Mediocrity

It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.

Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity.

No wonder we are all more or less pleased with mediocrity, since it leaves us at rest, and gives the same comfortable feeling as when one associates with his equals.

Men in general are too material and do not make enough human contacts. If we search for the fundamentals which actually motivate us, we will find that they come under four headings: love, money, adventure and religion. It is to some of them that we always owe that big urge which pushes us onward. Men who crush these impulses and settle down to everyday routine are bound to sink into mediocrity. No man is a complete unity of himself; he needs the contact, the stimulus and the driving power which is generated by his contact with other men, their ideas and constantly changing scenes.

We encourage one another in mediocrity.

We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves: we encourage each other in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.

The virtue of the soul does not consist in flying high, but walking orderly; its grandeur does not exercise itself in grandeur, but in mediocrity.

Men in excess of happiness or misery are equally inclined to severity. Witness conquerors and monks! It is mediocrity alone, and a mixture of prosperous and adverse fortune that inspire us with lenity and pity.

True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality the inequality of success; the glorious inequality of talent, of genius, for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world.

It is a great sign of mediocrity to praise always moderately.

Mediocrity is now, as formerly, dangerous, commonly fatal, to the poet; but among even the successful writers of prose, those who rise sensibly above it are the very rarest exceptions.

The essential element of successful strategy is that it derives its success from the differences between competitors with a consequent difference in their behavior. Ordinarily, this means that any corporate policy and plan which is typical of the industry is doomed to mediocrity. Where this is not so, it should be possible to demonstrate that all other competitors are at a distinct disadvantage.

Among many parallels which men of imagination have drawn between the natural and moral state of the world, it has been observed that happiness as well as virtue consists in mediocrity.

The paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a love without feeling; a paltry mediocrity.

All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity.

The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.

Talent is a very common family trait; genius belongs rather to the individuals – just as you find one giant or one dwarf in a family, but rarely a whole brood of either. Talent is often to be envied, and genius very commonly to be pitied. It stands twice the chance of the other of dying in a hospital, in jail, in debt, in bad repute. It is a perpetual insult to mediocrity; its every word is a trespass against somebody’s vested ideas.

One should not think slightly of the paradoxical; for the paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without paradox is like a lover without feeling: a paltry mediocrity.

The only difference between men of great achievement and those who remain in mediocrity is that the great pay little attention to what has been done and what obstacles or apparent reasons may stand in the way of achievement but devote themselves to contemplating what can or ought to be done. Those who allow their mental and emotional natures to recoil, refusing to let this sense reach out into the undiscovered, destroy their own capabilities and this keeps them always in the prison house of limitation. But it should be noted that prison is only the recoil or reflex of their own nature. Genius is that which goes on through conditions and circumstances and keeps eternally in the process of expansion and extension of achieving power.