What it's Like to Fight Mediocrity
The other day I got a text from a buddy who just got a Ranger School slot. In this text he mentioned that he was feeling nervous. I assured him that it's totally normal to be nervous but also that he was physically ready for whatever they threw at him. I also told him what I was told before I went, "Be for the boys (meaning always help your squad), do good push-ups, and don't quit. Nothing there is impossible, but go in mentally prepared to recycle. You'll crush it man!"
Then he said something that kind of pissed me off. Not at him, but at the people this promising soldier chose to hang around. He wasn't nervous because of how hard the training was going to be. He wasn't afraid to move with an 80 pound ruck up and down the mountains of Dahlonega, Georgia for ten days with little food or sleep. This young soldier was afraid of what people would say if he failed. He was worried about the judgement that he would receive from his peers.
First thing I said was that I was grateful that he came to me with his worry. I then told him that anytime you try to move from being ordinary to being exceptional, some people aren't going to like that. They will try to bring you down because when you strive to be great or do things that are challenging it makes them feel like shit. It shines light on all their inadequacies. This applies to everything in life.
Most may not even say it to your face. They'll go online and post about you behind your back like cowards. Don't let cowards bring you down. The best thing you can do is to ignore them. If they aren't willing to support you as you try to better yourself, then they are not worth your time.
The poet Rumi said, "Seek those who fan your flames." The translation for that is surround yourself with people who motivate and inspire you to be your best self. It is said that you become the combination of the five people who you hang around the most. I had him look through his phone and see who the last five people he talk too. I asked him, "are those people fanning your flames or are they pissing on them?"
The reason I'm sharing this story is because it is a perfect example of what it's like to fight mediocrity. Not everyone you know wants you to succeed. I don't mean to sound depressing, but it's true. It is your job to identify who wants what’s best for you and it’s your job to only allow those people around you.
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