One of the greatest mentors in my life was my English tutor. Every week I’d meet with him after school, and we’d go through numerous stories and try to dissect them. We’d find morals and meanings within these stories, and I was encouraged to write my thoughts about them through essays.
One of the Greatest Influences in My Life
I must admit that when I first started out with him, my English skills were very poor. My family had English as their second language (as Filipino was the language used at home), and my parents found it hard to teach me how to study the English language. And so I went to my English tutor, who I now regard as one of the greatest mentors of my life.
Mediocrity: Working Like a Robot
The first few times when I wrote essays on great stories such as Macbeth and Hamlet and Brave New World, I would write robotically. I treated the essays as if they were mathematical formulas. I would regurgitate the plots, and my writing was sterile. There was no voice to it. There was no meaning behind my essay. I treated it as if it were my homework, and the poor results showed.
Being Ordinary is Boring
One day, my mentor looked at one of my essays. After reading it, he looked at me squarely in the eyes and he picked up a pen. He took a blank sheet of paper and he wrote “Mediocrity is Evil.” I stared blankly at what he had written. I was confused. What in the world did the word ‘mediocrity’ mean, and why was he giving me a lesson on its evils?
My English tutor explained that mediocrity meant that you were being medium. You were average. You were ordinary. You were neither good nor bad. You were in between. He then questioned me whether I wanted my writing to be mediocre. He questioned whether I wanted to be mediocre, or whether my life should be mediocre for that matter.
My eyebrows tensed and I began taking him seriously. I never thought about my writing in that way, and I never thought that it should or could be “important.”
Putting Soul into Your Work
He explained to me that whenever I write something, I should put my blood, sweat and tears into it. I should do it because my inner greatness calls for it. My soul calls for it.
My heart began thumping and my brain began buzzing. I truly never thought about my homework in that way, nor about my life in that way.
He handed me back my essay, and I went on home. For the next few days and weeks, I began pondering about what he had told me. To this day I never forgot what he had done that day. He shook me. He sparked a passion deep inside of me.
Be Unique & Share Your Greatness
I began adding more flair and creativity in my essays from then on. I even began sharing my own opinions and giving my own unique voice to it.
But not only in my essays. I began applying this lesson in my own life.
Now, whenever I take on a task, I ask myself whether I have given my own personal spirit into it. I proactivity look for tasks and activities in which I can go beyond mediocrity and into greatness which I can share with other people.
This website in itself is a way for me to share my voice with you.
“Good” is NOT Good Enough. Be Great.
Mediocrity is no way to live. Nor is it a philosophy that a social entrepreneur or social enterprise should adopt. I challenge all entrepreneurs, social innovators and passionate people to go beyond mediocrity and boredom. Go beyond the ordinary. Be Extraordinary.
“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.” – Scott Alexander
How can you overcome the evil of mediocrity in your life and work?