Larry Winget was a common read for me in 2009. Because of that, Larry filtered into a lot of my Scoutmaster's Minutes. I think it's important for scouts (and frankly, everyone) to realize that the only way to "be great" at something is to strive to actually be great. That's not conceit, it's truth. The person that stops us from being great at something more times than anyone else is "us". We are often our own worst enemies, and if we let ourselves talk ourselves out of being awesome, well, we'll get what we settle for. It was good to see this one again, and I think it has just as much relevance today.
Never Tolerate Mediocrity
There are many phrases that we will hear throughout our lives, and many of them will be strong reminders to us as to what we can be. While I was reading Larry Winget's "It's Called Work for a Reason", I found that there was a central tenet that he would mention over and over again, and I want to share that tenet with my scouts today:
"NEVER TOLERATE MEDIOCRITY"
What is mediocrity? It is the quality of being ordinary as a consequence of being average and not outstanding. Now, does that sound like a cruel thing to say?
"Come on, Scoutmaster Mike, not everyone can be a super-star!"
Actually, that's both true and untrue at the same time. Not everyone can be the best in the world at any given thing, that's true. That's the whole reason for competitions to determine who is the best. In those aspects, there are a lot more people who don't stand on the winner's podium, but that's not what I mean. Instead, I am referring to people who choose to accept a lot in life that is less that what is theirs to earn and have. I think it's fair to say that none of us want to live our life to say at the end of it "there was nothing that this person did that would in any way distinguish themselves from all of the other people out there". I certainly don't want to live my life that way.
So how do we live lives that are not mediocre?
First, we dream big. Then, we set our sights on achieving those dreams. Remember, dreams are just dreams unless we actually put into action the work that is required to make those dreams happen. From there, make a commitment to yourself that you will only accept the best that you can do. Will your best be "THE BEST"?! Perhaps it will be. Often times, it won't be, but commit to doing it anyway!
Second, do not be afraid to fail. The only way we really know that we are learning and progressing is when we find that things that we try do not work, and then work those lessons into our plan and keep pressing forward.
Finally, make a commitment to never stop striving to be an example of THE BEST that YOU can be. Is it reasonable that a student should get a 4.0 every time? For some, that answer is yes. For others, it may not be realistic. Still, do all you can to strive for that number if it's important to you. If you give it your all and you come up with a 3.5, don't feel like you are a failure. Instead, celebrate the fact that you did YOUR best. If after doing so, you think you can do even better, go for it and try. It's quite possible you just might.
At the end of the day, our dreams are only measured by what we actually do to achieve them. If you commit to living your dreams, and actually working to fulfill them, do not be surprised if you lead a remarkable life, one that has no resemblance to mediocrity.