Are you a perfectionist? Do you have the need to win at everything you do? Are you hyper-competitive? Postive thinking purists love to talk about never settlling for less, but in the spirit of critical thinking, could going for the gold in every area of your life actually be costing you? Watch this short video and see what you think. I’ll look forward to your comments.   Steve Siebold ( 3:05 )

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Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

28 thoughts on “The Power of Mediocrity”

  1. This is a great message! Liberating at the same time it is empowering. The idea allows you to relax and focus on what’s really important.


  2. You helped define and explain that in a different way to me with this blog.

  3. Was it not Zig Ziglar who said you must become ‘a meaningful specific and not a wandering generality’?

  4. The Power of Mediocrity blog basically says, we do not have time to do everything perfect so it is ok not to be the best and do the best at everything else.

    Agree with the blog, but i would add something like:

    We should continue to develop the HABIT of always trying hard . . . . but you don’t have time to be the absolute best at everything we do.

    For example: You don’t have to spend the time, money and training effort to bowl a 300 game if we only bowl once a year for fun. It is ok to be average or even below average. (unless you are a professional bowler). BUT – try, and do your best.

    It is ok, not to spend the time, money and effort on a computer game. It is ok to be average. (unless you are a professional gamer). But try and do your best.

    But, you should spend the time, money and effort on developing important ideal that will improve your career. Spend your effort on the most important things in your life!

  5. Great point Steve.

    Bob Proctor often commands us to decide on what we want.
    There is but one God. And we are not He.
    We cannot be perfect in everything or at everything.
    “This ONE thing I do…” – The Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Church at Philippi

  6. I agree and a good friend of mine shared about doing things with excellence and thus getting rid of our obsession with perfection in life.

    Be clear about what you want, focused on it daily as you build it and learn to enjoy your life which is quite in line with getting rid of our tyranny of perfection.

    Who and what determines true success in our lives? I prefer to listen to my own inner drummer and at the same time I’m careful about not fooling myself into believing I’m accomplishing something when in fact nothing is happening.

    I appreciate your thought provoking blog.

  7. Steve,
    Excellent observation and instruction ! Put your attention on that which you enjoy the most (your passion) and become an expert at it and the rewards will show up in your life. Everything else is in interest that you can have fun with. You win some…you lose some…..but not to worry….que sera sera. All hail mediocrity !!

  8. @Angel

    Angel, all the goals you have stated are not contradictory to each other, quite the contrary. You need to achieve all four of them to be a successful person in life, so need to choose one over the other. Once you concentrate on all these, the rest of your life will fall in place around those just perfectly.


  9. I often feel like intellectually arm wrestling you over a lot of your concepts but here is a position that I can support. However, I’d recommend moving away from the term ‘mediocre’ which tends to have a negative connotation to a term like ‘good enough’. It was used by child therapist Donald Winnicott when he told parents they did not have to be perfect to rear a healthy, happy child – they just had to be ‘good enough’.

    1. Tony,
      Thanks for your comment–and please don’t be shy about challenging me or other commentors to ‘an intellectual arm wrestle’. Thats what mental toughness and critical thinking are all about. We can all learn from each other. I don’t have all the answers–just an opinion–and I’d like to hear yours. Thanks for joining the discussion on this one.

  10. @ Mike Jacobi – I think you’re exactly right which goes hand in hand with what Mike Michelozzi said.

    I’m enrolled in the Mental Toughness College right now and I’m reminded that there are eight areas of my life that require attention and focus. As I take the time to examine each area and assess for myself how focused I am, I can see where I fall short and where I excel. Steve touched on being mediocre in our last session and when he did, it was as if I felt a world of pressure being lifted off my shoulders. I will admit to being a positive thiking purest sure, but I do know that I settle for less in a lot of areas of my life. When Steve told us it was ok to be mediocre in certain areas of our life, I was grateful and it gave me the power to see things from a place of objective reality rather than a place of denial.

    Great post Steve. Thanks for taking the time out of your very busy life to post this for us. It was great seeing you and Dawn again in Ft Lauderdale. Theron and I count ourselves blessed to know you and to be apart of SSN.

  11. I agree. I think Wayne Dyer addressed this once, and suggested that it was a great idea to set out to have “an average bike ride” or some other leisure activity. The desire for excellence as a professional or as a human being is great. But there are some places where striving actually gets in the way. Meditation is an example. Most of us mess up our experiences of meditation by trying to have a “perfect meditation.” In the first place, who knows what the hell a “perfect meditation” is? Colored lights? The sound of Tibetan bells int he background? Special effects imported from Shangri-la? But leaving that question aside, the essence of most meditation is NOT-striving. Effort screws it up. It’s like “trying hard” to sleep. I think we need to use effort and determination only where it works. Don’t employ a hammer when a totally different tool is called for.

  12. ok, what i see about what your saying – using horse racing as example: It’s ok to come in second, I was in the race………… and played full out. gave it my best!

    something like that…..

  13. Steve,
    great post. I think most people live like this subconsciously, but consciously try to be perfect, thus there is a great conflict of purpose and they finally achieve none of their goals, as you can’t reach them all, but you have to select and follow your own strength. And the sooner you sort this out in your own mind and become fullt aware of it, that faster you will be REALLY successful in your life.

    Great start for the SSN and great event. Both you and Dawn sure know how to give back to the speaking industry.


  14. Hi Steve

    It was great catching up with you in Fort Lauderdale the other day and seeing the amazing turn out and enthusiasm for your SSN network launch …..very impressive…… it was great exchanging ideas and opportunities with your network of speakers from across the globe…. We’re all gonna need 100% concentration and focus on this one!!!!!… and as you say steve focus on what your good at and in between take a little time out for mediocrity with all the other stuff in our lives…..after all what’s the point of being Jack of all trades but master of none…..too stressful that’s for sure!!!!!….

    where are all those exotic birds Dawn was talking about …..I don’t see any flying around in your video!!!!! Your in your back yard right?????

    thanks Steve for giving us the opportunity of a life time bringing us into the next level of your SSN global networking business.


  15. Yes, I discovered that I’m a much happier, pleasant, and powerful person when I focus on excelling at the things that matter the most to me. Values clarification is the first step followed by allowing oneself to reduce the importance of the other aspects of life. All the best to you Steve. You helped me to refocus and obtain control of my life!

  16. Steve,

    you are absolutely right. Our time and energy is limited and therefore we have to focus real hard on the ONE thing in life we want to achieve and be outstanding at. For me this goal is to be a world-class scientist and I’m on my way… I also love other activities such as sports and music, but I exercise and play the piano just for fun. I know I will never compete at the Olympics or play at Carnegie Hall, but that’s perfectly o.k. with me. I have made my choices in life and I do not have any regrets!



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