7 Reasons for the Rise of Mediocrity

We all are familiar with mediocrity. It’s everywhere and growing rapidly. Here are seven reasons that are contributing to the alarming rise of mediocrity

1. Amplify without Accomplishment

Logically, you should accomplish first and then amplify it. It makes sense that way. Enter Social media and the world changed a bit, at least that’s what many people are thinking.

Social media has irreversibly lowered the barrier to say something, actually say anything. Since talking (they call it engaging) on social media takes way less effort as compared to actually accomplishing something, guess what most people have chosen to do – the former, of course.

2. Criticize without Credibility

A few years ago, you needed to have a number of things on your side to criticize – a platform to express your opinion, credibility so that somebody else will listen to your opinion and time to form and construct an opinion. Today, platforms are open and there are many of them. You can have makings of an opinion and you can make it own in minutes. And needing credibility? No.. not required for now.

The good thing about open platforms are that when something is seriously wrong, consumers have a weapon that will make the wrong doers take notice. However, the same tools are available for anyone to use under any situation. Again, the barriers to entry are low – so people tend to misuse them a lot.

3. Ship without Simplicity

We have all witnessed the speed at which technology is growing. This has shortened the cycles of producing something and this shrinkage of “concept-to-ship” cycle is being witnessed across industries. This has a lot of plus points but it comes with one serious negative point – it has made people impatient and unrealistic on what it really takes to ship a product. It is almost like they are following a “ready-fire-aim” strategy.

On the receiving end, consumers are confused as they get presented with a myriad of mediocre choices ultimately making them distrust most of the choices.

4. Connect without really Connecting

Have you met those “hyper-connected” people who are managing a few hundred conversations with people all over the world. Sometimes these people attend “real” meetings with other people but even then they don’t want to miss all the action that’s happening in their online world. So they are always taking breaks to ensure that they are “fully connected” with their online friends even though they are talking to someone in the real world.

This is a classic case of connecting without really connecting. Online relationships are great to amplify real relationships in the physical world but they are not a substitute unless you want to live most of your life in the online world.

For meaningful things to happen, you need meaningful relationships and in a hyper connected world, it’s easy to miss that and get carried away.

5. Fame without the right Foundation

Did you hear about the story where 11,000 children gathered in a park in Manila to brush their teeth simultaneously in an attempt to make it into the Guinness book of World Records?

How about a man trying to watch TV continuously for 60+ hours? The story made it to the home page of CNN.

I can find hundreds of examples of people trying to do ridiculous things to become famous. The media supports them very well too. Hundreds and thousands of people follow such stories, spread them, follow ongoing conversations regarding them and ultimately creating a vicious cycle of more people wanting such fame.

What we need is more people who are getting famous for doing things that will leave the world to be a better place.

6. Activity without Accountability

Today all of us can get VERY busy without accomplishing anything for a very long time. The marketers out there want you to engage with them so that they get to their goals. They are designing “online experiences” so that their “target market” (meaning: You) are fully engaged and entertained. The viral video they created once and millions watched again and again is serving their purpose but not the purpose of the millions that wasted their time watching it.

If you fall into the trap of engaging in activity without accountability, you will have no time left to accomplish anything meaningful. The result – you will produce something mediocre.

7. Wish without the Will

This is probably the result of all of the above. Today, you get to see a lot of things and consume a lot of information everyday. Since real accomplishments can be amplified, you get to see a lot more amazing things compared to before. The problem: you may be tempted to think it’s “easy” to create those accomplishments. If you fall into the trap, you are into “wishing without the will” and commitment for what it takes to really accomplish. The result: you guessed it right – mediocrity.

I am not saying that these are the only reasons for the rise of mediocrity but they are a good start.

Image Courtesy: gapingvoid