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Is it important to be an achiever or being mediocre can be sufficient in achieving your goals in life?

by Gurneet Kaur

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In today’s competitive world, everyone is fighting a battle- A battle to win; a battle to survive and a battle to overcome the failures. Everything today has become so difficult to achieve than it was ten to twenty years ago. Be it getting through your dream school, Favorite Club, excelling in Exams, College admissions or a promotion at job. You have to be the best if you want to become “successful” in your life. Now the big question here is; how does one measure success?

achiever in life

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Achievement Vis a vis our own Expectations

I might be happy being ordinary at what I do and be very satisfied with what I have achieved. Similarly, someone being the best in his field also might not be satisfied with their achievements.  So the next time when someone comments on your “mediocre” success or failure, politely tell them about how much you are happy/satisfied about the same.

Compare the results with your own expectations

The correct way of evaluating our performances is by comparing the results with the expectations “we” had. But somehow that’s not what happens in reality. I always make sure that I compare myself with the standards I set for myself. People will always try to bring us down but we need to be careful I have seen people getting through IIMs, IITs and still did not manage to get a job for themselves. More than 90% of the CEOs in the world do not have an MBA degree.

 How is a person tagged as a mediocre or an achiever?

 There are people we see around us in our daily lives who are mediocre, still doing very well and happy about it. My cousin has always been a very bright student throughout her academic life. She wanted to become a teacher and she became one too. But people around her always looked down at her profession because they thought she could do so much better with her set of skills. This demarcation is a very subjective term. Instead of putting ourselves down or booming with confidence, one needs to set those definitions and follow them through and through. One should not forget that if we are okay at one thing then it doesn’t make us any else than anyone. Everyone has their unique set of skills and abilities, which when nurtured rightly, will bring out the best in all of us. Everyone is a potential achiever. What is important is never think less of ourselves.

Mediocrity sets in when we the people are unable to meet their personal goals in life, when they have dreamt, tried/procrastinated and were unable to meet those goals. It is a fact that a lot of us are not calling shots in life, going with the flow. But what makes us mediocre is our unwillingness to do something about it. To NOT be pissed off.

The academic performance: Is it the only criteria to be tagged as an achiever?

Achievements are not defined by the value perceived by people but how we look at our achievements. Achievements can be as big as topping the board exams or providing for one’s family or becoming a part of the literary club .This is exactly where our society lacks today. People are judged by their academic performance more than anything else. The only ones who suffer from this “judgment” are the poor students who are not the toppers in their school or college and people whose definition of success is NOT determined by being an achiever at something. There are can be students or individuals who are happy with an average score because that is the best they can perform. Plus they are not ashamed about it. It is the people around them that make them feel good or bad about something. If a student tops an exam and do not have people around him to congratulate or celebrate with, then the success is no different from someone who had just managed to pass. In the same way, If the person is satisfied with the average marks, it is the people around him/her who are not quite “satisfied” and that is exactly what affects the person as individuals.

Sachin Tendulkar failed his tenth exams, Anupam Kher failed too, Gautam Gambhir as well but we still know these people by their names. They are happy doing what they want to and not what people thought they should.

Quoting Tyler Durdan from the movie Fight Club :

“I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”

The Great success examples set before the today's generation

Today, in an age where a person is bombarded with success stories and high expectations it is easy to feel let down by oneself and to lose sight of what they want. Before comparing ourselves to the Larry Pages and Mark Zuckerbergs of our time it is important to think about the amount of work and also the amount of luck involved. Achieving greatness requires a lot of risk which is a daunting task for some as success is not guaranteed. Thus just being greatly talented or highly skilled or being lucky does not guarantee success.  Being successful generally involves a perfect mix of all of the above!

Mediocre: An essential requirement of the society

On the flip side, in today’s world being mediocre also has its advantages! For every visionary leader with great aspirations and a million dollar idea, he needs 100 people to do his dirty work for him. Being mediocre, which translated to a person who keeps his head down and does what he is told, maybe a boon in the world of today. Not everyone can be a CEO or President and If everyone would want to play the lead role in a play then who would play the role of extras? Rather in this race of being extraordinary, we have reached a point wherein there is an abundance of Engineers and Doctors but we do not have sufficient Human Capital to do mediocre work for us. This is exactly why in a developed country like United States of America we hardly find any “extra” help for families or maids like the ones we have in India.

This is also aided by the fact that today’s mediocre populace is quite different to what was considered mediocre a decade back. Today’s mediocre comprises of the horde of engineers with a four year technical degree or an MBA aspirants with a 75% on his CAT. The mediocre of today have greater skills to succeed and certainly the avenues to do so too.

A change is what is needed

So it has become important for the coming generation to not let themselves get affected by how their elders or society perceive things. They should set their own benchmarks and goals in life. The only man one should be competing with is himself. This will help us in becoming better individuals and we will not be driven by the society. This mindset will take its own time to change and the coming generation will be thankful to us for this changed perception.

So go out, do what you always wanted to, set standards and do not forget to compare the end results with the standards you set for yourself and not what others try to.

Achievers are people who meet their goals in life or are working successfully towards it. Mediocrity is being stuck. Being immobile with no foreseeable.


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