I am afraid of mediocrity more than of the worst evaluations. Because it comes with self-sufficiency, convenience and not even with crass stupidity, in some cases. It’s extremely perverse. It tricks you like hell.
A weaker grade, in turn, causes you to grow, to self-indulge. If you care …
“Better be the weakest of a class of smart pupils than the smartest in a stupid class.”
My mother always said, and I grew somehow with these words: “Better be the weakest in a class of clever pupils or in a group of good people than the cleverest of a bunch of weak or mediocre people!”
You always have something to learn from better people than you.
From the weak and the stupid, you only find out how to fall, to decline, how to do… nothing to overcome your condition, to hate and take revenge at times, to stay in one place, in the very good case, to be obedient apparently, just to fight against the best, eventually. And almost always stay in silence and showing the figure of the penitent that “did not know”. You become vulnerable and easy to handle. And it’s sad.
„Oh, Lord, keep me safe from mediocrity, because from stupidity I can do it by myself!”
That is why I would reformulate in this context a well-known Romanian saying that goes like this: „Oh, Lord, keep me safe from friends, because from enemies I can do it myself!”. Its meaning is easily deductive. But I would put it like this, in this writing:
„…keep me safe from mediocrity, because from stupidity I can do it myself!”
Because it is very easy to let yourself driven by the waves and the perverse praise, to get used to it and to stop doubting about what you know and what you do, for there are plenty around you who already approve you as being good.
Instead of this, people smarter than you, in your sphere, always telling you what you have to improve, that you let criticize you, challenge you, that you constantly pursue on seeking self-surpassing, are a glory! This process becomes a construction of your own version that exceeds the larval condition.
Of course, we can fall into other traps in this escape from the modesty of the spirit: those of hard perfectionism, which can be another extreme.
But I think you can learn more and educate yourself better from looking to the highest point of yourself than from looking just in the line of your own circle, which, in turn, looks very down or obtuse rather than straight ahead or … beyond the lines of its own sphere.
Two years ago, I was motivated by the same ideas to write something like this on Facebook:
OPTIMism, OPTIM, OPTIMize, OPTIMisation, OPTimiser – to have good OPTIcs… Am I the only one seeing an inherent bound between all of these? As I was told this week that I am too optimistic and set on big goals. Look, take from my OPT (n.n. eight is opt in Romanian, and I am born on 8th of February)! And my week has not already ended…
*Well, otherwise, don’t we just hammer ourselves our own cross before digging our grave?”*