In praise of mediocrity
I was recently given a drawing pad and pencils as a thank you for work done. I’ve always enjoyed drawing but my only claim to success is the highest mark in the year-end art exam when I was 12 years old.
Yesterday I played in a symphony orchestra concert. We aren’t the LSO, but we are competent enough to be able to play The Planets without catastrophe. I’m sure our conductor would like the benchmark to be higher.
En masse, we are increasingly taught to be the best: at exams, at work, at social gatherings. We’re encouraged on social media to evidence the ways in which we’re living our ‘best lives’. This is conditioning us against doing things for the sake of them - because they feed our souls, bring us joy or relieve our stress.
It reminds me of Monty Don’s advice on gardening, who said that as long as you stick something in the ground the right way, it will grow. You can be good enough. You can be mediocre.