“Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.” ~Lily Tomlin

People seem to lean towards doing just enough.  Just enough to get through the work day.  Just enough to say they contributed.  Just enough to say they are committed.  It is estimated the average employee works only three hours a day.  This seems to back the ‘just enough’ concept.

So is this an attitude of laziness or an attitude of remaining within our comfort zones?  I believe it to be the remaining in the comfort zone concept that motivates many to appease by limiting their efforts.  It is an awkward cycle.  If one person lowers the bar than others lower it as well so that they do not stand out or upset the apple cart so to speak.  I find this whole dynamic depressing because it is very real in many relationships, workplaces, communities, etc.

The good news is the converse of this dynamic seems outlandishly brilliant when you come across it or participate in it.  And with so many setting the bar so low, it is remarkable (if not unfortunate) how little you really need to do to shine. 

Recently I was traveling and stopped to talk to some twenty year olds.  We were talking about travel and one of them mentioned he’d always wanted to go to Paris.  I asked why he hadn’t and he replied with a myriad of excuses.  I asked him if he was providing me with legitimate reasons or excuses and to my amazement he said, “I guess they are just excuses.”  I felt sincere joy and delight for this guy knowing he was more interested in pursuing his dreams and happiness than excusing them away.

Chin-Ning Chu said, “A successful life is one that is lived through understanding and pursuing one’s own path, not chasing after the dreams of others.”  Very true, and I would even venture one step further by including the idea of empowering ourselves to raise the bar allows others to rise to a level of greatness they would not otherwise consider. 

Living a life that requires working around everyone elses inadequacies is a life of folly.  Everyone ends up on a much lower level than necessary.  So what if someone can not be on time or provide adequate resources.  Let them try and if they fail, again, so what.  At least there is forward movement. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go,” Lao Tzu.

I’ve said it a million times, we no longer live in a static environment.  Failure to move forward no longer means standing in place.  It means being left behind.