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Leadership Thought #329 – Never Settle for Mediocrity

April 2, 2012

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Never settle for mediocrity in others or yourself.  Greatness is a choice although sometimes it can also choose you.  Far too many businesses limp along or merely survive rather than thrive.  Far too many people are dissatisfied with the outcomes in their life.  To achieve anything of significance requires passion, diligence, hard work, commitment and raising your expectations of what’s possible.  As I watched Bruce Springsteen perform last night in front of a packed house for 3 hours at age 62, I couldn’t help but think that besides his obvious talent, what still makes him great is that he cares so much, loves what he is doing and gives it everything he’s got.

I once heard a quote from Will Smith, the actor, that “…other people may have more talent than me, but no one will care as much or outwork me.”  He is someone else who has accomplished many impressive things at an early age and continues to thrive.  Bottom line is that there are no shortcuts to success.  It takes consistent, determined effort and self-belief.  I’m not sure that Bruce or Will ever envisioned the heights they have achieved at this point, but I do believe they never ever settled for being mediocre.  While other people tried similar paths and stumbled or failed, they just kept working at it and giving their best effort.  Failure wasn’t an option.

I’ve heard it said that true character is what you do when no one’s watching.  Although I don’t know the original source, I’ve always appreciated the quote, “how we do anything is how we do everything.”  People can accomplish truly special things and expand the boundaries of what’s possible.  Our biggest limitations are our own thinking and level of effort.  Just look at the history of the human race and how far we have come in a brief period. America isn’t even 250 years old yet and it’s amazing what this country has accomplished.  Examples of individual and collective greatness exist all around us.

Never settle for mediocrity.  If you are spread too thin and trying to do too much, then scale back and refocus.  When you commit to doing something, fully commit and give it your best effort.  Don’t embrace excuses or rationalize non-performance.  Bruce Springsteen certainly doesn’t have to work as hard as he does these days, but he knows no other way.  Will Smith continues to top the box office charts and build a business empire.  The only difference between them and most of us is that they keep pushing forward and doing the right things in the right way. They never settle…