Over the past few weeks I have had this conversation with a number of people, and I have been amazed at how many people are really okay with just getting by. Throughout my conversations there was an overwhelming theme of contentment and security in working a mediocre job, living check to check with minimal perks, and being able to afford the necessities in life, with a few wants thrown in from time to time.
In a country known for opportunity and wealth, I find this disheartening. If we are known for the “American Dream”, why do so many have a distorted view? Why do people believe that they can’t have it all, that it’s a choice between a great family/personal life and a successful professional life? In a time where there is a huge focus on work/life balance, why aren’t people getting the memo? What’s with this “just enough” mentality?
Well, I’ve come up with a few reasons. For starters, I believe people are afraid to step out on faith and make the decisions necessary in order for them to reach their full potential. I believe that for a long time our culture has encouraged going to school and getting a job, without mentioning the important role personal happiness plays in the equation. And I also believe that as a culture we lack persistence.
For instance, can you get up, go to work for a set number of hours, and come home to do nothing else all day? Absolutely. Will that advance your life? Absolutely not. Why? Because that does not include steps of faith. That is safe. You do not need a dream, vision or passion; you just need the desire to not be homeless or hungry. You are doing “just enough” to provide the necessities of food, shelter and clothing. This is mediocrity at its finest, especially once you are making what is considered a decent salary. Notice I said decent, not great or excellent.
On the flip side, you can decide professional advancement is key. So you create and then implement your game plan for success. This plan will definitely include doing more than the norm, whether that be in a company or with your own business. We’ve all heard the stories of people that sacrificed (time, money, stability, even homes) in order to start a business, invest in an idea, etc. While this is beneficial to professional development, it’s easier to neglect parts of your personal life while on this path. Does the saying, “All work, no play…,” ring a bell?
However, neither of these is ideal. The ideal plan, most people would agree, includes Work/Life Happiness. Is this easy to attain? No. But it is worthwhile.
One reason I was disheartened in my conversations is that I believe God desires for us to be fulfilled. I believe he gives us passion to motivate and propel us forward, allowing us to achieve our best. So, when I see people content with mediocrity I want them to know that mediocrity is a choice that they have made. With hard work, perseverance and prayer, we can each be fulfilled. And while that will mean different things to each of us, we all deserve that feeling.
So, if you are tired of “just enough”, and you truly want more, I encourage you to look at your life and the areas that need improvement. Then pray about the steps you should take, and create a plan. Don’t stop there; instead take a leap. Then, when you think you’ve leaped all you can, leap again. There is always one more thing you can do. Think about it, how many people have missed their happy place by just one or two steps they failed to accomplish? I’ll help you out, the answer is a lot.
Anyway, this is my perspective. Let me know what you think.
Towanda Long, The Café Lady