4 Ways to Avoid the Race for Mediocre

“Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere” — Colin Powell

My alarm sounded, 5am again, I’m a creature of habit and sunrises.

I went to start my coffee, and as a way to wake up while my pour over was dripping, I opened Instagram and started scrolling.

As the images flashed by, thoughts came and went just as quickly.

I should be taking more landscape photos, look at how many likes that has. Oh wow, that’s a great selfie, there’s no way I’d be able to get something like that, my smile is crooked and my hair is a disaster. Dangit, that’s such a great idea for a business, maybe I should try to do something like that.

Round and round they went, a hundred thoughts passing through my mind in a blink of an eye. All before my coffee was done.

My monkey mind, my ego, was satisfied for the moment, it was happy passing judgment and fear and lack into my mind without me even realizing it.

And that’s how the morning would go.

Later in the day, when I was working on my business ideas, or trying to figure out a new career, I felt like I was playing catch up. I was chasing other people and their brilliant ideas, which I saw on Instagram and online.

I was working from a place of my own lack, trying to devise a way to be more like other people so that perhaps I could get ahead in life too.

My days felt more like a constant emotional reaction to my circumstances. My environment — from my home life, to my 9–5 job — would dictate my day, and how I felt from the time I woke up, until I went to bed.

I felt like a pinball with the world and other people at the controls.

Most People are Consumers

It’s easy to live from a place of emotional reaction. It takes the responsibility off our shoulders and puts it squarely on the world, and other people.

When we live in a state of emotional reaction, we easily and quickly blame the outside world for our joy or lack and we are forced to operate in response to outside circumstances.

In this way, we are consumers. We look outside of ourselves for inspiration, entertainment, and sources of blame.

This is the way the majority works. From dawn until dusk, we consume other peoples agendas, their ideas and their creations and it influences every aspect of our life.

Consumers live their lives in a constant state of reaction to the outside world. It is emotionally exhausting to live from this place. If you’ve ever watched the nightly news, you know the toll consuming information and fear takes.

Taking Yourself Out of the Rat Race

“You can only run your own race.” — Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is a powerhouse, the billionaire talk show host, turn media conglomerate queen, is a household staple. I grew up on Oprah, and you would be hard pressed to find a single American who hasn’t heard of her.

But what kept her moving ever forward, when so many other talk shows — from Jerry Springer, to Maury — fizzled out in the heap of trash TV?

In a Business Insider podcast, the founding producer of Oprah, Ellen Rakieten, discusses what set Oprah apart from the hundreds of other talk shows of the day:

“There was, I think, over 200 talk shows that went during the period of the Oprah show. . . We weren’t getting like the listings of what all those other shows were doing and saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. On Wednesday they’re doing this — we should do this.’ We just didn’t do that. We just did our thing.”

To summarize, Oprah and her crew ran their own race, they weren’t consumers of what competitors were putting out, they were creators of their own world.

The average, whether in business or personal life, spend their time playing catch up to people like Oprah, who run their own race, and keep their blinders up to what other people are doing.

The extraordinary spend their time getting rooted in what they stand for, they own their story, and they speak their truth, without wasting time watching how other people do it. There’s no time for that when you’re busy creating from a place of authenticity.

So if you’re ready to start speaking your truth and operating from a place of authenticity, here are 4 practical ways to become a creator, rather than a consumer:

1. Stay the Hell-Off Social Media

“Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” -Benjamin P. Hardy

If you spend your time scrolling, you’re going to immediately put yourself into a reactive state, watching what other brands, businesses and people are doing, and immediately comparing that to what you’re doing, what you have, and all the ways you’re lacking.

Without realizing it, you put yourself into an emotionally reactive state, and your whole day — including your ideas and innovations — will come from a place of reaction and lack.

It’s best to stay off of social media, to not use it as a tool for “inspiration” but rather use it as a tool to share yourself and your business honestly, from a place of creation, not reaction. And then get off, don’t stick around for the scrolling.

2. Get Rooted In Your Truth

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If you’ve been playing the reaction game for a long time, it can be hard to distinguish where you end and the world begins. It can be hard to tell what traits are authentic to you and what you’re carrying around simply as a way to stay in the race.

If you want to live and create from a place of truth, you must start testing the waters of the world to see what belongs in your life, and what doesn’t. Do this by trying anything new that tickles your fancy, start experimenting and seeing what you love and what you don’t.

Pay attention to your emotions, and start understanding what brings your joy and what brings you down. Capitilize on the things that bring you joy, eliminate or change what brings you down.

You’ll recognize your truth by the way it feels. It will feel natural and joyous and in alignment, whereas things, people and situations that are not in alignment with your authentic self will induce negative emotions and drain your energy.

Pay attention.

3. Create Before Anything Else

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” — Ghandi

Start your days by creating. If you’re not scrolling in the mornings, consuming other peoples creations, you’ll find you have a lot of time to yourself. Spend that time creating your art, putting yourself out in the world authentically (even if you’re not sharing it publicly, but just creating for yourself) and see how this changes your art and your day.

When you create before you check email, check social media, or interact with other people, you’re more able to create from a place of truth and authenticity. You put yourself out in the world without the world influencing how you do it.

4. Become the Observer

Practice observing your emotions, rather than being a pawn to them.

This can be a difficult discernment — aren’t we how we feel and react?

Not exactly. Philosophy 101 teaches us that we are actually the observer of our thoughts. The constant stream of thoughts in our head is the ‘monkey mind’ or ego. We can observe ourselves thinking throughout the day, we can observe our emotional reaction to life, but it takes practice.

The best way to practice this is during meditation. No place is the ego and monkey mind more obvious than when you’re trying to sit, monk like, in meditation. So, sit with yourself quietly in the mornings for 15 minutes and simply practice observing your mind at work. See where it goes, what it thinks, and if these thoughts are generally positive or negative.

This is your ego and it loves comparing, and judging. You’ll learn a lot about yourself by simply observing the thoughts that come to you when you’re just trying to be quiet.


The extraordinary in this world are authentic creators, who are rooted in their truth and forcing the rest of the world to chase after them.

They do this by ignoring what everyone else is doing and creating authentically and running in their own race.

The average spend their days consuming other peoples emotions, agendas and the what the competition is doing.

They compare, they judge, and they spend their days playing catch up, rushing along in the rat race, never getting ahead (despite the emotional exhaustion they feel).

When you get rooted in your truth, and own your story, you put the blinders up to what the rest of the world is doing and run your own race.

Take Action!

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