There are hundreds of thousands of people that have everything they need to be successful. They have all the tools to win, make an impact, and leave an impression on the world. Most of them never will. Most of them – maybe even 99% of them – will find themselves giving up dreams, settling for what they justify as a “good life” and will find a comfort in mediocrity.
You might be one of those people.
There is nothing wrong with a nine to five job. There is nothing wrong with a simple life. This isn’t one of those posts that challenges you to find the next earth shattering entrepeneurial idea.
But it is a challenge.
Most people give up on the things that would make them happy. They never work toward the careers, projects, and dreams that they really want. They have all that they need to succeed, but most get trapped. There are six major traps that keep us mediocre. They are traps that spring up when we start to chase our dreams, hustle for that new career, or strive to complete that great project that is going to change the world. Knowing them and conquering them puts you into the 1% of people that will live their purpose fully.
You will get started with something new and the ghost of failures past will visit you. You will start to think about times you’ve tried something new but it didn’t work out. The memory might even be something seemingly trivial, like that time you were in 5th grade and decided to try out for the basketball team but instead tripped at practice and broke your nose. You will convince yourself that new things are dangerous – and they are – but that they aren’t worth the risk.
That’s just one trick of the past. The other is convincing you that you don’t have the experience or background for your dream. You didn’t go to school for “x” so you can never do it. While it is true that you may need more study or work to become an expert at something, especially if you don’t have much experience with it, that doesn’t mean your time is over. It just means it needs more hustle. But hustle doesn’t equal impossible.
The promise of another tomorrow will keep you mediocre today. Most people live in a dream world of unlimited opportunities and tomorrows. When our past says, “You never took the time to do it! Your time is over,” our future says, “There is time to start…tomorrow.” Tomorrow is an unstable place to put your plans. Don’t put your trust in tomorrow. Put the work in, today.
What Other People Think
Whenever you start to follow your dream or chase a goal, people will judge it. They might judge it by affirming it (positive judgment) or by talking about how you will fail – to your face or behind your back (negative judgment). But, if what you are doing is big enough and important enough, you are going to get judged. Get over it. Too many goals die on the question, “But, what will people think?” Choosing what will make other people happy or will prevent you from being judged over your dreams is a recipe for disaster.
What You Think of Other People
I know a few people (I am one of them) that have done things just because they were jealous of what other people had or accomplished. Surpassing those people or “beating them” became the motivation to achieve a goal. Envy is a horrible emotion to drive your passion. It is never satisfied and eventually you will burn out. You can never satisfy jealousy. You will just find something new to be the object of your envy.
This can go a few different ways. The first is the excuse that “I don’t have enough money to make my dream work.” Unless your dream is exploration of Mars, you probably can make it work. Yes, it might require sacrifice and hustle – but then it really comes down to how much you want your dream.
The second excuse is that it won’t make you enough money. I know several people that settled into a career for the money. They live for the weekends, are generally miserable, and you can see that they are slowly dying inside. But, hey, at least they are making money, right?
Choosing a career for the paycheck is like marrying someone just for their money. You have to live with that every day and every day you live a lie. That doesn’t mean that if you are making a lot of money at your job you are doing the wrong thing; it just means money can’t be the only thing keeping you there.
Fear will always limit you. Fear can be a good thing and a bad thing. When it’s a good thing, fear is keeping you from eating at that really sketchy restaraunt or from trying to climb into the lion den at the zoo to get a great shot for your Instagram. Fear can also keep us from what will really make us happy. It will tell us our dreams are unreasonable, that we will fail, people will judge us, we won’t make enough money, and we would be better off just staying the course of mediocrity. Many people choose that path.
But you don’t have to be one of them. I don’t have to be one of them. Today is a great day to start chasing your dream job, that new move, that relationship. Today is what we’ve got to work with, and we can choose to push on toward doing something great. Many people will settle for mediocrity, trapped by the fear of judgment, love of money, or by convincing themselves that they can start tomorrow or that they’ve started too late. But there are a few people that will move beyond those traps and do something really special with their lives.
You are one of them.