Being average is addictive.
But don’t downgrade your dreams to match your reality – upgrade your skills to match your destiny.
Here are 9 keys to break the habit of average:
1. Do daily what the average do occasionally
You will never break mediocrity with a half-hearted effort. A lot of people expect an excellent life while giving only 80-percent effort.
It is widely accepted that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Decide to do something that is beyond the norm for the next 21 days.
2. Don’t believe in luck
Champions believe in practice. You may be gifted, but your gift must be exercised. You must sharpen your skill set. As Benjamin Franklin mused, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.”
Rather than giving the credit of all good fortune to luck, study the lives of those who are succeeding in the areas you’re not. Learn the principles they’ve chosen to live by and adopt them as your own. Read a biography of someone who succeeded in an area you’d like to focus on.
3. Don’t compromise
The opposite of courage isn’t fear; it’s compromise. Don’t be surprised by the claws of compromise that will grasp at you to keep you from taking one step beyond being average.
Write a statement affirming your desire for excellence and place it on the bathroom mirror to remind yourself every morning to be encouraged. You could write something like, “For some, being average is the ceiling. For others, being average is the floor. Stand up rather than stoop down.”
4. Increase your potential by investing
The moment you invest in something worthwhile, you double your potential.
Jesus taught this principle with a story of a man who entrusted his money to three managers. Two of the three doubled their money. The third manager hid away his money and didn’t invest it to make more. The unfaithful manager was fired and lost the money he had once been given.
Carefully examine your life. Have you hidden something that should have been invested? Instead of thinking in terms of money, think in terms of talent.
5. Drown out the haters
Those who no longer dream, often despise those who still dare to dream.
I’ve noticed many people give up on their dreams. And, rather than cheering on others, they often do everything that they can to discourage dreamers.
On your way to becoming your best self, you will likely face opposition from average thinkers. Those who have chosen to settle often like to clash with those who want to break out of the norm. You may face criticism, even disdain, as you step away from the pack.
But just because someone has a voice doesn’t mean that they should be heard. You do not have to allow everyone to affect your life.
Carefully discern how you feel in the presence of others. Are there voices mocking your motivations? Are you encouraged or defeated in the presence of others?
6. Never say, “Good enough”
No one stands up to applaud mediocrity. Participation trophies are supposed to make all feel like winners; but, in reality, they belittle efforts of excellence and reward the slothfulness of average.
Your motivation is excellence, which means you can always improve. After you experience a win, evaluate your efforts and work to make them even better.
What have you allowed to become acceptable? What can you do better?
7. Resist the temptation of comfort
I have discovered there is a constant temptation to settle. You must step out of your comfort zone to achieve the next level of success. Note, I said “step” not “leap.” Steps are much more doable than leaps.
By breaking a goal down into achievable steps, it seems much more achievable. To progress, you must go be okay with being uncomfortable, but you can ease the discomfort by setting a goal for a certain period of time, like 90 days, and taking it one step at a time.
What do you want to change in the next 90 days? Don’t procrastinate it and expect to jump to a finish.
8. Deny present appetites and focus on your purpose
One of the best ways to break the habit of average is to discover and pursue a purpose that is greater than your appetite. Temporary cravings will pass if you switch your focus. Purpose gives you directional intent. Keep your eyes on the prize.
A purpose is most useful when it is clearly defined. Find a picture that represents your purpose. Print it and put it in a place you will see often.
9. Look forward
It’s time to shake off average. It’s time to move ahead. Excellence is the pursuit of better. It is important to realize there will be times when you hit a roadblock. It will seem as if all of your momentum has been lost; yet, don’t allow yourself to settle.
In the pursuit of your dream, do not allow a stop-over to become a settlement. You are more than what you’ve been and not nearly what you’ll be.
A rearview mirror is handy for an occasional glance back to see where you’ve been. A windshield is for viewing where you’re going. Take a quick look at how far you’ve come. Appreciate the progress you’ve made. Now, look ahead and keep moving.
This article was originally published on FiveStarMan.com. It has been republished here with permission.