How mediocre are you? What it takes to be really ordinary in business

Do you want to blend in with the crowd at work? This article takes a hard-hitting (and slightly tongue-in-cheek) look at what it takes for you to make sure you’re really mediocre.

If you want to be mediocre in life and in your career, then you need to pay attention to the following 11 points: –

  1. Stay in your comfort zone at all times

This is the place where you feel safe and relatively competent. The space beyond mediocrity requires you to take risks and be uncomfortable. Unless you are willing to take on the discomfort zone, you will never be anything but mediocre.

  1. Partly believe in yourself, but remember to criticise yourself regularly

If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else? If you let the inner critic take over, you will never walk into that meeting confidently, you will never make that presentation, and you will never have that difficult conversation with your boss.

  1. Blame other people for your problems / feelings / experience / life

Every time we blame others, we fail to recognise responsibility, and every time we fail to recognise our own responsibility for our problems or feelings, we fail to learn.

  1. Work at a job you don’t like because it pays the mortgage / your family and friends approve / it will look good on your CV

Here’s Steve Jobs’ inspirational speech to the undergraduates at Stamford:

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

If you have never seen this speech – watch it here.

  1. Never, ever stand out or draw attention to yourself

We are all faced with situations where we can choose to step up or to step back, every time we step up we grow as a person, every time we step back we shrink – unless we learn not to step back next time.

  1. When you fail, don’t ever try again

There is very little value in just giving up and deciding that something is either impossible or we are not capable from the evidence or after a few failures.

Being pig-headed and determined may make some people annoyed but it will not make you mediocre.

  1. Refuse to believe that you are more powerful, talented and capable than you could ever imagine

The simple act of believing makes an immense difference on its own. In most cases belief has to come before reality or change. As Henry Ford said – “If you think you can, or you think you can’t – you are probably right.”

  1. Do believe that anyone who thinks you are brilliant is an idiot and not to be trusted

In most cases when people are critical of you, it says more about them than it does about you. People who are genuinely thinking of you and have some valuable advice, will find a kind and constructive (not critical) way of communicating it.

  1. Do wholeheartedly believe that people generally, and you specifically, can’t really change

Anyone who is not a psychopath can change. All we need to do to change is to take responsibility for our feelings and experiences, be willing to learn from them and to replace habits that do not work for us with new habits based on what we have learned.

  1. Try to be perfect

Perfection is an illusion. Striving for it makes failure inevitable. Although you shouldn’t be beaten by failure it is, nevertheless, demoralising. You can replace perfection with “the best I can do right now” and then be willing to learn, develop and improve.

  1. Be cynical, and share your cynicism with everyone you meet

Cynicism is the enemy of belief. It kills belief in you and in others. Be aware of and sensitive to your own cynicism. If you catch yourself being cynical stop yourself and replace it with being constructive. If you find cynicism in others – challenge it or just avoid the cynics and find people who are more constructive.

With thanks to Paula Boyle.

If you would like help to make sure that you silence that inner critic and you’re not mediocre click on the link below to receive thought-provoking and mediocre-busting articles in our monthly digest:

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