Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Is our society now just going to accept mediocrity? Not even accept it, but reinforce it, encouraging people not to work harder than need be?
The other day I was watching the Olympics coverage and the reporter said that he didn't know why Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was swimming so fast, pushing himself so hard, when it was only a qualifying round. He could qualify without breaking records. I was SHOCKED by this!! Yes, Phelps could just swim hard enough to win. But he needs to push himself - winning isn't enough for him, he needs to break records. He wants to do his best in every race, not just enough simply to qualify or to win.
At work I see, as I'm sure many of you do, people doing the bare minimum to keep their job or do the assigned task. They don't deliver anything extra. They don't try to do their best, just enough to get by. And those people are often treated the same by the company (& it's management) as those of us that try to do a little better, who want to go above and beyond.
I've heard "who cares, as long as it gets done," and "well, it's finished" come out of the mouths of people on the street. I have heard people on the bus say, "I'm not going to work any harder than I have to." I have heard people complain about prices, politics, employment, their back yard even, and just say that it bothers them but they're not going to do anything about it.
Part of me really gets aggravated with this mentality. Is it new--are we getting lazier. Or has this mentality been around forever and I've just not noticed it until recently? Are we going to just accept "getting by?" Should I not work so hard and get by like the rest? Does it even pay/benefit someone who goes above and beyond any more? Do I feel better about myself because I did the best job I could, or do I take the time to relax and not work so hard? What are we going to ask for as a society? What do we reward? The average or the overachiever?