The Magic of Mediocrity
Blue collar cities. One horse towns. Shipyard hamlets. Industrial parishes. Flatlands.
People shuffling to + fro, never peaking the meter or pushing the envelope. Maintaining the same schedule of work. religion. holiday.
This is, for most creatives,
the literal vision of hell.
But being from such a type of region, I have found the magic in the mediocre, the untapped potential of the world of the unambitious.
It is the magic of the blank slate.
The human mind is pre-wired to fill in the blanks where things are missing or don’t make immediate sense. It is much easer I for information to follow along the pre-existing paths of least resistance to arrive at any given context.
So, how does that apply to places of ‘absence’?
If you live in an area with no mountains, you may likely imagine what life might be waking up to the view of a mountain range, what houses or cabins might exist, what adventures you may have there, how businesses might function, even down to how you or others might dress for such an environment.
In short: your mind will create the most idealized, conceptual version of how you think it should exist + operate. Because you have romanticized it due to your lack of an actual experience.
This is where innovation comes from.
Now, let’s say you grew up in the mountains. So you don’t have to imagine what life is like; you know! You’re living it. You see the homes, the way businesses run, how people dress. It’s a part of you.
This is where an issue can begin.
Because if this is your actual reality, you will have blind spots + biases built in, things you ‘can’ or ‘can’t’ do because of certain subliminally conditioned social norms.
This is where innovation can get stifled.
The difference between believing in an ideal, vs knowing the ‘truth’ of an ideal, is illustrated most poignantly in the following quote:
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
This is the magic that mediocrity can give to the discerning creative. The perspective of things being unchallenged, unchanged, creating a blank palette upon which to imagine how things could be. The mediocre town can inspire new technological advances that could benefit larger cities. The routine person may become the ideal test marketer for a complex idea, for if it can be explained simply enough to win over someone’s normal routine, it can be efficiently communicated to anyone else, anywhere in the world.
Essentially: in the absence of inspiration, creativity sparks in abundance.
So the next time you’re tempted to complain about where you are, all the things that don’t exist, all the people that opt to live ‘mediocre’ lives in your view,
say thank you.
The universe has given you a number of gaps to fill in + colour as you see fit, without the distractions of ‘facts’ of the more glamorous coastal cities or dense metropolitan areas.
Enjoy the opportunity to stand out in a small area than being lost in a larger, busier one. Count it a benefit to try new ideas on a smaller, more manageable scale, as a case study to pitch to denser areas.
But most of all, enjoy the time to be proud of where you’re from. Some people are so surrounded by the above average that they’ve become jaded, or even numb to even getting excited about anything.
So revel in the magic of the mundane, the marvel of the mediocre.
It’s waiting to reveal the next great thing in the world to you.