Dealing with mediocrity

Sadly, only 3 out of 10 falcons survive to experience their first birthday. What happens to the other 7? Well, death gets in their way in the form of predators and general incomprehension of their environment.

One can infer many conclusions from this study, but my main takeaway as I learnt this data point was, “wow, we humans are pretty lucky, huh?”. Turns out that thanks to advances in science, our life expectancy is at an all-time high, and we are lucky indeed, not to be human, but to have been born in this modern age.

We no longer need to chase down our prey to ensure survival, we just tap a button on a mobile device to receive meals that can compensate for an entire month of caloric needs. If there is one huge downside of having the opportunity to live in one of the best periods we have designed as human race is complacency.

Congratulations, we have now evolved into homo-complacients.

Most people settle for doing the very least effort required, expecting to receive the highest of rewards. I don’t want to downplay the importance of the principle of least effort, which is indeed an evolutionary feature and not a bug, but I’m starting to observe this phenomenon taking place in settings where high effort is needed in order to grow and adapt.

We have dragged this mediocre behavior into the realm of professional development, in which doing difficult work is required to be done in order to grow professionally. Growing is uncomfortable. It is designed to be that way.

More and more, people want the fish to be handed out to them; who has the time to read an essay? Why do a complicated analysis before making an important decision? How on earth am I going to read a book about a topic which will improve my overall knowledge of a certain topic? No no, give me a 3 second tik-tok summary with the main take-aways, oh and please make it entertaining because I have a short attention span.

What is the result of this?

  • Mediocre business plans that result in poor improvement actions
  • Sloppy decision making based on half-assed analysis
  • B-players dragging high-performing teams

The worst part of all of this snowball of mediocrity is that we are being asked to be tolerant and give chances to those who are not willing to grow and adapt. Falcons don’t get a lot of second chances, so why should we?

So next time you have a mission to execute, don’t be mediocre. Bring your 110% into the game, push yourself out of your comfort zone and remember; fortune favors the brave.

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