The Tyranny of Mediocrity

Yesterday was about confession.

I got tired of running downhill. I’m ready to punch my limitations in the neck.

Today’s about accountability.

Today, I’m opening up the vest. I’m going for it on 4th and 4.

What I’m about to tell you is something very personal. To me. You may guffaw and shrug it off. Big deal.

Just saying it is a big deal to me. It’s a proclamation. It’s my declaration of independence.

Wall Classic Stefano Corso via Compfight

I’m revolting against the tyranny of mediocrity in my own life. I’m tearing down that wall.

I’m going to stretch myself to do what most people don’t normally try to do. I’m going to stretch myself to do what most people don’t think I’m capable of doing. If I fail, I’ll get back up and try again.

It’s about the process. It’s about the preparation. It’s about being challenged.

I’m going to write a book, and I’m going to run in a half-marathon.

Even if only a handful of people read this blog. I’m going to write a book and I intend to have it published.

Reconstructed, arthritis ridden knee and all. I’m going to run a 13.1 miles. One foot in front of the other, without stopping.

There. It’s out in the open. Snicker if you want to. I’m writing this for accountability. I’m not looking for applause or respect.

If I don’t say it, I’ll never do it.


Like the harp playing shepherd boy, I’m running toward the giant of middle age with a sling and five small stones. Bring it on.

No more coasting. No more waiting on somebody else to do it.

Kipling wrote:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

That’s what I intend to do – mentally and physically. I’m calling myself out.

It’s not going to happen like it did the last time. While pastoring in the States, I preached through the book of Philippians. It took me more than a year and a half worth of Sunday mornings. I wrote out each sermon, painstakingly. I labored, diligently and with some degree of self inclination I really thought that I had something worth printing. Publishing.

I thought that I had written something that people would want to read. It was different. It was pensive.

Mind you, it would have been a Bible commentary from a 30-year-old pastor with a congregation smaller in number than most high school football rosters, but I still thought it was stuff that could have benefitted a lot of people. I was convinced of it.

Until I got rejected.

I sent it to a friend of mine who had self-published a devotional. I had great respect for him. He had written a book. He had to know something, right?

After reading a portion of it, he sent me an email back.


He didn’t actually say that, but it might have felt better if he had. My confidence was destroyed.

For a long time after that, I quit writing anything other than an occasional prayer letter. Rejection stings.

Rejection establishes limitations. Too short. Too fat. Not enough experience.

Rejection tells you to stay in the closet and the closes the door.

Rejection makes you gun-shy. Rejection forgets to set your place at the table.

After almost ten years I’m writing again. I’m finding my voice, and I trust that it sounds pleasant to some. I trust that it resonates.

We’ll see. Follow the progress here. Pray for me. I need it.

Categories: fear, From the moleskin
  • Ricardo Sant’Anna

    Like the British say: “Soldier on!”

    I don’t see you as a quitter, and having your first writing rejected is not the end of the world. If you have a goal in your life, you should never give up, harder as it may be. Have you been listening your own words to the Warriors? I’m very glad to know that you are going to give it another try, and this time, there will be no excuses.

    You know, my people has the saying “Have a child, write a book and plant a tree”. You have added to that “run a half-marathon”. Go for it!

    And stop saying that only a bunch of people read your Blog. You sound like a Portuguese native.

    And if you need some incentive, tell me, that I’ll scream and shout like i use to when i was a srgt.

    SOLDIER ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael

      Ricardo, like always, thanks for the comment. I don’t look at myself as a quitter, but I have set aside personal goals for too long and for various reasons. A change in scenery and culture changes a world of things.
      About the number of readers that stop by here…I look at the stats and I’m not content at all. I’m not one of those self-promoting, push myself on everybody kind of person. There’s a lot of noise in cyberland and a lot of times my posts just sort of float to the ground.
      I’ll see you tonight at practice.

  • Stefanie Whaley

    I love to read everything you write!

    • Michael

      Thank you very much, Stefanie. You are way too kind.

  • the domestic fringe

    Rejection rots, but God put that desire in you, so don’t let someone else’s opinions count for more than God’s. (In my head, I talk to myself like that all the time. I don’t always listen though, so feel free to ignore me too.)

    I think you’re one of the best writers I know. Seriously. I wish I could be half as intellectual and insightful.

    Your determination is challenging me, motivating me to want more than mediocrity too. I need that, so thank you for sharing these posts with us.
    the domestic fringe recently posted..Neon is A Gateway to The Mullet – A Haircut StoryMy Profile

    • Michael

      FringeGirl, thank you very much. I don’t always comment on your posts, but your writing resonates with me (save the fashion posts and really girly stuff). Not wanting to sound elitist at all, because I’m too average to be elitist, but I get frustrated because I read a lot of stuff that is lauded and praised and published and I just wonder, “Why?” It’s frustrating but I’m not giving up.

  • William Harper

    Not doing it for respect, but you will get it. By the way, you already have my respect. Being a missionary in Europe is no easy task. Like the comments from Ricardo.

    • Michael

      Bro. Harper, and you, mine (respect). Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Nina

    You’ve never been a ‘mediocre’ kind of guy….why start now, right? I’m with you….well, not literally as you run. But I’ll be there, fiddling around with my dog in the park.

    I promise to cheer for you as you cross the finish line, bombs and all.

    Nina recently posted..The Tyranny of MediocrityMy Profile

    • Michael

      If you are, I’ll quit the race to make sure you’re safe.

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