching my legs, and continuing the climb.
I may always be mediocre to some – but to those who don’t compare, my life will always be a ‘journey to excellence’.