Mediocrity needs an image change. Because pressure to perform can make you ill in the long run
Mediocrity is usually associated with something negative. Because where something is mediocre – so the prejudice goes – not enough energy was put into it to make it good. Objects are described as mediocre when they are of inferior quality, and when people are described as mediocre it is usually because they are imputed to lack ambition or ambition.
Mediocrity has nothing to do with laziness
Some psychologists even assume that mediocrity is not at all a lazy comfort zone, but quite the opposite, a state in which people can grow without pressure and at their own pace. So if you’re not sure if you’re changing your sheets often enough, or you’re frustrated that you’re not in the “five in the morning” club, then we have good news – because it’s time for a mediocrity change!
The truth is, most of us live mediocre lives, and extreme achievements are not part of everyday life. And that’s not a bad thing. Rather, the problem is that we live in a society that celebrates, and even standardizes, excess growth – whether in the sphere of economics or the personal achievements of individuals. And the idea that only the best is just enough gets stuck early on.
Many learn at school that mediocrity is bad
Many of our prejudices against mediocrity can even be traced back to childhood. Whether it’s through comics and movies that celebrate the concept of superheroes, or the reward system in school, we’re taught from a young age that being successful in life is about surpassing yourself. Psychologist and wellbeing coach Lee Chambers agrees: “Society equates success with performance and excellence. Because we spend a large part of our youth and education being measured and constantly comparing ourselves to others.” There’s a simple but sobering reason: “The smartest, the most athletic, and those who fit modern beauty norms are favored in our society,” Lee said. So later in life we tend to develop negative feelings if we are not ahead in our environment.
Social media increases the daily pressure to perform – no more comparisons
Life on social media also fuels the feeling of being inadequate if we don’t have constant highlights in our lives. What’s more, Instagram constantly shows us a multitude of potentially unlived paths in life, leading us to constantly question our own decisions. This can have a very negative psychological effect on how we perceive ourselves, Lee Chambers agrees: “The highlights on social media have an extreme impact because they focus on the extraordinary without taking reality into account,” he says. According to Chambers, this distorts our perception so much that excellence is celebrated as the new normal and mediocrity is perceived as insufficient.
In the wellness culture, even sleep becomes a competition
In addition to our upbringing and social media, the wellness culture that has been booming in the last few years is having an impact on what we consider “normal.” Even sleep is now competitive. Wherever there is someone claiming to have found the best way to fall asleep, or people constantly trying to outdo themselves in who can get up earlier, even an area of life meant for recreation has become a competition. In a time when billionaire companies are making money selling sleep apps that ask us to compare our sleep scores to our friends or to surpass who we were yesterday, we are being told that we are doing everything right even when we are asleep to have to.
Experts advise accepting your own mediocrity
Now, some experts are pointing out that accepting mediocrity is actually the key to happiness, rather than constantly trying to outdo yourself in every area of your life. Always being the:the best at work, the:most popular friend:in, the eternal hunt for the dream house/car/holiday – we can’t keep it up in the long run.
For example, for psychologist Kamalyn Kaur, accepting that “good enough” is really good enough brings inner peace. “Once you accept that you’re good enough, you stop judging yourself, criticizing yourself, trying to please others,” Kaur said.
Without constant comparison, we not only live less stressed, but also physically healthier
dr Marianne Trent, clinical psychologist at the Good Thinking Psychological Service, explains: “Perfection is an unattainably high standard. Striving for it releases stress hormones like cortisol in us and can even lead to burnout. A more relaxed approach to our performance can therefore have a positive impact on our health and well-being – improving gut health, relieving tension and making us feel lighter.”
But how do you practice more self-acceptance?
Not accepting mediocrity, but actually celebrating it, can be a good first step. Had a mediocre day at work? Why not go out with friends anyway and toast to it. Didn’t get a promotion? Celebrate having made it through the year! And: Perhaps be particularly careful when a new app is sent to you that can compare your own sleep rhythm with that of friends – and ask yourself whether such a tool really helps you or just puts more pressure on you. Just deliberately unfollow people on social media who make you feel inadequate. We don’t need this constant pressure to perform, either in our feed or in our lives.
This article comes from our GLAMOR colleagues from UK.