September 15, 2008

Mediocrity versus excellence

Posted in Life tagged , , at 1:24 pm by Andrew McMillen

An excellent post on Schaefer’s Blog linked from The Art Of Manliness discusses a general lack of personal responsibility and accountability:

This is why something needs to change – and instead of demanding it from everyone else it has to start with us. As Herbert Spencer aptly spoke, “The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

After all, at the end of the day it’s about taking a coat when it looks like it’s chilly outside. You can choose not to, it’s true, but don’t whine when you get cold.  Life’s about choices.

Mediocrity is easy. Excellence is hard. 

I find inspiration everywhere. In the actions – the poor choices – of my fellows. 

They constantly eat crap and wonder why they’re unhealthy? Inspiration to exercise more often and constantly evaluate what I eat.

Their entire day ruined due to a crippling hangover from the night before? Inspiration to exercise self control and restrict what I drink.

They spend considerable amounts of time enveloped within a virtual world while barely functioning in the real world? Inspiration to read, think, discuss, write, create.

This thought process has become easier over time. “What could I be achieving right now?” is the question at the back of my mind. 

The way I see it – we’re here for 80 years. Maybe less, maybe more. Best to make the most of it, right?

Funny how the first connotation we tend to have with that phrase is partying, socialising, hedonism, affluence

Life’s about choices. Since most people are happy with mediocrity, I choose excellence.

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7 Comments

  1. Sophie said,

    If most people were happy with excellence, would you still choose excellence?

  2. Yes.

    Maybe I worded that last bit poorly. It wasn’t meant to be based on a competitive dichotomy – as in “if they choose this, I’m going to choose that regardless”.

    If everyone chose excellence, that’d be swell!

  3. This Devil's Workday said,

    “Funny how the first connotation we tend to have with that phrase is partying, socialising, hedonism, affluence.”

    I know exactly what you mean. One night I refused to eat Maccas on the way home from the pub because… it’s just shit food, and my friend said “you only live once”.

    Partying and all that is fun, but I don’t consider it living fast or to the fullest. Most nights are just slight variations of others. I think making the most of life is more about experiences. Most people seem to have the wrong idea.

  4. Sophie said,

    Fair enough.
    “What could I be achieving right now?”

    It’s hard trying to keep your life going in forward motion while still keeping a balance between all the different aspects therein, and remembering that having a personal/social life is just as important as everything else. I guess hopefully you get better with life the longer you keep plugging at it.

  5. YES!!! GREAT!

    Why do people do so much stupid crap, anyways? Like shoveling bad food, or getting splintering hangovers all of the time, etc? Thats a question I’ve been trying to answer.

  6. Relja Dereta said,

    @David Windmiller

    I’d say because they don’t have an example of positive behavior, which makes it all the more difficult to leave some form of bad, yet pleasurable behavior.

    As an example, it’s easy to eat junk food, ’cause it’s really tasty and you don’t really see the negative effects directly. You might become fat, unhealthy etc. but the connection eating-junk=bad-health is not so directly obvious to us like finger-in-fire=burnt-finger, even though we know that both cases are true.

    Additionally, and here’s I believe the root of the problem, if you’ve never at some time in your life been on a really healthy diet (not in the sense of diets for quickly losing weight, but a thought-out eating regimen), then you don’t have the actual experience of being healthy and fit, and really feeling all the benefits of such a condition. Also, you most likely don’t see enough people who are on a healthy eating regimen and who would inspire you to do the same; couple that with stereotypes about healthy food being bland, nothing more then constant sacrifice of pleasure for an extra year or two of life… and, well, it’s easy to keep eating the tasty, yet ultimately bad-for-you food.

    I want to go into more detail, but I don’t want to make this comment longer than the post 🙂 This issue’s been on my mind for some time now, and this discussion prompted me to try and lay out my thoughts in a more organized manner.

    Cool post, Andrew!

  7. Thanks, Relja!


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