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Do We Settle for Mediocrity or Pursue Excellence?

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Business - Entrepreneur

I love the Comics in the newspaper and have my favorites.  My family finds this odd because I’m not a big fan of sitcoms on TV and would rather watch a movie or a good drama, yet I’ll have fun with the Comics.

In the Comics section of my local paper last week “Ziggy” was told by his psychiatrist “You’ve  got to choose Attainable goals…Why don’t you shoot for Mediocrity?”

That immediately got me thinking.  Do I settle for mediocrity or pursue excellence when I set my goals?  Are you settling or stretching?

Your goals should be attainable, but they should also make you stretch.  Unrealistic goals only lead to frustration and discouragement.  For example, if you’ve not made your first $1,000 per month online, it would be unrealistic and impractical to set a goal to make $10,000 per month for the next three months.  True, there have been unusual situations where this may have happened, but it’s not the norm.

On the other hand, while your goals should be attainable, they should make you stretch so that you have to get out of your comfort zone and go beyond the level of comfort to which you are accustomed.  This is the way that you can prove to yourself that you pursue excellence.

Being mediocre is not a comfortable place.  It’s like a drink that can be refreshingly cold or stimulatingly hot, but very unappetizing served lukewarm. It’s enjoyed by no one.  Settling for mediocrity is not a place where you really want to be because you know you will not be using your full potential or asking of yourself what you know you’re capable of doing even if you don’t have all the answers yet.

Instead of ‘shooting for mediocrity’ as Ziggy was advised, pursue excellence by setting realistic goals that make you stretch.  Once attained you derive much more satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.  This is such a much greater feeling that choosing to settle for mediocrity.

Mary Kay Ash, one of the 20th century’s greatest entrepreneurs said, “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”

What are your thoughts on the topic?  Do you think it’s self-defeating to set goals that make you stretch?  Please share your thoughts. We learn from each other…

12 Comments to “Do We Settle for Mediocrity or Pursue Excellence?”


  1. MJ Schrader says:

    I think a goal should be a stretch, something that can be attained but not without stretching and truly working towards it. This forces you to work harder and not settle for the minimum you can do… because unfortunately too often we find other things to do that will allow us to do just the minimum.

    MJ Schrader
    MJ Schrader recently posted..Web Hosting- Domain Names- Keeping Elephants and Websites Safe

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  2. Goals have to made for you to stretch or else they are too easy. There is something about having to overcome a hurdle that makes a person give themselves a high five! And, love Mary Kay. One tip of hers that I use all the time is to only have five things on a list. That’s plenty to get done in one day!

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  3. Settling for mediocrity never accomplishes much worthwhile. Some personalities are content with not stretching, and other personalities stretch to the point they almost break – that’s me! I agree with Yvonne that we must set goals that are realistic and then be patient as we work to make them happen!

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  4. Love that “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”

    Looks like we have both set ourselves a stretch for April, happy to be sharing the journey with you
    Suzie Cheel recently posted..The Power of Gratitude

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  5. Hi Yvonne,

    I’m in complete agreement. Indeed, we need to set our goals just out of reach so we have to stretch to reach them. I believe it’s the only way to reach your full potential without risking a complete let down.

    I love what Mary Kay said, too. That’s a great quote!
    Deb Augur recently posted..I’m a WordPress Plugin Junkie!

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  6. Good insight. I love the way you tied in your point to a TV figure people can relate to. Also, your word pictures are an effective way to express this truth in a fresh way. It is such a delicate balance for me between settling for less and stretching. I have chosen to stretch recently and it is interesting when I reach those goals, it encourages me that I can go to the next level.
    I think it is like exercising muscles the more you stretch the stronger they get. The more you stretch in your goals, the stronger you get.

    Sharon
    Sharon Gibson recently posted..Under Construction

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  7. So true, MJ, and the downside is that we get less satisfaction when we ask too little of ourselves. We often know we can do so much more…

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  8. Love the idea of giving oneself a high five. Why not? If there’s no one to share the success with, or at least once who understands the excitement about completing a huge goal. I’m glad you’ve found her lessons beneficial, Martha because Mary Kay was a true entrepreneur. I’ve learned a lot from her as well just by listening to recordings and reading her books.

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  9. Ah, Jennifer, you sound like what some people refer to as an “Overachiever!” I do not agree with that title but believe that some of us just ask a lot of ourselves, perhaps too much at times? Being realistic is a great middle-ground. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for visiting my website 🙂

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  10. We definitely have, Suzie, and I’m delighted we can support each other as well. It’s coming up to the end of the 1st week and to keep on track we should be at least a fourth of our way? I don’t think I’m there yet so have to pick up the speed. How about you?

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  11. You summed it up well, Deb. “…it’s the only way to reach your full potential….” Thank you.

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  12. And I love your word pictures and analogies. It’s easy to visualize building muscle and increasing strength from exercise. I’m happy for you that stretching to reach your goals have had a positive effect so that you want to reach higher goals. That is wonderful…and I get to take a part of the journey with you 🙂

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