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The vultures of mediocrity

Seth Godin, marketing smartypants and action figure, has a great post about how the world drives you to mediocrity. It’s very short, so I am reprinting most of it below. I do recommend you read his blog if you are at all interested in marketing yourself or your work.

There’s a myth that all you need to do is outline your vision and prove it’s right—then, quite suddenly, people will line up and support you.

In fact, the opposite is true. Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance. Products, services, career paths… whatever it is, the forces for mediocrity will align to stop you, forgiving no errors and never backing down until it’s over.

If it were any other way, it would be easy. And if it were any other way, everyone would do it and your work would ultimately be devalued. The yin and yang are clear: without people pushing against your quest to do something worth talking about, it’s unlikely it would be worth the journey. Persist.

I wanted to add to it. Those forces are not just outside you acting on you. There is a drive inside ourselves to do things in a way that is “good enough.” Before you even start to worry about the world stopping you from being mediocre, you have to decide that you want to be better.

The difference between good enough and great isn’t always huge. It might just be a few extra seconds. It might be one more ingredient or one more draft that separates you from being extraordinary. If you want to be great, you have to convince yourself before you can convince anyone else.

Expect more than the mediocre. Stop settling for a C+ life, you deserve at least a solid B, don’t you? Just kidding! Shoot for the A+!

Trying for great and achieving mediocre half the time is much more satisfying than trying for average and achieving it every single time.

After you set your standards high, then prepare yourself for the forces in Seth’s post. The vultures of mediocrity are circling over every creative person, ready to rip into any good idea that dares to call attention to itself.

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