A majority of people in life will never achieve what they are fully capable of achieving. That is unfortunate. Achievement is not about being smart, knowing a lot of people, getting that big break, or being the right place at the right time. Sure those things can help, but most high achievement comes from plain old hard work and a persistence to work through challenges along the way.
There are rarely short cuts to achieving great things, but if you spend your time on the right things (i.e. behaving like high achievers), the probability of reaching your goals is much higher.
But, there is also an achievement-killing force out there that even potential high achievers may not recognize, and that is what I call the “mediocrity trap.” This trap is subtle, and to know you are falling into the trap requires significant self-awareness of its reality and power, and your own willingness to change your behavior to avoid it.
To avoid the mediocrity trap, you must train yourself to consciously steer clear of the behaviors of low achievers. For example, when you come home from work or school do you immediately sit down in front of the TV and burn away your evenings watching sitcoms or reality shows? Do you spend hours playing video games? Do you hang around with low-achieving friends who constantly complain about how the world has dealt them a bad hand? Most low achievers will have many justifications for spending their time this way.
Instead, think proactively about what you want to achieve, and how you might invest your time differently to fuel your engine of achievement.
Rather than turning on the TV after a long day, read a book or other content in your field to re-energize yourself for the next day. Consider your network of friends and spend time with those that also are high achievers. It’s exciting to see how associating with the right people can shift your achievement progress into high gear. Block time on your calendar focused specifically on your own personal development. Invest in your own learning. Exercise, as taking care of your physical well-being is as important as your mental well-being.
Do one thing every day that contributes to your achievement goals. If you take control of your own behaviors and avoid the mediocrity trap, you will be amazed by what you can achieve.