It doesn’t have to be that way. Adventure will find you – if you let it …
Today’s guest post is by Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad. Discover what the other 4% know – and why they “love” living …
Imagine an evening at home, lying on your living room sofa. You are watching TV and flip through the channels to find if there is anything interesting to see.
Then you switch to a channel which tells a story of a man whose goal is to visit every country in the world. So far this guy has visited in 152 countries. You listen to his travel experiences with an amazement and excitement.
However, as soon as those feelings come, they fade away just as fast and you start to wonder: “I wish my life was as exciting as this guy’s.”
When you think of your situation bit more, you start to understand the life you are living: stuck in the same job for many years, doing things the same way – day after day.
Are you living a Mediocre Life?
Yep, no invitations to TV shows to talk your exciting travel stories, magazine articles writing on how you changed your life completely by losing weight or how you turned yourself from a stuttering and shy introvert to a magnetic public speaker.
You close the TV and feel a bit depressed. Life is boring and nothing exciting ever happens – is my life always going to be like this?
Is your life too bulletproof?
You can only blame yourself if your life has become too bulletproof: All the days are the same and you are not letting anything shake them up.
Also, you are not willing to push your boundaries. Even if you have plenty of potential inside you, you don’t want to utilize that potential for two reasons: you don’t know how or because you don’t believe in yourself.
Another major point for causing the boredom in your life is that you live based on nice and secure habits. That kind of living is also called living inside your comfort zone.
When you feel that life is good as is and any change will ruin it, you keep yourself inside the “bubble”- no matter what.
Avoiding a mediocre life …
The invisible wall between you and the traveller man
The traveller man that I mentioned in the beginning is a real hero and a brave guy. “Yeah, he is brave if he is going to visit all the countries in the world,” you say in an energetic tone.
Well, he is brave for sure, but that wasn’t the kind of braveness I meant. Rather, my point was that he took bold action. He wasn’t afraid of what others thought even if he was going to be laughed at or rejected by other people.
He acted on something he believed in because he felt that it was the right thing to do. He also pushed through the invisible wall of self-doubt, fear and the disdain of others.
This is exactly opposite in your situation. You are afraid of rejection, being different and about people talking behind your back.
That’s the invisible wall that separates you from possible interviews, magazine articles or from personal satisfaction of doing something that 80% of other people haven’t done or are not willing to do.
Putting you to the 4% of people
Years ago I happened to see an ad in a magazine. Although the rest of ad slipped past my eyes, there was one sentence that struck me: “World: 4% leaders, 96% followers.”
That sentence really made sense. It’s those 4% who actually do something spectacular with their lives and the rest are just following them (instead of creating that awesome life for themselves).
Instead of becoming the next Richard Branson or Warren Buffet (of course, unless you want to!), you can apply the same leadership principle to your own life and become that 4% of your circle of influence (family, friends, relatives, colleagues …).
The change starts by taking the responsibility of your own actions. Ask yourself: “Why are you where you are right now? What actions did you take that put you where you are now?” It’s only you who can answer these questions.
As you are starting the journey of change, one of the first steps is also to make a decision: You want to achieve something big and rise above mediocrity?
Then, you need to set your end a main goal and sub-goals related to the main goal.
Your main goal is naturally the thing you want to achieve, while the sub-goals are like navigation aids between where you are now and your destination.
Next, it’s time transfer the sub-goals to a daily action level: Do you know what action steps you should take to take to reach that milestone (sub-goal) of yours?
Your everyday life should consist of those actions and when you take them consistently, you will make steady progress.
In order to grow, it is also important to stretch your comfort zone – preferably on a daily basis. That way you can grow the capacity of your self-confidence.
This is very important since your escape from mediocrity is going to require a good heap of confidence as well. Confidence also gives you courage to act when you encounter that invisible wall again.
Even if you encounter these invisible walls during your journey, think of them like this: They are tests towards your motivation and it’s almost like someone asking: “Do you really want to reach this goal or not?”.
A strong indication is that if you push through the obstacles, you truly want what you are reaching towards, thus you are going to be the winner at the end.
Finally, if ever possible, have a support group of people that are there for you through your journey. They are going to help you to keep going forward when the going gets rough
The support group is also for accountability. Quitting becomes harder - since this group of people knows what you are up to; they believe in you and you don’t want to see you quit.
Blueprint for escaping the mediocrity
Follow these steps, improve your confidence and get the fun back to your life again:
1. Take responsibility. Don’t blame others for your situation – recognize that your past actions have put you where you are now. Be brave and take responsibility of your current life.
2. Make a decision. Decide to be different and refuse to follow the herd. When you make a decision, truly mean it and stick to it! Say to yourself: “I want to do something awesome that make others go wow!”
Don’t worry about the reactions of others. No matter if they laugh at you, remember that they are most likely jealous because they don’t have the guts to do the same thing themselves.
3. Set a goal that thrills you. Pick that big goal of yours and set the sub-goals that guide you to the big goal.
Let’s say that you want to visit all the countries in the world. The sub-goal would be to visit three new countries every year, while the ultimate goal is to visit all the countries.
Later, you can pick up the speed and decide that this year you want to visit 10 or 20 new countries, instead of just three new countries.
4. Think big, act small. Even if you have defined a big goal, take small steps on a daily basis to get there. Sometimes these daily steps could be bigger ones, but most likely you reach the big goal by making steady, small progress every day.
For example, research the weather conditions of your next destination country or plan out the places where you want to visit when you arrive into that country.
It is also important to keep your ultimate goal on your mind all the time. This helps you to justify your daily actions and keep the momentum alive. The momentum also helps you with your motivation and lowers your chances of giving up too easy.
Have your end goal visible somewhere where you can see it. It could be, for example, on the workroom wall (as a written statement) or you could create a vision board, reminding you of all the great things that will happen when you reach the goal.
5. Stretch your zone every day. This is easier said than done and depends on the goal you are striving for. In our traveling example, it could be doing some research by talking on the Skype with someone who lives in your next destination country.
The main point is that the more you do the stretching, the more you have the confidence capacity. This capacity is what you are going to need during your journey to your goal (and when escaping the mediocrity).
6. Have a support group of people you trust. These are the people who support you when you face difficulties and obstacles during your journey. This group should consist of your closest friends, your family or even your colleagues.
Give a call to your support group when you doubt yourself and let them help you to get back on the track right away!
7. Reap the rewards. Finally, when you have worked hard and reached your goals, it’s time to reflect what has happened, even celebrate a bit.
You have deserved your success – you are not an average person anymore :
Too many times we are comfortable with our own lives and we don’t want to stretch our boundaries. Also, we don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.
If you want to escape mediocrity, you have to do the exact opposite: take responsibility and stretch your comfort zone. Actively avoid a mediocre life. It may not be always fun, but I can guarantee you – it is definitely worth it!
Do you have any tips for escaping mediocrity? Please share them below.