- You need to grow up … too grown up, and you’re no fun.
- You need to show some class … too much class, and you’re a snob.
- You’re filthy rich … too little money, and you’re a loser.
- You’re an academic dropout … too much academics, and you’ve got no real world experience.
- … ad infinitum
You see our culture relentlessly pushes you to the middle – to fit in and be ordinary. And we have seductive, enlightened sounding terms like “well-rounded” and “balanced” that seduce you into being ordinary.
If that weren’t enough, we have a powerful human instinct (survival), backed by millions of years of evolution that tells us to be risk-averse. It tells you fitting in and being part of the crowd is good.
Like a herd of wildebeest, for god’s sake don’t venture out on your own! Predators may be close!
From the cavemen days to Galileo to Martin Luther King Jr., many followed their passion, their dream, their work, and paid the ultimate price, or nearly did. But as time marched on, the threat of death on a particular individual has subsided.
However, a threat remains. It ranges from social stigma as outlined above, to losing your job.
Want to thwart creativity and support the status quo? This is the cultural instrument that does it.
And the results are the same. The extraordinary, the remarkable, the people who forge the future have conquered this human-created force. They say “fuck you”! They choose to follow that inner muse that tells them it’s ok to follow a path not defined by others, to do work they believe matters.
The rest? The “well-rounded”, ordinary people?
They too can accomplish remarkable things, but are too scared.
So instead, they become staunch supporters of the well-oiled machinery of mediocrity.