From the time we’re toddlers, we’re put into routines by our parents. We’re trained to do particular sequences of actions at specific times each day, over and over again. Then we’re put into schools that try to teach us discipline and conformity so that we can follow a set curriculum and learn how to interact with others.
We follow along without much resistance for many years of our youth because we’re still afraid of getting in trouble with our teachers and our parents. When we get into our teens however, that’s when we start to get the itch of independence and things can really start to change. We want to break out of the molds we’ve been forced into, but a lot of times we can’t or don’t know how.
Untemplating Teens And Young Adults
As much as I thought I knew everything when I was a teenager, I didn’t have a clue. I doubt you did either. But what we did have in our youth was a lot of energy, creativity, and curiosity. Those are fabulous assets to transform oneself from mediocre to remarkable if put to good use. But some of the biggest challenges for teens and young adults are not knowing how to make good decisions or how to take risks due to lack of experience.
That curiosity and itch for independence is something that we need to better support in the rising generations as mentors, volunteers, and parents. Our teen and young adult years are such a crucial, impressionable, and also delicate period in life. Pressure for grades, applying to colleges, working part time jobs, and finding internships can be overwhelming. Parents who restrict freedoms and self expression tend to force their teens into cookie cutter templates that leave them feeling empty, confused, trapped, frustrated and unmotivated. That’s not a great way to lead into adult life.
On the other hand if more teens were encouraged and coached to take on challenges, follow their true interests (not just what college’s want to see), and given more chances to express themselves, I think the possibilities would be remarkable. They could pursue new subjects and activities and end up hating all of them, but I think that’d be great! It’s better to be experimental and try different activities and studies early on when we have more time and flexibility, than be forced into paths dictated by parents. I’ve learned in my own life that you will never have regrets if you take the chance to try something. Even if things don’t work out the way you hoped, it’s better to know you tried instead of going through life with an endless list of what if’s.
Being Different Gets You Noticed
It’s all too easy being average and only following along safe routes that are widely accepted. The easy ways are a template approach, which are typically rather boring and mediocre. Of course if you’re happy being average that’s okay, just don’t expect anything remarkable to happen as a result. People don’t become successful entrepreneurs, early retirees, or awarded for exceptional performance just for being average. It’s hard to better than the status quo, and you have to be willing to put in the work.
After all, the most successful people got to where they are not just for being smart, but for being different than everybody else. You have to rise above the crowd and showcase your special skills and attributes if you want to be remarkable. Think about the TV show America’s Got Talent. People love watching that show because the contestants can do all sorts of crazy and creative things that nobody else (or very few others) can do. Those wow factors took some serious sacrifice, commitment, and effort to achieve. Most people don’t have the patience, guts, or discipline to be able to make those types of impressions.
Don’t Get Too Busy Doing Nothing
The more technology we get, the faster life seems to go by. Everybody is always busy doing something. But what you don’t want, is to be busy doing nothing. Time is one of our most precious resources. Once it’s gone we can’t get it back. Make sure you’re putting your time to the best use possible if you want to go from mediocre to remarkable.
Be selfish with your time. Choose who you spend it with wisely. Stay organized, know the right ways to multitask, and drop the activities and relationships from your life that aren’t adding any value. Be proactive setting SMARTER goals and creating action plans that keep you honest. Get busy doing something.
Steps To Help You Go From Mediocre To Remarkable
Now is the time to start making positive changes in your life. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week. When you have a moment of inspiration, take a few minutes to jot down your ideas or act on it right then and there. You don’t have to go drastic to change your life for the better either. Sometimes just pursuing a new hobby or making new friends can bring incredible sparkle and happiness to your lifestyle.
Going from mediocre to remarkable is a personal journey as well that only you can unfurl. Plus it doesn’t matter if what you consider remarkable is perceived as mediocre by someone else. What does matter is that you set your own life goals and start taking steps to bring better knowledge, things, people, and experiences into your life. Start getting to work on these eight steps:
1. Take some risks — Do your best not to let fear hold you back from the possibilities of being incredible. If you ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?,” chances are the worst really isn’t as bad as you are imagining.
2. Aim high — Why settle? You’d be surprised how much you’re actually capable of if you give yourself a chance to dream big and work hard to get there.
3. Build confidence — Self esteem can take time to develop. We all have insecurities, but most of the time our imaginations get the better of us. Believe that you can change and learn new skills.
4. Push your limits — The difference between those who do well and those who don’t is sometimes marginal. Try to extend yourself out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a little bit. That little bit may be all it takes to set yourself apart from the rest.
5. Surround yourself with bright individuals — Put yourself in an environment with people who are smarter than you. Mix things up, seek out a good mentor, and improve your surroundings.
6. Get uncomfortable — Avoid running away from challenging situations. Growth is hard! It takes courage and some getting used to being uncomfortable if you want to get out of your mediocre funk.
7. Compare yourself to the best — It’s easy to get stuck only comparing yourself with peers in your department or at school. Look beyond the familiar and try to compare yourself to the best. Raise your bar.
8. Embrace leadership — Even if you are a leader of one, work on improving your leadership skills. Learning how to lead effectively is invaluable and a skill you can use your entire life.
Hopefully now you have a better grasp on how to work on your untemplate journey. Remember, most successful people got to where they are now by breaking out of the cookie cutter template lifestyles and making up their own rules. Your life is what you make of it, so start getting excited about doing something new and different and you’ll be on your way to go from mediocre to remarkable!
Untemplaters, in what ways do you consider your life boring and template’d versus exciting and unique? How would you rate your current lifestyle compared to 1, 3, 5, 10 years ago? What other steps can you suggest to help people go from mediocre to remarkable?
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
I definitely couldn’t call my life boring by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know if I’m becoming remarkable – I highly doubt it – but I’m working toward living a life that is out of the ordinary. I love surrounding myself with smart, and inspiring people. I find that really does a lot to motivate me.
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
In talking about teens and young adults, you say that teens should be encouraged and coached to take on challenges, which I agree with. But then you want to allow them to “follow their true interests (not just what college’s want to see), and given more chances to express themselves.” Without proper guidance, our teen wants to spend all his time playing Mindcraft on his computer. He would do that to the exclusion of eating and sleeping if we let him. Most teens are not very self-motivating. Our son thrives when given tasks with specific guidelines, be it working at a charity site, which he is doing right now, or working on his school assignments.
Ok I’m going to give a different perspective – hope you don’t mind! Buffett, as always, is a contrarian and says “One of the things we try very hard to do at Berkshire, is to stay within what I call our circle of competence.”
Basically he says find your strength and stick with it. And he means what he says – he doesn’t invest in tech stocks because he says he doesn’t understand them! He doesn’t try to break out of his comfort zone – he rather enjoys it!
Getting Uncomfortable I think is key do being better, since millions of people before us have already done the norm.
I strive to take risks more often now before I get too old and afraid of change!