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Will we settle on normalising mediocrity?

Inspiration with Cynthia Chirinda

Do you long for excellence in a world where mediocrity has been normalised? In your own life and work, do you strive to provide excellence to others, or have you fallen into the same trap? To reverse the acceptance of mediocrity as the new standard, the only escape route is nonconformity through setting your own example of being the anti-mediocre.

Mediocrity preys on us all, and it’s primarily a pathology of thought — as the saying goes, as we think, so we become. But mediocrity is insidious. It creeps into your life, germinating like a disease, and by the time most people realise they have it, they’re dug so deep they can hardly escape. If you want to remain mediocre, or become so, it’s really easy: Just don’t do anything. The slope to an unfulfilling life is automatic. In the absence of activity is decay; you can’t sit still even if you wanted to! It’s a slope, and unless you’re intentionally moving, guess what? You’re backsliding.

Are you afraid of what people will think?

Most dreams are extinguished before they even get started because most people are fearful of what others may think and say about them. It’s normal to seek the support and validation of the ones closest to you, but when you have a vision that only you can see, you have to learn how to develop a thick skin and selective hearing. People will congratulate you for accomplishing something that they themselves believe they can do, but the moment you mention doing something that they believe is out of their grasp, you open yourself up to ridicule and negative feedback. Embrace it, and continue on. It’s your vision and no one else needs to see it, if you can see it.

Are you afraid of failure?

We all would love to get it right on the first try, whatever it is that we are working toward, but failure is a key part to the process. Failure is where we learn about ourselves and we are able to see what works and what doesn’t work. This part of the process isn’t where we give up and go with something safe, failure is where we get all the answers to the test. When it doesn’t work out the first time, the second or the 50th time, our mistakes teach us the formula that will work the next time we attempt.
Do you have toxic associates?

We are the total sum of the individuals that we spend the most amount of time with. Energy is contagious, whether it be positive or negative. You have to surround yourself with people who get it, otherwise you will be sucked back into the collective thought patterns of your peers.

Stop doubting yourself

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will,” according to Suzy Kassem the writer, poet and philosopher. Doubt is like a plague, and excessively doubting yourself is deadly. A doubter sees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity  —  and doesn’t take it. Why? Because it’s too risky. Or maybe it won’t work. Or the weather is bad. Or people might think you’re crazy. Or it’s never worked for you in the first place, so why will it now? Or your friend says it’s a bad idea. Or you’ve never tried it before.

“I don’t think you can do it,” says doubt. “Maybe you should stay the way you are.”

There are many things to believe in. One of the majors is yourself. To doubt yourself is to discount your own worth, to undersell, to think yourself less capable than you are. But when you reject that idea, when you throw off that cloud of doubt, it’s like opening a door out of a cage.

Stop giving in to fear

Fear is a universal emotion that, in itself, is not bad. Fear is not the problem. It’s the bowing to fear and letting it control your choices. That is what puts holes in your boat and sinks you. Fear keeps you from taking chances. Fear whispers in your ear, trying to discourage any boldness in your life. Fear unchecked makes you weak. It snuffs out the fire that burns inside of you  —  the fire of unmet potential.

“Don’t do it!” cries fear. “It’ll hurt! You’ll lose! Think of the pain!” We’re all programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. But that programming is not as useful in today’s society as it was for our ancestors. Sure, fear is trying to help you, but it’s not always right. It’s good to give in to fear and run when you see a tsunami coming your way.
It’s not good to give in to fear and make an excuse when presented with a unique opportunity.

Fear wants to keep you safe and secure, but success is beyond what’s safe, beyond your comfort zone. Fear makes you less than you can be, but only if you let it. Otherwise, fear is merely another emotion in your human tapestry — one that you can use to your advantage if you learn to conquer it.

Avoid cynicism

Cynicism is a twisted sort of defence mechanism that never fails to find fertile ground. Cynicism, deep down, breeds on fear. It thrives in bitterness and takes root in the wounds that haven’t healed. It’s a way of defending yourself from past hurts, a sort of armour, but in the end it becomes a prison. Guard your mind. Because when you’re about to do something radical, something that will change everything for you, a bold move that will set off a whirlwind of change: Doubt will tell you that you’re not good enough.
Fear will tell you that it will hurt and to avoid it altogether. Cynicism will mock it and tell you it’s not worth doing anyway.
Your life is too precious

You didn’t wake up today to be mediocre. And you won’t be, because you were not born to be that way. You were born to shine a light that this world has not yet seen. A great life is when we know we’ve done a great job each day, each week… and that we’re truly living the life we want. Isn’t that worth changing for? Facing a bit of discomfort in the pursuit of excellence? Life is too precious to be lived in mediocrity. You need to challenge yourself and others away from mediocrity by starting to model a more excellent way.

Cynthia Chirinda is an organisational and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. Her two new additions to the Connection Factor Collection — The Connection Factor for Leaders and The Connection Factor for Women — speak to matters that position organisational leaders and women respectively, to achieve greater levels of success through their strategic connections. Looking at improving your career, personal effectiveness, communication skills, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies you can implement today to review your progress and achieve your goals. E-mail: cynthia@cynthiac.net. LinkedIn: Cynthia Chirinda Hakutangwi. Mobile: 263 717 013 206. Website: www.cynthiac.net.in

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