September 18, 2007
Musing on mediocrity
I often wonder why, in the midst of working with a brilliant team on a beloved & respected product in a company that’s doing better than ever, I’m kind of a miserable bastard. I get this insane privilege, and yet no matter how full the glass, I see only the flaws, only the things that could and should and must be made better.
I found a little solace in Paul Arden’s It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be. Maybe, if you’re like me, you will, too:
Why do we strive for excellence when mediocrity is required?
There is little demand in the commercial world for excellence. There is much, much bigger demand for mediocrity.
The truth is, I’m glad it’s this way.
Imagine a world where all clients were wonderful, where we could produce whatever we felt like with no restrictions, with everybody having freedom to produce all their fantasies unfettered by tedious clients.
What would we do?
We would react against it, saying, “Isn’t this boring. How can we be dull? Let’s do it badly, let’s make it ugly, and let’s make it really cheaply.”
That’s the nature of the creative person. All creative people need something to rebel against. It’s what gives their lives excitement, and it’s creative people who make the clients’ lives exciting.
Or, as George Bernard Shaw succinctly put it:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. All progress, therefore, depends upon the unreasonable man.
Keep your head up,