Do you know what’s the difference between high performers and mediocre ones?
It is often these patterns of behaviour which develop over time which make decide your fate. Habits rule your daily life and determine the perception that people form about you.
Turns out, not just humans but even organizations often overlook the importance of habits and the power of routine! Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit writes “The best agencies understood the importance of routines. The worst agencies were headed by people who never thought about it, and then wondered why no one followed their orders.”
What you do everyday determines your outlook towards life. We all know about habits which are life-threatening and need to be avoided. Most of us consciously stay away from them. But what about those which you sub-consciously start developing due to external pressures and circumstances?
So how can you prevent yourself from becoming mediocre? One way is to consciously define your purpose in life and move towards it. The other is to be aware of tendencies and habits within us which may slowly corrupt the natural drive and willingness to succeed. By cutting off such tendencies regularly and replacing them by productive and empowering habits, you will ensure you don’t end up being one of the mediocre ones.
Remember to watch out for these three destructive tendencies and kill them before they become habits which defeat your potential:
“What will others think of me?”
“This is too risky for someone like me to try…”
How many times have these thoughts appeared to you? It might seem our minds have almost been programmed to act with caution when we try to do something out of the ordinary. But you need to be worried if these thoughts begin to occur too frequently. They are a sign that you are letting your inner demon prevent you from attempting anything which is outside your comfort zone.
The truth is no one starts off being mediocre. Mediocrity sets in largely due to a change in mindset which culminates in the formation of habits which limit us from achieving our potential. As you grow up, your innate fearlessness is replaced by a need to comply with the rules and regulations which society imposes on you. Lack of initiative and procrastination begin to develop and become tools which help us avoid taking risks and facing our fears.
These tendencies become part of us with time and before you know it, you become one among those who are content to just skim along the surface of things and not contribute meaningfully to anything. You know what’s the worst thing about letting this habit rule our life? We often end up projecting this fear onto others when someone seems to be trying to break the traditional boundaries. This takes the form of an ugly skepticism where we tell others “Why do you want to take such a big risk? Always better to play safe…”
Next time, fear raises its ugly head, face it head on and go with your instincts. The more you do this, the less fear limits you. And very soon, courage to try new things will replace the habit of being afraid!
“What can I do? My boss will never let me do it”
“It’s not my call to take. I’d rather wait and see what my superiors say…”
Doesn’t it make you angry when someone consistently acts helpless? When they don’t even try to act because pretending to be a victim who is helpless is much easier than doing something about it?
Welcome to the habit of helpless indifference. This develops in two ways
a) You stop being accountable for yourself and give others power to make decisions
b) You resign to your fate and accept that you can’t change things to help yourself. So you decide to stop helping others and become indifferent.
Both of these are a surefire way to ensure you join the mediocrity club.
Look around. Your success or failure depends on your ability to add value to people around you. But in the process of doing it, always make sure your ability to be accountable to yourself and the power over your actions remains with you.
You know the problem with most people who end up being mediocre? They embrace complacency as if it were their best friend. This habit has the maximum destruction potential and needs to be avoided at all costs.
Of all the things, complacency is the easiest way to slip into mediocrity. You are developing complacence when you are:
Satisfied too easily: You stop setting challenging goals for yourself and hence your ability to go beyond your limits stops!
Making Excuses all the time: You would rather lie than help out someone in need. It starts with genuine excuses but you get addicted to the convenience of using it.
Losing the Learning mentality: The worst result of complacency is that you stop learning. Those mental muscles which need to be exercised regularly become used to your laziness and stop performing at their peak potential. The result? You get dumber by the day!
Some of this might sound harsh, but its the reality. In today’s era when everything around you is changing at a breakneck speed, you cannot afford to let such habits impede you from achieving your dreams.
Kill these destructive tendencies now and let me know how it turned out for you.