Defying Mediocrity

I think that my biggest fear is not death, or failure, or pain- it is living a life of mediocrity.


A life of complacency, where everything is not “bad” per se, but it’s not the way you want it to be, and you start and end each day feeling unfulfilled. Sound familiar? You feel that there is so much potential in different aspects of your life, but you just don’t know how to tap into it and make each day something that you look forward to. There are things you would like to change, but you don’t even know where to begin.

In short, it is mediocre. You are stuck in a rut. And that’s what scares me most.

Something I learned upon returning home from a whirlwind of a summer is that not every day can be a crazy, life-changing adventure, because without consistency we would feel scattered and lost. But there must be some middle ground we can seek- where we are doing something that gets us out of bed every morning, where we can feel excited and fulfilled and challenged, but being able to catch our breaths and enjoy the little things at the same time.

I’ve experienced a multitude of emotions and phases since the school term began- periods of general unproductivity, then a solid week of studying and grinding 16+ hours a day. Going out every single weekend for a month, then refusing to come out of my cave for weeks. There must be some sort of balance I can achieve.

In business school, we are taught from day 1 that everything we do needs to end up in a promising career by the time you graduate, and if you don’t- you’ve failed. Sounds harsh, but that’s the unspoken “rule” and the crushing pressure that haunts most university students. I’m not going to lie and say that it doesn’t affect me, because I’m as Type A as they get- but the concept of a “job” is worth less to me than the journey towards a meaningful life, and doing things that are fulfilling and challenging, and knowing that I’m making a positive difference. That is what matters most to me.

A career that you’re passionate about is a big part of it, but there are many things that I do that have absolutely nothing to do with trying to find a job. How about cultivating personal and professional relationships, and learning their stories just because you want to build meaningful, fulfilling relationships? Indulging in a hobby? Developing your physical fitness, your depth of knowledge, your artistic skill, quite possibly anything you’d like? Some of the things that make me the happiest have nothing to do with building my career, but believe it or not- they can co-exist, and sometimes they even go hand in hand.

It helps to sit down and have a good chat with yourself from time to time- to examine and assess your needs, goals, priorities, and what you can do to get you to where you want to go. Remove all external factors, and ask yourself what you really want. There have been many things I’ve had to give up in the pursuit of this life, but I want to have my cake and eat it too. That doesn’t make me greedy- that just means that I know exactly what I want and how I’m going to achieve it.

I refuse to live a life of mediocrity- because we only get one life to live, so we damn well better make sure it’s one to be remembered.


2 thoughts on “Defying Mediocrity

  1. Grace says:

    I relate to so many things you touched on, particularly this part: “the concept of a ‘job’ is worth less to me than the journey towards a meaningful life, and doing things that are fulfilling and challenging, and knowing that I’m making a positive difference. That is what matters most to me.” I’m in a constant battle of doing what’s practical (i.e. just finding any job to make a living) and doing what feeds my soul. That being said, sometimes I wonder what exactly I’m passionate about, it’s such a dynamic process. And like you said, feeling happy and fulfilled in one’s career is indeed possible, but a job/career couldn’t possibly encompass everything we want to accomplish in this world – there’s so much to do and experience, and we’re multi-faceted beings. We definitely need creative outlets beyond what we “do for a living.”

    • joyceyl says:

      Thanks for reading, Grace! I’m glad you could identify with my sporadic musings 😛
      I completely agree, even as a student currently I am constantly fighting the battle between the two sides when looking for work experiences and trying to maintain a work-life balance. Wishing you the best of luck in the journey to find your passions and your own balance 🙂

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