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
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.