Embracing Mediocrity

Originally published in HF Volume 36 Issue 1 

Have you ever been told that you weren’t good enough for one particular thing? Or that you were plain as paper? If not, well, grab a bite and let me tell you what it is to “feel” Average, especially in a generation where everyone seemed to have everything figured out.

As far as childhood memories go, we all have that “I want to be [insert dream job or passion here] or the “when I grow up” moment as kids. It’s not unusual that we spend most of our early years wanting to find out what skill we’ll pick up along the way and hone it to perfection, until we’re finally old enough to go professional. But what most people don’t talk about is that only some people are able to do this, while the rest of us are left on the brainstorming process, confused on what we want to be later on. 

Growing up, I’ve never been able to fully find out what I’m particularly good at. It made me believe that I acquired no particular skill set to begin with, which made it extremely hard for me. I didn’t know where I’d fit in at life. I see all my friends and schoolmates perform in talent shows like in music, dancing, arts, and other things like competing in athletic events while I’m the person standing in the audience, a bystander looking in.

I had considered myself an average joe, with no particular skill set to brag about, no innate talent — just the one guy standing on the side of the stage cosplaying as tree number two because he’s not capable enough to land the main acting roles in the play. This type of thinking, coupled by both sheer lack and sheer amount of experiences I had in various things, led me to a point where I never had a proper set of goals to set my eyes with. My parents never had the opportunity to support me hundred percent in what I did or what I wanted to do, not that I knew what it was supposed to be anyway. They could never be there for me all the time due to them being Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and all, prioritizing the basic needs for our family’s survival. Since then, we’re left with our extended family to take care of us, and they were not able to give that kind of support either. 

When it comes to talent and skills, a lot of it is influenced by one’s environment. Another crucial factor also lies in the support we get from our parents, may it be financial, morale, or even something as simple as their blessing. Parents are typically the ones to help you or guide you on what you want to be later on in life, whether you want to be a doctor, a musician, computer enthusiast, or anything that intrigues you to want to pursue that field because that’s what parents should be doing. They should be guiding their child to achieve what the child wants and  support them no matter what.

It’s not the child’s fault that he lacks a certain amount of passion to do the things that he wants to try or be it the opposite, the urge to try all things at once. No, it is not because the child lacks conviction to firmly grasp whatever skills he can and just master it, but because he needs a guide to help him realize what he can do in life. A pair of eyes to observe him and the things he does so that he knows it suits his preference in doing so. 

Another thing at fault is the current  academic framework adapted by the schools here in the Philippines, which insists compliance more than it sparks the thirst for learning. Schools tell you to go try this and that, make you study everything all at once, until the child loses sight of his dreams because he is too immersed in all the things that “society” wants them to be, making his already vague dream more difficult to grasp. 

Situations like these are more often found in our generation rather than previous ones, but not the same can be said for others.

Even for most people like me, it felt that it’s not really a matter of fitting in – but rather we fit in too well that we don’t really outshine everyone or even stand out just for a little bit.

It’s not that bad to learn all those different kinds of skills and not be excellent at one thing, and yet still be good at all those things.

You can’t simply dictate the one thing you want to be great at, and that’s okay. As the saying goes, a jack of trades is a master of none, but will always be better than a master of one. You’ll find use for yourself one day. We can’t rush ourselves to be masters at certain things as it takes time, so go on and learn what you can. After all, being average might be your one way ticket to finding who you really are. 

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