When you’re a young, in school or starting off at work, you want to be cool, accepted and liked. You want to feel that your part of the cool gang, part of the pack. That’s inevitable.
However, if you want to do something different, or have a life that isn’t merely mediocre or actually excel at something, there’s a price for it. There’s a difference between security and excellence.
Some times, the opposite of cool is performance.
The majority of the world is concerned about your security, that includes your parents and your friends. When you pursue non-mediocrity, firstly, you’re going to give something up in yourself, you’re going to have to take the risk, you’re having to have to be responsible for your own decisions, and secondly, you’re going to piss few people off around you.
Okay, here’s a great example I faced for the last half a decade. When I was busy pouring myself into books, pushing myself through world travel, chasing girls, failing my first couple of tries in business, attempting to take everything life has to offer, I’m sure the world felt that I left them behind. I was also sure that a lot of my friends couldn’t stand what I was doing. In fact, a couple of them unfollowed me on Instagram.
Initially, I thought, fuck them, they can’t do anything with THEIR life, they see me doing it and it’s uncomfortable for them to see me do it. That may or may not be true. However, true friends should support each other in one other’s success right? So, fuck them I thought.
However, if I dig deeper, I realized that it’s not about leaving anyone behind, or anyone leaving you behind. It’s just an incompatibility of values. Your values have just changed. You became from a lazy underperforming sack of shit, to someone who isn’t afraid to care about something, whilst the rest of the world still stood still.
If you dug even deeper, you now face a different set of problems. Perhaps you started out thinking: if I read this pick up artist material, I would now be able to sleep with girls and be happy. Great, you got that down, however, now you’re exposed to a different set of problems: attachment theory, long term happiness, life purpose, connecting with your deeper values and more.
What the hell!?!
The Price of Excellence: Societal Values
It’s funny that you read stuff like that online, you go back home, feel guilty about change and never do end up doing anything.
‘I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s too selfish’.
‘What if I failed?’
‘What if I succeeded?’
‘What if my friends all laughed at me?’
This was a huge problem I faced. I thought to myself: what if I started posting nerdy shit like good grades on Instagram? What will my friends back home think? What if I started telling my bum friends: I want to be rich, I am going to start a business.
What if I told your friends: I know you think I’m crazy, I’m going to quit my finance degree, and take a psychology degree, I know it’s a long shot, however, it’s something I always wanted to do in my life
How will they react?
These are problems that I face today. It spiraled out of just wanting to be good with women. These are completely different set of problems from just going out and talking to girls. These are a set of problems you’ll face when you start pursuing non-mediocrity in any area of your life.
Growth Versus Acceptance
This set of problems hit me a couple of times a year or two ago when I started noticing different set of people falling off from my life when I made several decisions in my life. It was extremely tough for me. I even told myself: maybe I shouldn’t be doing all of these. Perhaps I should go back to school, get my accounting degree, get a job, and lead a non controversial life.
That’s exactly what I did for a year. Well, it was a half assed effort and I flunked it.
Did I feel accepted by society? Yes. Did my friends pat me on my back for doing something realistic? Hell no.
I figured this:
If I did a degree like I really enjoyed: unrealistic idealist.
If I did an accounting degree: obsessed guy over money.
I’ll share with you a story. After going back and forth on a decision about taking a certain degree for years. I made the decision, fuck this, if I failed, and if everyone thought I was being unrealistic, so be it, I’ll figure something out.
When I made this decision, I told a long time friend that I paused my accounting degree, signed up for a degree that I’ve always wanted to do.
She rolled her eyes.
I was expecting something like: You’re crazy Marcus. However, it’s really cool that you are finally trying to do something you’re really into.
I guess I’ll never be fully accepted either ways. I’ll never be cool either ways. Since, I’ll never be cool either ways, then fuck everyone else, I should do what the fuck I was going to do in the first place right?
Heard of Robert Downey Jr?
Yeah, smile, agree and do whatever the fuck you’re going to do anyway.
The problem I face in collectivistic Asian culture is that almost everything is geared towards NOT rocking the boats. Don’t be selfish, don’t be outspoken, don’t be this and don’t be that. It’s a piss poor mindset for growth.
I don’t consider myself a success.
However, I know that if I want to be a true success, I need to give all of that up. Just like how you want to be better with women, you’ll need to kill a part of yourself, and be willing to be polarizing and controversial. You’re going to piss some people off; you’re also going to have to be perfectly OKAY with that.
Look, I’m not saying to go about, start pissing everyone off on purpose, or declaring that you read X number of books a week. I’m actually a lot more diplomatic than that. That’s part of social intelligence right?
These days, I never out rightly say that I am attempting to run a company. I just say that I’m an employee of a company. I don’t say that I write long self development articles like this one. I don’t flaunt the books that I’ve read, the countries I’ve been or the girls I’ve been with.
However, some of these actions are going to reverberate in my life, and it’s going to be obvious in my relationships.
- If you’re late, I’m going to call you out
- If you’re not growing yourself, you and I going to have meaningless conversations, it’s going to show through my body language and attention span
There is a price to pay for non-mediocrity: acceptance from the masses. I’d even argue that it’s not even the concept of non-mediocrity. Non mediocrity sounds like you’re doing something for the sake of excelling.
It’s price of a fulfilling life.