The original quote says “Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you’ll suck forever.”
Such words are easily remembered. Of course, who wants to suck forever? I first came across that quote when I was a teenager. The quote, which originates from the famous Beach Boy co-founder Brian Wilson, was attached to some guy’s online profile. People tend to repeat these kinds of catchy words. So did I. It sounded right.
This kind of thinking is super toxic for your mental health. Here’s why.
Back in the days, I found that saying to be true, even with a certain ring to it. I made it my motto. For a long time, it encouraged me to try and come out on top.
This phrase tells you that you are special and have to be careful all the time to not degrade your superiority by being “normal”. On the flip side, the quote says that once you start being content with ordinary things, you won’t strive any longer to be special. It literally says you’d start to suck (in life). The quote promotes perfectionism in a very bad way.
Life is not about being on top.
Here’s the thing, not every second is about being superior. If it was and if you’d design your life to always be on top you’d probably end up with character traits like Donald Trump — self-absorbed, neurotic, and with zero tolerance towards others. But perhaps on top, at least from your point of view.
The point is, there’s a difference between being happy with mediocre things and striving for mediocre things.
Nobody says you should settle with something small. But what must remain is your ability to be happy just with the small things. If you always strive for the very top, you can barely reach the mark. And when you allow yourself to be happy only when you do, your life will be full of disappointments.
So what to do?
People you encounter will offer you mediocre opportunities when your attitude does not show that you are ready to handle more elaborate tasks. Bring forward your desire to be challenged. People are always ready to give chances. Show your passion to be challenged and you’ll receive opportunities in return.
It’s on you to decide what you show others, and it’s also on you to decide what is enough to make you happy. These two don’t have to be the same. Dream big, cherish everything. Focus on getting superior opportunities, not a superior life. Mediocrity is not bad per se.
It’s as with any other candy. Enjoy it in moderation.