Tag Archives: mediocrity

Competition keeps you focused

Yea, competition is, in our politically correct little La-La Land, a bad word. But since most of the politically correct don’t really have a proper appreciation of gender differences, they want to live a quiet mediocre little life, really can’t adapt or accept differences (despite their rhetoric) we feel we have to accommodate the mediocre and unmotivated among us.

We really don’t frankly, they should be ignored, because they just don’t know what they’ve talking about and just don’t care. Their responses are usually emotional outbursts, although they condemn that in other people. They’re usually little bullies, physically, only if they can get away with it or emotionally. They will resort to petulant adolescent outbursts, instead of reason and resolution, despite what they think they’re not very smart, and they can’t understand why someone would respond emotionally. It’s their way or no way. Yea, I know, being a little harsh. The fact that there are those out there who are weak, passive or whiney is not an excuse to stomp on them either. Quietly correct them and move on. They will fuss at you as you’re leaving and will try the usual passive/aggressive undermining, but be assured no one really takes them seriously. For the rest of us who want to move on and actually do something in our lives we are the stronger and have to live that out when dealing with the, frankly, weaker and unmotivateable. Ya, I know that’s not a word, but it is descriptive.

The impetus for this rant is an article in Mens Health (May 2015 pp 130-134) The writer (couldn’t find his name) writes about personal rivals. Ya, that can get ugly sometimes, but the fact is that if you’re doing anything with your life, you will have rivals: “If you don’t think you have a rival, that could be your first problem. There is truth in one Holly wood agent’s assertion that ‘you’re no one in this town unless someone wants you dead.'” Ya, again a little harsh, but if you’re not worthy of someone else’s, let’s say dislike, you are just part of the mediocre crowd. Again, competition is not an excuse for playing dirty, lying, cheating, etc. It’s a way to motivate and strengthen.

For those of us who are Christians, we see rivals all through the Bible. God’s people simply had to stand up to their rivals in order for us to move along according to God’s will. The early Christians had the Jewish establishment and the Romans to compete against. They could have passively rolled over to them, but they knew what was right and took a strong, principled stand and so should we as Christian men in our daily life.

The author of the article points out: “Our recurring competitive bouts against known rivals ratchet up anxiety, excitement and also performance. Oddly, considering that rivals date back at least to Cain and Abel, the science of rivalry is relatively new,…” Yes, that was not a healthy rivalry and did not serve to improve anyone. Frankly it’s a better example of the nastiness of the mediocre and uninspired then it is of the positive affects of rivalry.

The writer refers to a positive example of how rivalry motivates us: “…NYU’s Gavin Kilduff, PhD studied the running community in State College, Pennsylvania he found that going up against a rival could cut 25 seconds off a competitive runners 5K time.” It may not seem like much, but I would love to be able to improve that much in a 5K, that’s a huge improvement.

“In one experiment, Uris Gneezy, PhD, an expert in behavioral economics at UC San Diego, gave people the choice to earn money at either a piece rate or a competitive basis for solving puzzles. Men (but not women) preferred to compete – going  against rivals dramatically increased their output.” There are numerous examples of the impetus of competition has created something better, and has done something difficult a lot faster. In 1961 when President John Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon before 1970, there weren’t many people around who were going to put money on that, yet because of the competition with the Soviet Union, eight years later the goal was accomplished with a few months to spare.

The writer points to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, yea, maybe not buddies, but smart enough to compete against each other and produce music that is still mainstream 40 years later.

Can women compete? Yes, of course and they do and there are many who do it in an inspiring way. God bless ’em. But again for those of the “don’t try to confuse me with the facts”, the mediocre, lazy and frankly just plain lame, competition is part of men’s makeup.

“When you’re the champ in any kind of competition, testosterone levels often quickly rise in your blood stream, says Matthew Fuxjager PhD, an assistant professor of biology at Wake Forest University.”

“Experts hypothesize that a rise in testosterone feeds your noggin’s reward system. And an influx of T may equal more receptors in brain structures that feed competitiveness and social aggression.”

For those in public education that simply can’t understand, identify with and are incapable of properly channeling this in boys, they really need to accept the facts and get out of the way, stop stifling this in boys. So many in today’s society think that they somehow get ahead by dragging someone else down, especially when they do it from ignorance and laziness. That’s not acceptable. Those who go out and accept the challenge are to be encouraged over those who prefer their laziness and passivity. In fact the writer concludes by saying that this chemical affect on a man has the affect of growing and building and helping to make life better for all of us, versus the mediocre la-la-ness. “Additional T receptors are probably still hanging around in your head long after your victory, Fuxjager says. The effect? You’ll be more likely to aggressively repeat the steps that led to your last win.”

I know this effect. Twenty-nine years in the Coast Guard competing against Mother Nature. Despite what the La-La’s think Mother Nature is an unforgivable competitor, she won’t hesitate to kill you if you make a mistake. When we went out and pulled someone out and got them to safety and help it was definitely a rush. For those who think drugs, booze, twinkies or just plain laziness is happiness, they will never know that rush. But I can tell you from personal experience, the next time I was called out, I had more knowledge, better prepared, bolder in accepting the challenge, and more motivated to pursue success. I’ll bet the person I rescued was probably pretty happy about that. For the mediocre and unmotivated they will never know that fulfillment and sit around and whine about it.

God equipped men to stand to the challenge, to be pushed to strive harder, God gave us rivals to push us and challenge us, to do things that will improve lives for other people too. It is not an excuse for men to stomp on others, to take what’s not theirs. But we should strive to serve God, our family, our community to the best of our ability and God gave us the make-up to do that and we should. God did not put us on the earth to be mediocre, passive, lazy. Read the Bible, I don’t see anyone in their that could be described positively in those ways. If someone pushes or inspires you to be a hero use that and always remember that it’s to the glory of God, His leading, His encouraging and in His service.

Faithful discipleship and not going through the motions

It’s one of those cliches that Christians fall into, “God gave us the best in Jesus, we should give Him our best.” OK, you can’t argue with that, but it’s that sort of platitude that gets “ya-ya’d” and then pretty much left as a platitude. To be sure God has given us His best, He continues to do so and not only that is looking for our faithfulness, our growth, our trust in Him and our honest attempts to serve Him. I get it, that is not always going to be our “best”. No doubt, when we are doing things that are new, things that God is pushing us into, that are intimidating, that make us challenge our boundaries we are going to shrink back a little. To be sure, we’re not always going to produce our best, but what God wants is for us to rely on the faith that He’s given us in order to push us to do the things that He wants us to grow in. Anytime, there’s something new, something that is kind of towering over you, it does kind of freeze you up. So that’s the point, that’s what God is doing with so many in the Bible, making them go beyond what they thought they were capable of.

God gave us His best, Jesus picked up from the glory of Heaven, His place in the Godhead next to God the Father. He became a man in order to live the perfect life and therefore the spotless sacrifice, payment for all of our sins and restore the relationship in salvation with God the Father. As the Blackabys point out: “…He reliinquished the glory of His heavenly existence in order to become a man. He was born n a cattle shed; he slept in a feeding trough. His life was spent preparing for the day when He would suffer an excruciating execution…” (Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day p 362) Jesus was He who all creation came into being and yet He is in a shed, in a humble place in Israel, which is itself a humble backwater to the rest of the world.

So having said all that, and realizing that we aren’t going to be “all that and a bag of chips”, but it seems that when we are pushed, we don’t even think about excellence, we think that we throw some crumbs, go through the motions and then we should be good with God. We need God to be great, perfect, Holy, almighty, sovereign Lord, we will never come close to being even a speck to the God who has created all and that’s good, we have a God that is Lord of all. Having said that and understanding that He does understand that we can never be anywhere near enough, that we have human limitations, we still expect that He’s supposed to lower His standards to ours. I get that a lot as a pastor, talk to me on my level, heck the church has been doing that since you and I were in Sunday school. It’s really not an attempt to help people to grow, to push themselves to new levels of Christian maturity, it’s the same old story. Pat us on the head, make everything nice and easy and everyone will be happy. We want God to come down to our level, but we still want Him to do all the great, magnificent things when we want them.

OK, God comes down to our level, but what does that even mean? Whose level of mediocrity should He lower Himself to, mine? Yours? The take-away is this. God sets the standard that we should all strive for and we should strive for God’s best. That’s not what saves us, we are saved simply and solely through Jesus who died as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. We cannot earn our way into salvation, nothing we will ever do will ever be enough to save us in our sin. Jesus is the only One who could save us and is all there is, nothing we could ever come close to.

But instead of always offering our mediocre efforts, our gifts of crumbs and indifference, expecting that it should be “our way”, as if God is going to do billions of people individual ways. Instead let’s really trust in God’s leading, if He’s pushing you to trust more, to do something that seems out of your reach, to learn and to lead beyond what you think you can, then trust His leading. We have to get out of our mediocre, hum-drum ruts that’s so typical of the world and really strive for what the Holy Spirit is pushing us to. Are there new groups at church to help you learn and apply what you learn and are led to do? Are there ministries that are crying out to be established? Are there people, maybe even just one who could use attention, guidance, mentoring?

Our church service is not in terms of some pompous, “ya, always the best rah-rah”. It’s I’m here to be led to where the Holy Spirit is moving me, it’s not always going to be the best, the most successful, the most effective. It’s going to be in terms of the faithfulness that He gives us and lose the attitude of just going through the motions, throwing some crumbs and then moving on to “fun”. Ya, which is usually being a slug, that it’s all about you and don’t make me really make an effort. God gives us the faith, the talent, the ability, and when needed lifts us up past our ability and helps us to achieve to His glory. Let’s glorify God, focus on His will and not our weaknesses, get out of our mediocre ruts and really know His will and what He can do through us and then do it as well as we can.