One of the things that many people tend to accept is the goal of becoming “above average.”
Being above average is safe. Being the best puts the spotlight on you, requires more bravery and often more self-honesty.
For those who have an unfounded fear of standing out – being above average allows them to feel good about themselves without having to be the best. Being above average is secure. Being great requires that you challenge yourself, which is hard. Being mediocre and settling is easier.
The problem with being above average, though, is that it becomes a pair of padded handcuffs that hold you back and prevent you from becoming the genius you could be. Just like the leech that numbs you while it sucks your blood, being above average allows you to feel just fine with yourself while your true potential is drained right out of you.
“Being above average is to success what being above ground is to living.”
Be just average. Hell, be below average; at least that hurts enough that most people react to the pain and try to improve. Being above average is that dangerous middle ground that isn’t as painful as below average but not as hard and scary as being the best either. Its siren call can actually be very strong for a lot of people, and once you’re there you can become so hypnotized that you lose all interest in anything else.
The most successful people among us don’t accept mediocrity. They don’t accept learned helplessness. They don’t accept that they are flawed. They refuse to accept being just another runner in the race, and if they can’t be the best, then they change races and find one where they can be. They seek out environments where their talents can make them the best, not just above average.
If you can’t be the best in what you do—get the hell out!
Do what Seth Godin talks about in his book, The Dip. Seth’s advice: “Quit for all the right reasons.” Don’t waste your potential genius . Don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve. Don’t settle for being anything other than a genius at what you do.