Mediocrity is the new perfection…


While returning from a recent road trip, my friend and I were discussing about “what do you want to achieve before we hit 40?”. I guess making a to-do list is in fashion. Anyway, a lot of things came up. While my friend focused on consolidating and strengthening his wishlist (the one that is quite constant from past 10 years or so), I was thinking of new things I could add into the list. I wonder how many ‘ticks’ each one of us would have managed in our lists when we indeed hit 40.

The point is not the list, it is what a tick mark on that list item signify? That you have done it, done it well or done it exceedingly well? My friend was clear – Do it exceedingly well. Take up whatever you want to do, excel in that and move on. Simple. Not quite.

I do not / never could follow this line of thought. Whenever I take up something, understand it and by the time I do that and do it reasonably well, something else catches my fancy, and off I go. Its the breadth of experiences that matter to me rather than depth. I want to know so many things in the limited time that we have at disposal. There’s so much to do in life, varied things to try and learn, that I feel if I attempt to be an expert at something, I would just lose too much time and lose the curiosity. and then it will be end of my useful life.

There is more to it. It is the perfection vs. mediocrity debate. I am fine with being mediocre in a number of things rather than becoming an expert in few. No, it is not the same thing as “Jack vs. Master”. its just that I never get obsessed about anything. I have not wanted something really really badly. If I don’t get it, its fine. May be there’s something else waiting for me. and something else. and so on…

I wonder is it because of the life my parents lived? Same city, same profession, same food, same lifestyle. Somewhere I remember saying to myself that “I will not fear change, but embrace it”. I am not sure I have been able to stick to it or not – but in last 6 years, I have lived in 4 different cities and have changed my profession thrice. A thought of settling down and ‘living happily ever after’ never crossed my mind. I kept on forcing a change or change happened to me. Stability scares me.

I know one must rest, settle down, take mortgage, work like hell, move up the ladder, earn ever more, upgrade, and so on…But who wants to go down a beaten path? Take the road less traveled, or make your own path – not to reach anywhere, but just to travel. Because milestones, like experts, bore me.

 

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