Posted: Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Why settle for second best?

We live in a world of unlimited opportunities. Each and every one of us has a set of talents and abilities, many of which we have yet to use. This being the case, why do so many of us settle for average, mediocrity, second best when, with a little more effort and focus we could have anything we want from this life.

In trying to rationalise this dichotomy we have found that people’s lack of self-motivation is found in seemingly conflicting desires. While we may desire personal leadership and purpose we also want to be accepted by others. We are torn between being ourselves and achieving our goals and gaining acceptance. This plight is compounded by pressure from society. We are almost always encouraged to conform and rarely encouraged to be ourselves.

This suppression of leadership impulses and creativity leads to a cycle of demotivation and compromise. To address this suppression and to develop our motivation, we must be able to recognise these motivational blocks as nothing more than artificial barriers and know how to deal with them. We need to be able to recognise when the influences of family, society and institutions are no longer a help but a hindrance.

The Key Influencers to your Behaviours….

There are a number of key influencers in our environment which influence our behaviours. Social media, friends, work colleagues, the media etc. The list, while finite, includes anything that influences your behaviour or thinking. However, the three most common conditioning influencers are family, the social environment and people’s attitudes towards mistakes and failure.

The influence of family members rather than some overt act or pressure is more pronounced than many of us realise. Not only by example, but by word, advice, arguments or persuasion we form an idea of what to expect of ourselves. Parents who themselves may have been conditioned to respond negatively to life may pass on those limiting attitudes to their children who may have entirely different talents and abilities from their parents. However, a personality shaped by daily exposure to negativism can be changed by daily exposure to more positive influences. You can, with encouragement, shape your own destiny.

Globalisation, social media, 24 hour a day news feeds, peer pressure, class expectations, teachers, sports coaches, friends are just some of the influencers on our conduct, thinking and personality. As we grow older the perspective changes but the influences remain the same.

You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with….

If we are the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with, odds are we will grow to fit into the average. The mediocre model that everyone can match. Mediocrity is the norm and success in life is measured solely by getting through life unscathed.

The final conditioning influence to which we are subjected is our own life experiences. As children we learn by trying, failing, adjusting and then trying again. It’s the natural way of learning and developing. However as we get older the needs of social acceptance and self-respect cause mistakes to be embarrassing. Failure can be shattering especially in an early environment where the focus was on perfection. The fear of failure breeds timidity and causes hesitation to accept any new challenge. Mistakes are viewed as failures rather than a lesson in progress. We hide, comfortable in our fur lined trap of mediocrity.

You can learn from your mistakes, your past and your environment or you can be conditioned by them. The choice is yours. Choose wisely…