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Settling For Mediocrity

How Passivity Hurts Us

Settling For Mediocrity

Today in modern America, we live relatively comfortable lives compared to the rest of the world. In fact, according to Pew Research, 56% of Americans fall into the high-income bracket compared to just 7% of the rest of the world. And with new acceptance movements such as body positivity and others, you'd think that happiness in our society should relatively high right? But according to the Washington Post, the United States has fallen in world happiness rankings and has fallen since 2012. Why is this the case? While the Washington Post in the same article cites reasons such as the opiate crisis in the United States, I think their analysis is only skin-deep. The real issue I believe is that America, more specifically my generation, has embraced the mentality of "just good enough."

Let me begin by stating (at least in the context of body positivity movements) that in no way, shape, or form that I'm proposing that people should not be have a high self-esteem or confidence. However, this kind of thinking and similar modes of thinking, can lead us to be static. In other words, I mean "resting on your laurels" as the old adage goes. Envision yourself in a strong headwind. You can either push forward into the headwind or be pushed backwards. This is how our own self-growth works: you can either struggle to make progress on yourself or be pushed backwards losing already earned progress and more. The idea of staying stagnant while maintaining oneself when it comes to self-improvement is an illusion. Even maintaining where you are takes constant effort and work, and sometimes when it's hard, you have to suffer through it.

We tend to forget that life itself is suffering. It is a simple fact of life that has been repeated in many different ways across generations. But we as humans are meant to take on challenges and always improve ourselves; it gives us purpose in life. We take on hard, complicated endeavors because it's how we find purpose in all our suffering. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says, "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."

In fact, humans receive pleasure and satisfaction in pursuit of a goal, rather than from completing the goal. So, when we do not move forward and do not try to pursue anything, we end up unfulfilled and unsatisfied. There is a hole that needs filling and being told to feel good about ourselves for doing nothing can't fill it. We need that challenge; we crave that challenge. These challenges do not need to be necessarily daunting and large in scope. Simple goals such as doing your homework on time or studying for 2 hours a day are easily manageable. And setting similar goals like this can feed into a larger goal. For example, if you used the 2 previous easy goals, you can put these small goals toward a larger goal such as getting an A in your biology class.

Regardless, we need something in life to motivate us. We can't sit back on our previous achievements. We must be moving continuously forward, always improving. We need our own vision to strive for and that is what will lead us to happy and fulfilling lives.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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