The world funnels us into mediocrity.
Just an observation. A hunch maybe. Let me explain.
At the end of the day, once the kids are in bed, all I want to do is eat or drink something not too healthy, sit on the couch and watch something on television. Which often leads to watching slightly longer than I should and stumbling into bed. Then after a broken sleep I hit snooze on the alarm ambitiously set for a time I had once-upon-a-time ago planned to get up for.
This is just a little sample of the mediocrity I’m talking about.
There’s something vaguely unsatisfying about it, but I’m just about always too tired (or lazy) to do anything else.
I am completely to blame but why does it seem to be the default setting for life?
Mediocrity is the default setting
Is it that the television shows are so well made that they draw me back every night? Is it because the couch is the most comfortable place in the house? Where does this pull towards mediocrity come from?
I suspect it may be more than just an individual difficulty.
I see most houses feature a room dominated by a TV. I see most people mentally and physically drained at the end of the day. Most people living the same sort of life.
I don’t want to overstate the problem. There’s nothing really wrong with it.
But it seems that for most of our ‘free’ time, we’re all boxed safely in our homes where we’re not going to cause any ripples, being fed a diet of entertainment that makes us feel good but rarely challenges.
Sure, we might have our jobs where we probably contribute in a meaningful way. But most of us are taking orders or driven by financial need. When I’m free to choose, I so often slip back into mediocrity.
I just wonder if there’s a better way to spend our time on earth.
Yet the creativity to break the happy yet numbing cycle I’m in eludes me.
It’s so difficult to resist the pull towards the safe and mundane. The rewards of a tougher road seem less tangible and more remote.
I really don’t know if anyone else feels like this. I’d be interested to know.
When I think about how short life is, and about how I might feel when I look back on it, I’m compelled to try something different.
What am I going to do?
So I’m going to begin by asking myself two questions about the activities in my life:
1. What else could I do?
2. And what’s a small change to this activity that I can consistently make?
Just a little bit of sacrifice, a bit more effort, a little more thought. If I can make a start and keep at it consistently, then surely I’ll see a change.
We have an amazing freedom to choose. Our default is to choose the quick and the comfortable. Yet, if we get serious about the responsibility that comes with this freedom, we’ll see that giving up some comforts is worthwhile.
We all know this. But we need more reminding than we think because we live on a slippery slope back to easiness and complacency.
Which shows the importance of surrounding yourself with people on the same journey who’ll be that reminder and give you that tug forwards when you need it.
If your world is funnelling you towards something you’re not content with, the best thing is to build another funnel. Resistance will only last so long.
Talk to the people around you about where you want to go. Find others on the same journey. Maybe change the layout of your home.
Set yourself up for success. Because leaving it to chance seems to only lead one way.
Tom Anderson is pioneering www.haventogether.com, an online church plant supported by his in-person church, Catalyst, Ipswich. He has a young, growing family and enjoys playing backyard sport. Tom is a keen long-distance runner, averaging 21km each day last year. He has worked as a teacher for eleven years and enjoys perfecting a flat white on his home espresso machine. Tom would welcome a visit for a coffee some time… or an online catch-up via Zoom. See the Haven Together website to get in touch.