Mediocrity is scarier than misery

All is well, but nothing is good.

Olesya Vlasova, author of the project “re-self”

I never understood before why so many people, including me, know about the existence of famous and great people, but don’t do anything to try to get there too. I mean, I definitely wouldn’t mind having millions of dollars or be a famous singer, writer, or entrepreneur. But except for reading about it – I never made any attempts to change my life.

Why?

Because of a strong grasp of comfort.

I was working in IT. Relatively high salaries. Comfort, security, fun at the office. Whether I was making a lot of effort or wasn’t doing anything at all – I had my paycheck regularly at the beginning of each month. I knew that nobody will control me every hour. As long as, in general, I perform at the average level – I’m safe.

My employer decided for me when I wake up and when I go home. When I go for lunch and for how long. But it was all covered up with a relative freedom – I could come later and leave earlier, I could take longer breaks. If I wasn’t abusing it – it was fine.

It was similar for 10 years. Companies, managers, conditions were changing. Sometimes I had a complete freedom, sometimes strict hours. And it was in those strict hours that I craved for more. It was when I was working 8 hours day shift plus 3-4 hours at night and another 5 to 20 hours per weekend. It was when I was not allowed to come later than 15 minutes after start or leave even 5 minutes earlier – these were the times which forced me to search for better conditions. When I had(at the beginning) so low salary that I was barely making the ends – I had no option but to demand a raise.

But when I reached the level where it was okay – then I was getting stuck.

Everyone has different limits of what they can put up with. Different level of compromises. And until conditions do not cross this level – we usually won’t have a motivation to change it.

It is the main reason why some people wake up only after they’ve hit rock bottom.

When the pain, discomfort is so strong, that we refuse to live like that any longer.

But if that pain is bearable, sugar-coated with relative freedom, benefits, secure paychecks – we tend to get sucked up in it very deeply.

Now I’m not saying that offices are bad and a source of evil. We can thrive and flourish at the office too, climb the ladder, get promotions, get high salaries, do what we really love to do. And many people are doing so great. We can thrive anywhere we want.

I am speaking about the cases when we silently hate what we do, but keep staying there because of a comfort.

That comfort is holding us so strongly, sometimes we don’t realize how much.

I quit my job because I wanted to change the direction from IT to personal development and writing. I was sure about my decision. I thought that when I quit – I will start rapidly growing in a chosen direction. But I didn’t take into account one thing: how lazy I’ve become during 10 years of living in security.

I realized that I’ve changed my conditions, but I didn’t change me. I am still same lazy: I tend to sleep long, do everything slowly, hand around without purpose, procrastinate, get distracted all the time. I’m used to not make any big efforts in anything, not to put my soul in what I do, because I’m used to have my money on the 1st day of the month no matter what. So what’s the big deal?

Now, after wasting few weeks in acclimatization and waking up from zombie mode – I finally go back to where I should have started: changing my habits from mediocre to productive. Changing myself first. If I realized that before, I could have very well started that shift during working at the office, become productive and make a difference there first, and then slowly transition to what I want.

I understood that success is not coming to us, we are bringing it. We can bring success to everything we do. To our job, or cleaning flat, or raising kids. Success is a habit which, if practiced long enough, becomes a lifestyle.

But I didn’t know this before. Sometimes we need to lose something so that in a lack of it we understand it’s value.

I know I’ll figure this out, come back to security for a while if I need too. I don’t regret my decision, because I’ve learned a valuable lesson, which will direct my whole life from now on:

Change yourself first – and your outer conditions will catch up.

 

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