Nowadays, the bar has been set so very low for what
passes as “excellent” that we may have forgotten what
true excellence really is.
In past blog posts I have written about the importance of an attitude of gratitude (https://stevepiscitelli.wordpress.com/category/gratitude/). There are so many good things that occur each day. Even as the stock market tumbles, Europe struggles with its financial crisis, good hardworking people cope with the realities of long-term unemployment, and political discourse gets louder and more bellicose, we all have great things in our lives to sustain us and carry us forward. I get that. Really, I do.
Today, however, I want to say a few words about a less than positive condition that appears with appalling regularity in our world. While this post may appear negative (and perhaps it is), I will finish with a positive note and suggestion. So, please read on.
Have you encountered a new normal when it comes to service and work ethic? I call this new normal Redundant Mediocrity. This refers to those actions that are barely acceptable—and yet repeat themselves time and again. Perhaps you have seen them in stores, restaurants, traffic, the office, or even in personal relationships. Here are just a few examples of Redundant Mediocrity:
- Sitting in a restaurant. It’s not busy—at all. Five minutes after you sit down, no one has greeted you. To be sure you have been seen—just not acknowledged as a human being by the three servers who have walked by your table. Poor service becomes a tolerated norm. Redundant Mediocrity.
- The cashier collecting money at the airport parking garage mumbles almost inaudibly as you hand over your money. Your change is plopped in your hand with a crumpled receipt. No smile. That grunt you heard from her might have been a thank you—but you cannot really tell as she has slammed shut her window. Redundant Mediocrity.
- You set up an appointment with a company to get an estimate for repair work at your house. The contractor is a “no show”—and does not call to cancel or reschedule. Worse yet, when you call back, your call is not returned. Redundant Mediocrity.
- Have you ever called a doctor’s office and when the phone was answered you heard, “Hi, can you hold please?” Nine minutes and thirty-nine seconds later you’re still on hold. No one has checked back with you. This actually happened to me last week. I know the time because my cell phone keeps track (—like it is mocking me!) I hung up and called back. The monotone voice on the other end said once again, “Hi, can you hold please?” I said, “No.” Sometimes I am a quicker study than other times! Redundant Mediocrity.
- Going to the gym has great benefits. But if I continue to do the same routines, I find a certain hum-drum feeling taking hold. I can easily become complacent and give myself feel-good words like, “Well at least you’re here.” Reality: If I am there day after day but not pushing myself, I have settled for Redundant Mediocrity.
- When asked what they will do to improve their scores on the next test, many students will perfunctorily state, “I will study harder.” Generally, that means the students will do what they did that brought about poor grades—but will do more of it! Does not make much sense, does it? Redundant Mediocrity.
- Another meeting with the same agenda. The names may have changed—but the mind-numbing regularity of people droning on with few listening while others check their text messages or Facebook accounts is another example of Redundant Mediocrity.
And the list can go on ad nauseam. We see examples everywhere. It can be depressing. Redundant Mediocrity.
But there is hope. I call it Remarkable Consistency! Let’s change our attitudes and behaviors. Let’s not accept mediocrity. And let’s recognize and celebrate Remarkable Consistency! Here are a few examples that give me hope:
- I get to the gym at 5:00 a.m. to begin each day on a healthy note before heading off to campus. Every morning, Deb is there to open the doors. Never misses; always timely. Remarkable Consistency!
- As I mentioned above, I can find myself going into a rut at the gym. I need to stir it up for maximum benefit. One of the 5:00 a.m. crowd is David. He is the hardest working man in the gym. Inspiring workouts and great attitude. Remarkable Consistency!
- On campus each morning, Sabrina welcomes her customers in the cafeteria with a wonderful smile and warm hello. Remarkable Consistency!
- One of favorite my gathering spots at the beach is Ragtime. The food is consistently good. The service—well they make people feel welcomed. Like the old television show Cheers, everyone knows your name. Remarkable Consistency!
- My wife is the most supportive person I know. Warm, caring, thoughtful, and empowering. Remarkable Consistency!
Nowadays, the bar has been set so very low for what passes as “excellent” that we may have forgotten what true excellence really is. As you go about your week make a promise to identify and eliminate Redundant Mediocrity and empower yourself and those around you with Remarkable Consistency!
[Images above: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
Enjoy your week!
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