Loving Yourself: How Mediocrity Can Make You Happy

Before you take offense and shut down this page, think for a minute about what the pursuit of perfection does to your life. Does it make you feel happy and fulfilled? Or does it leave you feeling drained and somehow ‘less than’ those around you? In every facet of life, we pursue perfection with a dogged determination not seen in previous generations. From the time we become conscious of the society around us, it’s easy to get sucked into being the perfect teenager, parent, employee or spouse. Or worse, trying to be perfect at more than one of these! A recent backlash has seen people begin to take back their mediocrity, remembering that there are always trade-offs, and pursuing perfection doesn’t actually benefit most people. Let’s take a closer look.

Why being mediocre really isn’t a bad thing

Mediocrity has been slung about as an insult for quite a while, however statistically, it’s likely that the vast majority of us do sit in the middle of expertise on any given subject1. Perfection is subjective in any case, but due to the sheer size of the population of the world, only a very small number of people can be close to perfect at any one time. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t all try our best in whatever we attempt, but it’s important to remember that there are always trade-offs.

One thing that people lose sight of is that by pursuing perfection in one direction will usually mean that another avenue suffers. Think back to your own life: when you focus on your career, it can mean your personal relationships suffer. Go back to focusing on family, and suddenly there’s less time to spend on sport or work. We have a very limited span of attention and energy, and if we expend it all in one area, the other areas are bound to suffer a little. However, if you ensure that you focus on all areas of your life equally, it’s likely that you’ll be good but probably not perfect: and that’s OK.

Using mediocrity to create a life you love

Blogger, mom and educator, Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui from Canada writes, “What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?” There are those of us who don’t thrive in the bright lights of Hollywood, who don’t wish to be a Grand Slam champion or go to the moon. There are those of us who need quiet, calm and ordinariness to survive and to thrive, and for those people the pursuit of perfection is the hardest and the most damaging.

There’s a concept in psychology called “The Good Enough Parent”, the basic tenet of which is: “what most of us want is not well-behaved kids, but to have a family where there is fun, joy and belonging.” This tenet is one that we can extend to all areas of our lives: if what we want is a real life, with fulfilment and fun, then perfection shouldn’t be the goal. Realness is the goal. Use your mediocrity as a shield against perfection to create a life that’s real and fun and uniquely yours.

Life is messy, but beautiful. And what if accepting that messiness and all the beauty that can come along with it could be the secret door to happiness that you’ve been looking for? What if accepting, celebrating and loving your mediocrity is what you actually need? It’s worth thinking about.


  1. In Defense of Being Average: https://markmanson.net/being-average (NSFW — foul language)
  2. What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?: http://www.alifeinprogress.ca/want-mediocre-life/
  3. The Good Enough Parent: http://thegoodenoughparent.com.au/
  4. How to be mediocre and be happy with yourself: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37108240

Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.