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The Fear of Mediocrity

Mediocrity scares the shit out of me.

Average.

Ordinary.

Standard.

Usual.

Normal.

Typical.

Common.

Customary.

Regular.

Every-day.

The idea that I was conceived, built, grown, and launched into this world to be nothing more than “run-of-the-mill” is simply unacceptable.

Some may see this as a silly, contrived fear.

How can someone find fear in being average?

Average is safe.

That’s why we all tiptoe through life, praying for the same things: safety, security, and sanctuary free from scrutiny.

No one second-guesses the standard process.

No one questions the usual path.

Because people who brake free from mediocrity aren’t normal…

…they’re radicals, rebels, and rabble-rousers.

They wipe their ass with typical.

Typical is the murderer of thought, the defiler of ideas, the jailer of genius.

Typical is the synapse you’ve already burned into that genius brain of yours… that genius brain of mine, which leads right to the lizard brain.

The lizard brain wants us all to be the same.

A flock of geese.

A herd of cattle.

Middle management.

The lizard brain tells us to avoid trouble. “Don’t rock the boat,” says the lizard brain.

And we listen.

So we put in the time, pay our dues, and pray that, someday, everything works out.

That the cubicle will become an office.

That the hourly wage will become a salary.

That the job will become a career.

That our sensibility will become success.

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Mediocrity is a choice.

We make choices that lead to Mediocrity.

I fear mediocrity more than death.

Silly? Contrived? Hyperbolic? No. No. NO.

Mediocrity is my choice; death is not.

We don’t choose to die, but it will happen anyway.

Why fear something you can’t avoid?

Fear courses through my veins at the possibility of living a typical life. Debilitating, gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing fear.

Fear of hopes not being achieved.

Fear of childhood dreams cast aside for the security of life not questioned, not critiqued.

Fear of never really being alive, never taking a risk, never putting myself on display, naked and alone, vulnerable to the inquisition.

Fear of never feeling the pain of defeat, of failure.

Fear of being average.

Fear of being picked 5th for dodgeball.

Fear of being no different than you.

I don’t mean I want to be better than you; I mean different. How can I add value to your life if our average lives are exactly the same?

Am I supposed to help you become more typical? More mediocre? More regular?

I’ve always dreamed of denting the world.

Not because I have some unique gift others are incapable of providing but simply because I am willing to do so.

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Creation Destroys Mediocrity.

Creation, my friend: The bright light in our would-be dark, mediocre lives.

Creation is my prayer, meditation, and salvation from leading a mediocre life.

And honestly, there is no method to my creative madness.

Maybe one day, it’s fabricating a new word to describe something I don’t understand.

The next might be making my wife laugh so hard she has to pee.

The next, it’s singing old country songs to put my son to bed.

Today’s it’s writing.

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“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” ~ Confucius

My point is this…

Mediocrity is a derivative of our surrender to the lizard brain.

The lizard brain says: Don’t create; don’t stick out; don’t be different. There is no safety or security in being different. Stand out, and you will be scrutinized, you will be criticized, you will experience failure, and you will feel pain.

Listen to the lizard brain, and you will be safe, you will be secure . . . and you will be mediocre.

But you will never experience what “completely awesome” feels like, even if only for a moment.

You will certainly never be the person you were conceived, built, grown, and launched into this world to become.

Mediocrity scares the shit out of me because I am now a father, and my son will see my life as a template for his own.

But as fate would have it, the choice to overcome that fear is mine.

I choose to create.

I hope you will too…

Yours in insurance,

Hanley

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