Wednesday, February 11, 2009
On being average
I have recently come, more or less, to terms with one of the several conditions that make me me: fear of mediocracy. Yes, I admit it, I'm scared of being average. I believe it has a bit to do with my naturally competitive nature, and a lot to do with the way I was raised. My parents never accepted mediocracy (or downright failure, for that matter). My brother and I were always expected to be the cream of the crop, in any and all subjects (surprising, then, why neither of us is the cream of the crop in any subject (no offense, bro)). We were technically meant to be the most beautiful, smartest, highest-paid, most-loved, super successful, out-of-this-world type of individuals; instead we turned out to be - dare I say it - two pretty average, but very good-looking, people. So the question is, did my parents make a mistake in placing all of this pressure on us to succeed?
Yes and no. On the one hand, this type of upbringing instilled a fighter in me in everything I do. It causes me to strive to be at the top and motivates me in everything. At the same time, however, it also inevitably sets me up for disappointment. No one person can be great at everything; in fact, now as an adult, I don't think that should be anyone's goal. Rather, I think every person should strive to be excellent (or an expert, if one will) at one subject, and mediocre with the rest. This is what I will try to instill in my daughter and set the bar high for the subject of her choosing. In the meantime, I'll just try to make the best out of my mediocre self.