Mediocrity 101

imagesA friend of mine jokes that we could all use a course in mediocrity – mediocrity 101, if you will, where we allow ourselves, even enjoy, the process of dabbling in something, doing it half-way.

Mediocre –  What thoughts come up for you when you hear the word?  For most of us the thoughts are not kind:  Half-assed, lame, not good enough, just average, careless, overlooked, stupid.  Those are just a few that come to mind for me.

We live in a culture that scorns average performance on all fronts.  For our kids, this means high scores on standardized tests or your life is over before it starts.  For women it means excelling at work and being a loving, caring Martha at home.  For men, six figures or more and a certain height on your dating profile or  you’re just not up to par.    And yet trying to be exemplary at everything is a surefire recipe for suffering and unhappiness.

Let’s reclaim mediocre. Webster defines mediocre as “…of only moderate quality; not very good.”  However the Latin meaning of the word is literally “somewhat rugged or mountainous.”  I happen to love rugged mountains.  To me, they symbolize strength, steadfastness, acceptance, calm.  Yes, rugged mountains are also rustic, rough-hewn, in the process of slowly becoming something else.  Aren’t we all?

Try this mindfulness exercise today:

Allow yourself to be mediocre at something.  Give your kids dinner without vegetables.  Let them have mistakes on their homework.  Read half an article.  Leave dishes in the sink.  Don’t try to impress anybody.  Dress like a slob.  Write a quick and messy blog post.  If you can’t bear to the thought of spending an entire day this way, try it for an hour.  Notice the difference in your levels of self-compassion and how that kindness toward yourself spreads to those you come in contact with.  Notice how your emotional setpoint changes, as well as your levels of calm.

Let us know how mediocrity works for you.

I’m done writing this post now.  I will proof it once, which may mean it is mediocre at best.  Thank you in advance for allowing me to practice mediocrity.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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