Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Addicted to Mediocrity - Tips on Beating Apathy and Half-Heartedness

This is a post I have procrastinated about for months. Maybe that is because half-heartedness is so easy to achieve. Maybe the cause is apathy. The reason is, mediocrity is so much easier!

Leadership teachings tell us, the fulfilment of any vision in life cannot be accomplished with apathy; not at least if the vision is grandiose! Apathy and a mediocre attitude will never allow you to rise up and reach those heights you dream of.

I want to give you some tips on how to beat mediocrity. This is by no means a complete list, but a list that will help you rise up to new heights!

Tips on beating mediocrity and apathy:

  1. Be Decisive - When you are lying in bed wondering whether you should get up or not, you need to be decisive, and choose to get up! When you are sitting in the office wondering whether you should refresh your facebook page, or finish that document you know you need to complete, you must be decisive
  2. Press In - These are the two words my wife Jo and I use often. When things get tough, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we look each other in the eye and say, 'It's time to press in'. What we mean by that, is that we are choosing to push on and persevere. The only other choice is to give up, and that is where mediocrity happens! (See Philippians 3:12).
  3. Be a Learner - Mediocrity at times can be closely linked with ignorance. We remain ignorant about a particular subject, and therefore feel alright not to have to do anything about it. Let me give you an example. When you learn, you become informed about information that now requires you to make a choice. When you learn about extreme poverty in Sudan, for example, you are now privy to information that should cause you to respond. Learning about a particular topic can help deal with mediocrity, as it informs you about the topic at hand, and generally can equip you to make an appropriate response (See Daniel 1:3-4). Another example is this: I am mediocre at times with administrative tasks (probably because I put more emphasis on people becoming followers of Jesus than admin!). Part of that apathy and mediocrity about balancing the finances is because of my lack of understanding of the processes and procedures required to fulfil the task. So, if I learn, it helps me deal with mediocrity.
  4. Find Creative Solutions - Sometimes we ebb and flow out of half-heartedness because we lack the capacity to implement an appropriate solution. The challenge, is to continue to learn (as previously stated), and to brainstorm creative solutions to the problems. Rather than giving up, which results in apathy and mediocrity, hone your skills in gathering the right people around you and implementing a creative solution. An example would be a time I had two community groups wanting to hire our facilities at the same time. I procrastinated with responding, because I had not chosen to sit down and nut out a creative solution! Some would relate this to intuition.
  5. Let the Cause Drive You - Mediocrity can be nipped in the bud by allowing the vision you have for your organisation, family, business, church, etc, to be greater than your desire to do nothing! Let the cause be so strong that half-heartedness is not an option! For me, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have such a passionate desire to see people saved, set free and part of the journey of faith (see Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 28:19-20 and other Scriptures), that any inkling of giving up, letting go, sitting down or going through the motions, is not an option! If it becomes an option, then I must revisit the original vision I had, and ask myself whether that vision is worth working hard for...
  6. Do it Anyway Attitude - How often are there tasks to complete and expectations to rise up to, and you wonder whether it's worth it? For me, this is often. The choice for me, is a lousy attitude, or a 'Do it anyway' kind of attitude. I can sit and complain about the task at hand (whether it be work, home duties, etc), or I can simply press in, and have a decisive attitude that will finish what it required of me.
Well, I hope those tips on beating apathy and mediocrity were helpful. I write these as a personal challenge for myself in leadership, and hopefully you have been inspired by some of the tips yourself.

Don't be addicted to mediocrity, but committed to excellence.

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