“Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocrity is as close to the bottom as it is to top, and will give you a lousy life”
This means if you don’t take risks and play it safe you may have a comfortable life in the suburbs full of pleasure yet still feel unfulfilled. You might say that sounds great I love pleasure but you would be wrong.
There is pleasure and there is enjoyment, don’t get them confused. Pleasure is not going to leave you feeling fulfilled. Watching Tv is something you would do for pleasure, it is a passive activity which while you are doing it is pleasurable. But can you remember what you watched last Tuesday night probably not as it is such a passive activity that you stopped thinking. Enjoyment on the other hand is the feeling you get when you are doing something that gives you great satisfaction. It might be painting or writing, it might be fixing a car, it might be teaching kids. Enjoyment normally involves doing something that you love that is challenging and makes you grow as a person at the same time. If you spent a day mountain biking 100kms at the end of the day you are going to feel real enjoyment and satisfaction. On the other hand if you spend your day watching 8 hours of Tv you are going to feel anything but satisfied at the end of the day. We are programmed to seek out pleasure instead of enjoyment by society.
As a society we aspire to seek out pleasure, we create gadgets to constantly make our life more pleasurable like the micro-wave. You can’t feel real enjoyment from heating up a frozen meal in your micro-wave. But you can feel real enjoyment cooking a lovely meal from scratch as it actually challenges you to do something really well and at the end especially if you are sharing your creation with someone you get a feeling of complete satisfaction. This is where real enjoyment comes from being challenged and overcoming that challenge. When you look back on your life from your deathbed you are not going to say “I wish I had watched more Tv, I wish I had had more pleasure in my life.” You are going to look back and say “I wish I had run that marathon” or “I wish I had sung more.”
The point is get out there start doing something that you have always wanted to do. Don’t listen to that voice that says “I am too old to do that” or “I just can’t learn that now.” Be bold take a risk what is the worst thing that can happen you hurt your ego by failing. Learn from kids they aren’t afraid to be laughed at otherwise they would learn to walk, to sing and to write. You start your life off not being mediocre and somewhere I suspect during your teenage years you learn to start playing it safe. You don’t want to stand out from the crowd and be laughed at. You start to turn your life into one mediocre thing after another and forget to live in the now.
Of course not everyone does this some people find out early what they love and keep doing it. Which gives them more energy and they end up achieving in other areas of their life at a far greater level. These people are those people you are drawn to and aren’t quite sure why. They have endless energy (or enthusiasm) just like a child has endless energy because if you are doing truly enjoying activities you don’t get tired and can stay up all night doing them. The paradox of this is it seems the more you do the more energy you have and less you do the tireder you are. Have you noticed how lethargic you are after a few hours watching Tv, this is what passive pleasure does to you.
So next time you think of watching Tv maybe pick up a pad of paper and make a list of all the things you have ever wanted to do but were to afraid to do.
Living Above the Level of Mediocrity