Tips to Avoid a Mediocre Life

Most humans, in varying degrees, are already dead. In one way or another they have lost their dreams, their ambitions, their desire for a better life. They have surrendered their fight for self-esteem and they have compromised their great potential. They have settled for a life of mediocrity, days of despair and nights of tears. They are no more than living deaths confined to cemeteries of their choice. Yet they need not remain in that state. They can be resurrected from their sorry condition. They can each perform the greatest miracle in the world. They can each come back from the dead…”

Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in World

The quote sums up my life during our crisis of 2018. It took me a year to regain my identity and zest for life and to avoid mediocrity, an unfulfilled life without the highs and lows. Last week, our son experienced the roller coaster of highs and lows in his life. Like us, he takes calculated risks, always seeking to fulfill dreams.

Yet, along with the journey through a fulfilled life, one will experience intense lows with the exhilarating highs. Ron told our son, “You can live a life of mediocrity,  but you will never experience the highs and lows. This is such an exciting time in your life, and we are so proud that you are living without mediocrity. This low will pass.”

And of course, it did. So, as you tour my photos of cemeteries in Baja, Mexico, here are some tips to avoid a mediocre life.


1. Think BIG. Take Baby Steps.

Set big goals for your life, yet take baby steps to achieve them. We always had a passion for travel. But, we started small, depending on vacation time, children, and monetary resources. Then, as we aged, we expanded our travels abroad, and eventually fulfilled our dreams of living and retiring abroad.

2. Take Calculated Risks

When we told friends and family that we were retiring early and moving to Nicaragua, they thought we were crazy. They never knew that we had a well-planned goal and we were not doing this crazy thing on an impulsive whim. I will let you in on a little secret. I am proud to fly my freak flag. I like being different and doing things that mediocrity won’t permit.

3. Try New Things

This is where I tell myself that I have to make friends with my fear. Mediocre people are fearful people. That is why they spend their lives doing the same things over and over. Sure, it is difficult to overcome our fears, but by avoiding them, we become trapped in a boring and unfulfilled life. You might as well be dead.

4. Be Not Average

Don’t listen to the majority. Be a not average person. Average or so-so people are followers. They take the well-worn paths and the paths of least resistance to avoid fear. Be a leader. Forge through the tall weeds, make new paths, be unique.

This has been a harder one for me. Although, I have always been not average, I have to force myself to be more spontaneous in forging new paths.  But, thankfully, I have Ron who helps me through the tangle of weeds.

5. Surround Yourself with People who are Different

Be the minority. When we lived on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, we were the only white foreigners in our neighborhood. If you have never had an opportunity to be immersed in a totally different culture, try it. We seek out different races, cultures, genders, ages, and try to immerse ourselves in the differences because that is where we really learn of our similarities. Be tolerant of others. We are all seeking the same things. Love, acceptance, freedom to be who we are.

Living a fulfilled life with highs and lows, one will never be bored. And, it is never too late to come back from the dead.

Have you overcome a life of mediocrity? What tips do you have to live a fulfilled life? 

21 thoughts on “Tips to Avoid a Mediocre Life

  1. Such a great post. We’ve really enjoyed tracking your Mexico journey on Facebook, and your photos as usual are stunning. We really miss the Baja, especially, after our sailing adventures there almost 20 years ago. And your advice about living outside the box and realizing your dreams is spot on. Indeed, there will be more highs and lows (we’re all living through a huge low at the moment, no doubt) but the rewards are worth it!

  2. Friends often say to me, “You’re so lucky to live in Mexico. I wish I could do that.” You’re right, Debbie — Luck has nothing to do with it. It’s a lifestyle choice. And part of that choice is, What are you willing to give up to get what you really want?

  3. Bruno, thanks for your insightful comments. I do agree that everyone needs to follow their own dreams, but I don’t feel that it is a privilege or that luck is involved. For example, in Nicaragua, we lived beside a very poor family. They had no running water and a dirt floor. The mother’s dream was to have a cement floor and running water in the house. So, the family sold their cow Princesa, and built a tiny addition with a cement floor and ran a long garden hose into the house. That was her dream fulfilled. My dream and passion has always been to travel and live abroad. There was no luck involved and I never considered myself privileged. We are not rich, but we learned how to fulfill our dreams one step at a time with planning and forethought. I believe anyone and everyone can lead a fulfilled life. Yes, it may be naive, but it doesn’t have to involve a lot of money or education. That was the point I was trying to make. No one should feel that they can’t lead a fulfilled life. It is within reach of everyone.

  4. Great photos Debbie! Not all of us can be leaders and not all ordinary lives are mediocre. Everybody needs to find their own equilibrium and follow their own dreams and stake their own goals and If we have the luxury and ability of choice then we should exercise that privilege. Many people do not have that luxury though, and just to put food on the table or a roof over your head can be an all consuming daily task. Life is an adventure and living it to the fullest is a privilege. Luck also plays a part.To be so lucky as to be born in a modern, free and open society helps.

  5. I really like seeing cemeteries from various countries. There are so many varieties and practices. The one you show is quite attractive. I also really like that last photo.

    Your tips are also very good. I think, though, that people whose lives we think are mediocre might be quite happy with where they are. I also think think big, but take baby steps is excellent advice. Taking steps that are too big is a good way to run into problems and then never try again.

    janet

    • Thanks, Janet. I don’t mean to judge anyone’s life, but my own. But, I do know many people who feel unfulfilled, trapped, and hopeless in their lives. I have had several close friends who committed suicide. I understand how difficult it is to climb out of a self-imposed prison or grave. Life doesn’t have to be that way. We can all lead fulfilled lives. Everyone deserves to be happy.

  6. You open so many eyes for so many people. I love your adventures and how you guys are not afraid to go into the untamed territory ! I’m very happy to be friends with you and look forward to more learning experiences !!😎

    • Aww…Jeff…how sweet. My goal in this new blog is to write about living a fulfilled life as we age. For me, it is all about travel, but others will have different passions. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  7. Debbie: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post for some many reasons. First and foremost, it is so true! Life is so filled with highs and lows, with happy moments and harder than hell ones. It is such a rollercoaster! At times I find it hard with my wandering soul to be content with the day to day grind. Yet I always try to put in my mindfulness practice and be present. It is a tough thing to follow but I do my best. Excellent post. I love your tips. 🙂

    • Nicole, thank you so much. I feel as if I may have misled some people with this post. If I read it again through someone else’s eyes, it sounds kind of self-serving and written by a spoiled rich girl who doesn’t understand poverty. I hope that is not the impression I have given, because that is definitely not me. My passions that fulfill me, are unique to me. I know you understand because you feel the same way about travel. Once it gets in your system, it is addicting.

    • Thanks, Bethany. But, I hope that others who read my post understand that anyone can lead the life they dream of. It just takes persistence, planning, and jumping into the unknown without fear.

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