You are mediocre.
You are an ordinary person with no special talents. You cannot take part in beauty contest at your work place let alone globally. You understand nothing about the world politics and your knowledge about your favorite sport is abysmal. You are also not that happy-go-lucky type of person who never gives a shit about others’ comments regarding their dumbness.
With your plain looks, below average intelligence, and dumb appearance, you are not going to win the world. Now, you have to live your ordinary, boring, dull, and lackluster life. You have no way to escape from your building anxiety and unrest, except to admit it. This is your destiny. With so many issues gathered in a single person, there is no chance of overturning the imperfection overnight or over-centuries.
So you have to make peace with your reality. Adjust with it. And develop your life around it.
This is all life keeps reminding you. Accept your mediocrity to survive. The only talent is contentment.
And why not you should be content? After all contentment is a key to happiness. But from what I gather this contentment is a double edged sword. It does guarantee a happy life without regrets and resentment. Yet it forbids something which is another key component of human satisfaction from life, growth. It holds back the ability to move ahead to push the limits further and to conquer the world.
So is contentment your enemy? No. contentment is your friend in the first steps of understanding me and it is there to support you as long as you use it to move towards your goals but it would turn hostile whenever you use it as a goal. So I learnt that contentment is first step in progressing towards the human’s ultimate goal of self-fulfillment. Believe me, it is nothing more than a good start.
So, how do you build your life after accepting mediocrity as your instrumental trait rather than your destiny?
Of course, through commitment and hard work. But there was a lot more to it than these two components of success. Let’s look at whole recipe of success.
Step # 1 Shifting the Perspective
When I did, I started unwillingly of course by first acknowledge that I had some weaknesses. And it was not all. While acknowledging my weaknesses, I also had to sincerely decide that I would do something to overcome these weaknesses.
It may seem like a simple step but it is not that simple. Most people lose their battle for living their lives just by not understanding their true limitlessness. Most people, you and me included, spend years of their lives thinking that there is no issue in them, their attitude towards life, and their skills rather people are exaggerating their mildest negativities. So you shouldn’t worry about how others perceive you.
The reality is that people do exaggerate others’ weaknesses but it is we who has to decide whether they would continue doing so or they would shift their focus on other brighter aspects of our personality.
I, for example, struggled my whole life against invisibility. Whenever, I was in a social gathering, I was invisible. Whenever I opined in arguments, I went unheard. Initially, I thought that this was due to I being the youngest member of the social gathering or because I hadn’t participated much so I didn’t get enough attention. Either way, I was OK with being unheard and invisible.
First forward a decade later, I figured out this was the time people should take me seriously. After all I was an adult who has almost as much experience and ability as anyone else in the gathering. So I bade farewell to my long standing friend, unwillingness, to participate much in the conversations. After remaining unheard in many events, I found out that my invisibility had nothing to do with my social status as a kid, as it didn’t improve when I finally grew up, nor did it depend on my participation.
I found that culprits were my poor communication skills together with my plummeted confidence. Both were independent from of external circumstances and completely dependent on my own beliefs about me and my life.
So, I decided to take control of my circumstances by acknowledging my own weaknesses which are worsening them and to eliminate my weaknesses one by one to improve my external experience.
But this was again a mistake!!!
By trying to eliminate my mistakes, I was trying to eliminate part of me. This was creating feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness. And self-hate is detrimental to self confidence, right? And self confidence is the key ingredient to any positive change in life.
How could I address my issues without hating my imperfect self?
By contentment. When a person realizes their imperfection, understand that these imperfections not by-products of their circumstances, decide to improve them by gaining new positive attributes without fussing around their negative aspect only then they move towards their desired goal of self love.
Move in right direction.
So, if I wanted to get rid of my social anxiety, I had to focus on interacting with more people rather trying to overcome my anxiety. Concerned about weight issues? Don’t think about losing weight. Instead think about gaining healthy BMI.
In short, don’t focus on negative attributes. Develop positive ones which are complete opposite of negative ones and have the capability to replace the earlier habits and attitudes.
Step II: Taking the Right Path
So till now, you have worked hard and understood that every habit is curable, and started believing that you are not slave to your negative habits rather your habits are your slaves. And you can change them whenever you want. Now you are ready to move into the body of new, freer you.
But how you ask should I take the first step? The path is undefined and I lack motivation to keep moving.
Your fears about losing motivation half way through development may appear genuine to you but there is hope is you don’t stuck in a few common mistakes that take a better part of life of most people. Look out for the following deadly traps for motivation and keep going. No one can prevent you from attaining your goals.
Deadly trap for motivation # I
Starting alone has an upside and a downside. Upside is that by starting alone you will move quickly. In the process of loving yourself truly, even the upside of moving alone becomes downside. The more quickly you move the shallower the effects you will gain from your quest to self-fulfillment. Moving quickly means moving without actually adapting the new positive aspect thus potentially overturning the whole point of changing your destiny.
The downside to starting alone is that you lose motivation earlier than you would if you had encouraging company. So if you want to keep your moral high during a major personality transition or transition of any area of life, keep injecting motivation from your support circle.
Deadly trap for motivation # II
So the tip to avoiding trap I is to make friends. You may conclude from the above discussion that you should involve your current circle of friends to support you through the process. Here you trip for the trap II.
Remain with current social circle.
Although maintaining a long-established friendship, or intimacy or family, bond is a sign of character strength, it may not help you in your quest for self improvement. Your current social circle knows about you, your weaknesses, and your past limitations to overcome these weaknesses. These people are the best resource for you to draw on information about your personality and what may work for you. However, this knowledge can be so strong and the perceptions of these people which stem from this knowledge is so limiting that they’ll keep reflecting themselves in the notes of encouragement and support you will receive from these people.
Do you think the remark “you look a lot younger” will enhance your confidence in your formulated strategy when you know that you haven’t yet established half of your intended routine?
Another devastating drawback of relying on such people is that they keep a number of false beliefs about you. You may have left the phase of life where you blamed others for your issues and they still think that phase is all upon you, till now. What would follow? Their behavior will keep reminding you that part of past and hinder you from moving ahead.
Do I mean that you should avoid your beloved friends and family to re-build yourself? No. All I say is to find newer friends with whom you share your journey of fulfillment.
Deadly Trap for motivation # 3
Mostly, when we realize room for improvement within ourselves, we find that we need development in more than one area of our personality. The result is obvious. We try to mend all of these aspects with a swish of magic wand. And, surprisingly, we find that we are successful in developing all these traits with little effort. But does this really happen? After following a superb perfect routine for a week, or after enjoying a beautiful healthy figure for a few months, or remaining on top best performers at work for a set duration, we fall back to our comfort zone and feel lost.
Does this happen to you too? If yes then you are also a victim of trap number three of motivation which states, “Start improving every trait immediately”.
Taking one step at a time keeps you motivated for a larger period of time. Remember to win race, steadiness follows only slowness.
Deadly trap for motivation # 4
So what should you do? You have many areas to improve and you don’t know which one to improve first. And you make a modest choice which drags your self-improvement regime into another trap, which is:
Start with not-so-apparent trait.
This trap would be an extension of the trap number 2. If we start from a habit which doesn’t make a visible effect soon, then we are sabotaging even little motivation we can get from our existing circle of support. You would start practicing your good habits and these habits would start making a difference in rather-hidden part of your life. But your peers, oblivious of these hidden improvements would keep reviewing your more obvious traits and telling you that your efforts are not worth the difference they are having on you.
So if you want to get constant supply of motivation once you have taken the step to self-love, you need others to accept your commitment to your goal as early as possible. Give your loved ones chance to motivate you realistically by showing them your gains.
Step III: Earning and Then Sticking with the Hard-Earned Love
Once you have decided the strategy with which you will keep your supply chain of motivation working, you need to dive into actual act of improving yourself.
Apart from setting goals, planning, implementing the plan, and making yourself accountable to the improvement you want, you have to make sure that you own the process and the pleasure from it to extend the positive impact it may have on your life ten to twenty years down the road.
Here is what you can do to make an outward oriented effort (as it is most likely that like anybody else you are initiating the change in the face of serious threat to your social life) to fulfill your needs of self-fulfillment and growth while at the same time make it a continuous process which does not end when you achieve your goal.
Keep track of your emotions
While it is common sense to keep track of your goals, routines and achievements, few people understand the importance of keeping track of emotions related to these goals and routines. To help you remain focused in times you feel low or distracted, you can rely on your positive feelings from the initial stages of process to derive motivation from.
How you can record your emotions?
In the journal in which you are keeping record of your progress towards your goal, you can create a comment section where you can share your emotions. Be careful, in writing your emotions though, you don’t want to miss your negative emotions like your frustration at not getting the results or tiredness at having to put too much effort in a seemingly unending process. Expressing these fears and frustrations will not only help you to overcome their negativity for some time, it will also enable you to overcome these feelings in future.
And what would writing positive emotions do for your motivation? Well you know it better than I do.
Although journaling is the single most technique to remain on track for extended periods, I figured out this tip will also help you a bit.
I don’t believe I am writing this. When it comes to sticking to your routine, I am the last person to let loose myself. However, I know how much I have lost in terms of potential strength because of not allowing myself to skip on my barbarous routine.
I know I should take a break every once in a while to truly appreciate what I am enjoying from committing to my routine. When you follow your routine after re-living a fraction of your past nonchalant routine, you would understand that living your routine is not a matter of commitment anymore rather it now has become a part of you and a way of life in which your comforts lie. You can re-discover past experiences but only as adventures and not as a habit.
What do you gather from this post? Did you find right strategy to motivate yourself during the times when you feel nobody, not even you, takes your goals seriously? Surround yourself with the right people and ideas and success will come rushing to you.