I have never been a winner. I have had the distinct misfortune of never winning any medals, honours, awards or laurels in any form whatsoever. It has also been to my not so great dissatisfaction that I have never ever stood first in anything, be it, school results, debate competitions, dance completions, sports competitions and so on and so forth.
What I am trying to say here is that not being a champion at anything since childhood has not really bothered me so much that I was totally frustrated with my life until some years ago when I hit midlife.
Not that I became too exasperated or discouraged by my life or that I was so tired of my life that I was spurned into action to suddenly wake up from my slumber to do something so phenomenal that would make my dreams of being famous, wealthy and a high achiever come true(Don’t most of us dream of that?)
I was sublimely satisfied with my above average, “a jack of all trades and master or should I say winner of none” status. At least I had done a lot …achieving what to be exact I still ponder in my free time which to be true to myself I have a lot of.
Have I done enough, have I contributed enough to this world, have I left a mark, has my “above average but not a winner personality” done its job, have I been able to prove that my existence has been of benefit to this world and my parent’s hard work has come to fruition? Have I been or am I still a good role model for my children? What have I really achieved? Have I been justifying my not being able to be unique and exceptional in my endeavours?
Is it only the winners and achievers who have actually done what they were put on Earth to do…learn, perform, succeed, invent, discover, theorise, create, build, conceive, craft, fashion?
Well to be honest I discover that I have learnt…what I could without putting in too much effort, performed… at being a student, a dancer, an actor, wife, mother, homemaker, employee… again at mediocre levels, succeeded…at what really I wonder, invented…maybe a few dishes, nothing the world can thank me for, discovered…to my disadvantage that there was so much I could do but had not done, theorised…sorry guys, again nothing I could write a paper about, created…does creating a loving home for your family count, built…no Taj Mahal, conceived…2 beautiful children, a great achievement I dare say for me at least.
Is it because I am wont to get out of my comfort zone and actually strive to be the best at whatever I do? Or is it because of how life is? Or is it because I, like most of the population have inadequate time, dedication, imagination and energy, to actually become extraordinary at more than one thing, if anything at all.
So, what do mediocre achievers like me have to show for themselves? Nothing much I glean. This brings me to the point that aren’t we all, for the most part, average people. The huge majority of us will never be truly unique at, well, anything.
Is it ok to be a mediocre person? Which leads to an important point: that mediocrity, as a goal is not good. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK. Because being mediocre is not just a degree or measure of performance, it's an attitude, choice and approach to life. It's a choice to not do your best, to not risk, to not think out of the box, to not work hard and push yourself, to not learn, to not attempt, to not struggle or endeavour, to not pursue and to not discover.
So, in my midlife as I ponder over my life choices, I learn that I have chosen mostly to not give my best, not share the full measure of my gifts and talents, and maybe just maybe chosen to shun opportunities for personal growth and development and chosen to hold back my potential contribution to the world in which we live.
I have been content with my above average performance believing that it was the best I could do. And now as I finish writing this I realise I have so much to give to the world and all I need to do to make sure of that is to get off my back and begin…begin a new journey of striving to be a winner, striving to do my best, striving to be not mediocre, striving to work to my full potential, striving to stop justifying my shortcomings, striving to evolve.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”