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I recently met a friend over coffee and as we chatted I could not help but wonder what ever happened to him. Back in the days, he was a high achieving go-getter. A little prodding and he revealed that he was not happy working in a company he didn’t like, for pay that could barely pay the bills, and with negative team members who were a constant drain of energy. He was however glad the job, at least, guaranteed a ‘steady’ income.

Like him, there are some people who have lowered their expectations. They have stopped trying and have instead settled for the average, or ‘good enough’ life. They are happy being ‘safe’ in familiar territories and so they stay away from uncharted waters. They had set out to achieve high goals, but because they experienced setbacks, they are afraid to try again. And so, they keep missing out on life’s opportunities. What can we call this enemy that hinders us from becoming all we can be?


This enemy confronts us all at some point in our lives. Some become so used to the mediocre life that they do not even realize it. Most people are however aware of their mediocrity though they may not know how to get out of it.

The way to start would be to list down all areas of your life where you think you are living in mediocrity. Then make a decision to stop hoping and take the necessary action instead. My good friend John Mason, in his book An Enemy Called Average, says that, “Mediocrity is a region bounded on the north by compromise, on the south by indecision, on the east by past thinking, and on the west by a lack of vision.” In this bestselling power-packed and easy to read book, John shares wisdom on how one can conquer this giant called average.

The minute you make a decision, fear will come whispering to your ears how it cannot be done, and how it has never been done. It will resurrect things in your past that will look like hindrances to your goals. These – past failures and mistakes – are the most common obstructions in people’s lives.

And the place to stop being mediocre and start pursuing excellence is right where you are. Excellence is never a sudden happenstance. Nothing can be perfect the first time. It will seem impossible at first, but the truth is, as John L. Mason says:

“Every great idea is impossible from where you are starting today. But little goals add up, and they add up rapidly… Many times the final goal seems so unreachable that we don’t even make an effort. But once you have made your decision and have started, you are more than halfway there” (p.110, An Enemy Called Average).

Do not underestimate the potential within you, chose today to go beyond the average. Regardless of the obstacles that may hinder you, pursue excellence. You were born to win.

David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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