FINAL THOUGHT: Mediocrity is Fine


Have We Set Our Sights Too Low?

When the time came to prepare my column for the extraordinary issue, some suggestions were made. Do not go too grandiose. Rather than write about figures who are larger than life, write about the people you encounter every day. Mention the cashier who brightened your afternoon with a smile and “thank you for shopping” farewell. It’s the simple gestures that make up an extraordinary day. This confused me.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but to me, nothing could be more ordinary than being sent on my way with a smile and a cheerful good bye. It should be ordinary, because that’s how we are taught to act all the time. It becomes extraordinary if it is not commonplace. Is that where we are today as a society? Surprised when someone is nice to us? Have we become so desensitized to one another that a “welcome,” “thank you,” and “have a good day” stop us in our tracks?

I attended a seminar recently sponsored by the Lake County Workforce Taskforce called “Maximizing Performance and Retention with Gen Y and Z” by Mark Perna, a renowned speaker and specialist on the Millennial generation. Held at Lake Technical College’s Institute of Public Safety campus in Tavares, the seminar was attended by Lake County business leaders. The focus was on how to engage the Millennial generation effectively. It was suggested that while Millennials are team oriented and good multi-taskers, they are also rather needy. They require support by their employers and their peers, plus a stimulating job environment. If they don’t receive all three, they lose interest and leave.

According to Perna, the Millennial generation became this way because they are the sons and daughters of the wealthiest generation in history—the Baby Boomers. They have safety nets, so do not feel the same pressures as previous generations. In essence, they lack challenges.

Maybe Perna is on to something.

Within his presentation, Perna posed the hypothetical question, “If everyone wins a trophy, does anyone win a trophy?” In today’s competitive sports, players are awarded just for participating. Without challenge, is there truly accomplishment?

We have become a society that awards everyone just for showing up and are amazed when what should be expected is done. It seems we have not set the bar higher nor lowered it—we have done away with it altogether.


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