I’ve written a lot of really tacky motivational shit on this blog over the past several years. I’m referring to this garbage as “motivational,” but the only purpose it served was to express whatever mood I was in at the time – usually during some period where I was all fired up about “getting shit back on track,” listening to the Gladiator soundtrack, and making myself look like a very uninteresting person.
Whatever. It’s where I was at the time. If you don’t churn out shit like that once in a while, I don’t think you can develop the ability to know the difference between abject tripe and something that’s actually worth your readers’ time.
Anyway, life is different now. I’m motivated, but I think it’s for the right reasons, in the right mindset. I’m typically loathe to reference Tony Robbins, but one of the more prescient things I’ve ever heard him say is that you have to hit rockbottom before you’re ever seriously compelled to make things better. You do this by associating a shitload of pain to something so you’ll get off your ass and change it, and by attaching massive amounts of pleasure to whatever you want to go after.
This approach works. For too long now, I’ve been surrounded my mediocrity – mediocre people, mediocre surroundings, and mediocre situations. Things haven’t been awful, mind you – just subpar. The reason for all this mediocrity comes directly from me. I’ve been the King of All Mediocre Motherfuckers for years, now – personally, at work, with side projects, and with everything else I’ve tried to do. And since mediocrity attracts mediocrity, I’ve been measuring myself against mediocre people everywhere I’ve gone, thinking that’s the scale I should be using. I’ve sucked – and when you suck, you get “peers” who suck, and you fall into the trap of comparing yourself to them when you should be worrying more about not sucking anymore.
I don’t like this. It’s literally becoming painful.
One of my best friends celebrated his 40th birthday the other night. This should have been a fun night, but in looking around the room and knowing the life stories of most of the people there, I started thinking about how disappointed most of them are in their lives. Some are in bad marriages they can’t get out of. Others are divorced, unemployed, underemployed, in poor health, or just completely depressed by how things have turned out. I don’t think there was a single person there, male or female, who didn’t have some kind of negative undercurrent going on, including me.
And yes, I know things could be a lot worse. That’s not the point. When you have some modicum of talent and intelligence, and you’re wasting it through a combination of laziness and poor decision making, there’s nothing really good to be said about that.
I’m not criticizing anyone here, and none of their shit is really any of my business. It’s just making me think a little more critically about my own life – about how I don’t want to be mediocre anymore, and about how I don’t want to suck. I also don’t want to be surrounded by mediocrity or people who suck anymore – either at what they do for a living, how they conduct themselves with their family and friends, or life in general.
The first step for me is awareness of the problem. Everywhere I am right now, things are mediocre, and it’s my own fault. I’ve worked very hard to cram myself into this box where I’m not fulfilling my potential, and I’m definitely not delusional about the amount of talent I have. I don’t think I’m any good at anything right now, because I’ve been content for far to long to simply be slightly-above-mediocre in order to set myself apart from a bunch of people who suck. I do know, however, that I can actually get a lot better if I choose to work at it – instead of carrying around a victim mentality that has me thinking that other people’s mediocrity is somehow targeted at me, when in reality, it shouldn’t even be a blip on my fucking radar.
The past three years were spent becoming a lemming, but at least I was moving. Now, with the cliff approaching, it’s definitely time to veer off and escape the suck.