I’ve been spinning (going nowhere on a stationary bike in a roomful of exercise fanatics with dance club music and a disco ball) for almost twenty years. I used to drive over an hour to take spin classes after work in West Hollywood at the hip cool gym but lately I’ve been spinning in my neighborhood at the local mediocre spin studio. A few nights ago in this mediocre spin studio in the most mediocre of spin classes I started thinking about mediocrity in general. (Sadly I had plenty of time to think in this class.)
In my twenties I worked in a series of restaurants. I came up with the brilliant idea of writing a book entitled “Mediocre Mexican”. I wanted to share stories with the world of what it’s really like to serve mediocre food in mediocre surroundings. I planned to regale readers with stories about the one dollar tips, the customers insisting that we give them free chips and salsa because the Mexican restaurant in their small hometown gave them free chips and salsa, and the convoluted inflated food allergies. Time got the best of me and I forgot all about my big plans to write a book about the service industry. Mediocrity, however, did not abandon me.
A few months ago I went to one of my favorite Master Kundlaini Yoga teacher’s classes, Guru Singh. He repeated the following phrase half a dozen times-
How much capital do you spend on disappointment?
This really resonated with me. Clearly this is not just about financial capital. How much time, energy, and passion are each of us spending on disappointment? Mediocrity in any instance is one of the most disappointing outcomes I can imagine. Why do we spend these resources over and over again to face the same results? Is it that we are all incredibly optimistic? Do we really think that if we just try one more time that the outcome will be different even if every other component is the same? How much do we really settle for mediocrity and disappointment in our lives? I also love a quote I heard years ago by Dr. Michael Beckwith from Agape-
Mediocrity always attacks excellence.
I know I have settled for almost good enough for most of my life. Mediocrity can be safer than excellence. You don’t have to worry about people attacking you because you are the best if you wallow in mediocrity. You can hide out in the shadows; people will leave you alone if you’re not horrible enough to be a huge failure but not great enough to be an object of envy.
I don’t want to spend any more of my resources on mediocrity. I’m currently seeking excellence. Excellence in my thinking, excellence in my actions, and especially excellence in what I give back to the world.
I’m breaking up with mediocrity. I AM finished devoting the lion’s share of my resources to mediocrity. Mediocrity, I now see, is not my friend. It is not safe. It is a pattern I fell into in the past.
Today, and in my future, I can and I will devote myself to excellence. This is the difference in a life just lived and a life worth living.