Consolation for Mediocrity

‘Surrender to your mediocrity.’

This quote belongs to Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild.

Ever since I’ve heard it, the words seem to have found themselves a comfortable corner in my mind, lying on pillows whose escaped feathers tickle my expectations. What happened to surpassing ourselves, to always striving for the better? Wasn’t the principal idea to evolve, to aim for perfection even when we were unable to manage it?

I’ve begun to think that the concept of simply doing—creating ideas, notes, colors, numbers, or words within a certain order—is wonderful and absolutely sufficient. Perhaps it’s not perfect. But it’s definitely enough. If we’ve set out on the path from A to Z, it’s certainly sufficiently marvelous to arrive at B. Sometimes a person can decide that they really like B and abandon the original path to enjoy B more thoroughly. Yes, the goal has not been fulfilled. But must goals be so rigid and inalterable?

Sure, none of us want to possess mediocre qualities, be remembered for mediocre work, or present a mediocre performance. But, striving for perfection, before we have even begun the journey, makes our goals seem gargantuan in comparison to our now tiny selves. It makes every beginning more difficult. All the things we’re afraid of initiating are usually due to this fear mediocrity. We believe that if we can’t be the best, there’s no point in any attempts whatsoever. Even those two hours we avoid every week to finally begin that artistic endeavor, novel, or business plan, are all victims of our non-tolerance policy for mediocrity.

The ideal of perfection has put us off the idea of mediocrity, as if it were some sort of contagious epidemic. However, since we are all human, existing with our mistakes and weaknesses, it’s not enough to wane us off the idea of mediocrity itself. A lot of us exist below our societal or personal expectations. Even if no one is outwardly reprimanding us, our inner headmistress is enough to hurt us. Whereas, to simply try, is having the courage to simply do, without overthinking the results. It’s not mediocre to risk being mistaken or looked down upon. No matter how unassuming our talents or accomplishments may be.



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth


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