Why we struggle with mediocrity and choose in-between choices

July 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Art Attack

Nii Ashaley Asé Ashiley

Nii Ashaley Asé Ashiley | Contributor

July 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Art Attack

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The human race is now at a crossing, we are standing on the brinks of a global meltdown and we want to choose a way out. But the problem is; there is no ‘choosing’ now.

Because we used up all our choices when we decided to trade innocent souls for profit, we used up all our choices when we decided to keep mute and stay put when the evil and self-centred persons had their way, we used up all our choices when we decided to coil up in our shells of mediocrity and apathy, ignoring all those people out there who needed help we had simply because they couldn’t pay us back.

So now, all we have left is the continued acceptance of the consequences of the choices we made when we actually had the power to choose.

We are now looking forward towards the emergence of a new world; a world where knowledge is free and celebrated, a world where everybody will get what is due them and a world where the human worth and dignity will transcend race, sex, sexual orientations, socio-economic status, tribal ties, religious affiliations, ethnic similarities, creed and educational background.

But the problem is; ‘looking forward to’ is not enough, hoping and praying is not enough either. We must wake up, act up and speak up towards the emergence of this utopian world and that is why being average is not enough, and a desire to live a life of mediocrity is a character flaw.

Eric Anderson said; “the most insidious influence on the young is not violence, drugs, tobacco, drink or sexual perversion, but our pursuit for the trivial and our tolerance of third rate.”

You would agree with me that when we were young; children whose imaginations were still wild, free and able, we were not afraid of making mistakes were we? We were not afraid of asking the most disturbing of questions either. I mean we could stand before our fathers who were by then one of the highest figures of authorities in our lives and ask them; “dad, why is it that you and mother shut the window, shut the doors and put out the light when you are going to sleep at night?” And we did not care for the ensuing consequences of our innocent inquiries. So then, what did ‘growing up’ do to us?

We have, to a certain extent become people who cannot ask pertinent questions, persons who cannot challenge and most importantly transform the status quo, persons who cannot speak up for themselves let alone speak up for other people and persons who are unable to take meaningfully transformative initiatives and bring to bear the full weight of our innovative minds to problematic social tasks.

This is actually something we have learnt and when I say ‘learnt’, I am talking about the psychology type of Learning; we have learnt to pair greatness with pain and we have learnt to pair greatness with societal disapproval so every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, finds us locked up in some shells of mediocrity. But is that our fault?

We are born into a society where keeping silent even though one may be faced with intense emotional problems is considered good behaviour. We are born into a society where taking initiatives and being innovative is mocked. We are born into a society where aspiring to greatness is punished so in effect, we are born into a society where we are expected in subtle means to make peace with mediocrity.

In view of these, most of us are living lives so carefully such that we do not make mistakes, and others are living life for themselves, by themselves and with themselves. But the truth we may be yet to come to terms with is that; our mistakes do not define us, our mistakes refine us and make us better people, stronger, more resilient and confident than we had ever been. And there is no greater life lived than a life lived in respect of other lives.

Thus, if we truly want to live our legacies deeply etched into the sands of time, leaving something behind for unborn generations, then the mediocre trend is not the way forward.

In the words of John Mensah Sarbah; “he who uses his opportunities to help raise the masses of his brethren to his own high level is following his destiny and could not be engaged in a nobler work. But when from indifference or deliberate choice an educated Afrikan becomes a tool of Europeans of a baser sort and keeps back the masses directly or indirectly in superstition and ignorance, he becomes the greatest enemy of his long-suffering and down-trodden race, and the greater his educational attainments and opportunities, the graver are his personal pursuits and guilt’s.”

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