How to Shun Mediocrity

personal development stoicism Jul 06, 2018
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“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” - Viktor Frankl

Work worth doing, concepts worth pondering, talents worth cultivating. These require a desire to embrace challenges and uncertainty with curiosity and courage.

The importance of commitment, dedication, consistency, generosity, and resilience are not unfamiliar to people like us.

But fear of failure is also a constant companion when you’re engaged in endeavors that matter. So are anxiety and Resistance. These forces try to push you to the convenient, the boring, and the dumb through guilt, shame, and a false sense of security. They tempt you to remain humble and hiding.

The good news is that there are workarounds, antidotes, and alternatives to fear, anxiety, and Resistance. These solutions exist in many traditions and disciplines. But I offer these “answers” by ancient Stoic philosophers on how to avoid to the urge or instinct to “play it safe” by embracing convenience instead of developing your potential and delivering on your promise through work worth doing that might not work.

Love and Acceptance

“Love the humble art you have learned and take rest in it.” - Marcus Aurelius

Purpose and Collaboration

“First, do nothing inconsiderately or without a purpose. Second, make your acts refer to nothing else but a social end.” - Marcus Aurelius

Consistency and Practice

“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.” - Epictetus

Heroes and Teachers

“What ought to be done must be learned by one who does it.” - Seneca

Presence, Mindfulness, and Gratitude

“All you need are these - certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” - Marcus Aurelius

Understanding and Aspiration

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” - Marcus Aurelius

And Remember, Less Is More

“If you seek tranquillity, do less. Or (more accurately) do what’s essential – what the logos of a social being requires, and in the requisite way. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better. Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you‘ll have more time and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”- Marcus Aurelius

Let's continue to endeavor better together!

Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose

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