“Well, if you think it’s so bad here, why don’t you go live in (any other place where said issue is worse). We are lucky to live here where it's not THAT bad.”
My constant response to that argument, no matter what the issue, is that it is unacceptable to compare my present situation with that which is WORSE in order to justify mediocrity. You know who never thinks like that? Athletes. Athletes always strive to be better than they are at any given moment, and compare themselves to those who are better, not worse, than themselves.
No athlete says, “Well, my batting average is only .235, but all the other guys on the team are batting around .180, so I guess I’m pretty good by comparison.” Instead you hear athletes say “The guy on the other team consistently bats .475 and I want to improve my skill to become better.”
That, in my opinion, is the hallmark of an athlete; the mentality and drive to be better. An athlete wakes up every day with the goal of improving her/his skill, even if just 1%, to consistently be moving in the direction of betterment. It can be seen in every aspect of an athlete’s life, which is precisely why most people describe them as a “dedicated” bunch.
Everyone, athlete and non-athlete alike, can benefit from adopting this mentality for an improved quality of life. Living a better life, however you define that, is not just going to happen out of nowhere. It will not fall out of the sky by hoping and wishing, or by reading motivational quotes and texts, without any concerted action to follow.
Being better requires action. For an athlete, it means waking before the sun, and putting in hours and hours of practice toward skill development while the rest of the world gets more Zzzz’s. For everyone else, it means creating the time to volunteer at the organization of choice, prepare a meal for a loved one, watch your child’s music concert, or spend quality time with your spouse. Each of those won’t happen if you just wait for free time; time has to be created and set aside for things that make your life better.
Being better requires persistence. For an athlete, it means not giving up on learning a new skill, even after trying 99 times and failing each one. An athlete gets back up and tries the 100th time. For everyone else, it means continuing to hit the gym, meditate, read, learn a new language, meet new friends, develop new relationships, eat better quality food, or otherwise find balance, even when life is busy and it is hard. Things that are worth having in life will take more than just a one-shot effort; they require persistence.
Being better means not becoming complacent. I touched on this in the start of the post. For athletes, this means not comparing one’s own performance to the worst person on the team and feeling satisfied, but comparing one’s own performance to the best person on the team and striving to be better. For everyone else it means not accepting mediocrity in relationships, career, happiness, or any other facet of life, just because it “could be worse”.
Most would agree that living a “better life” is something to be desired. If you wish to live a life that is fulfilling, balanced, and happy, try adopting the Athlete Mentality of being better. Don’t settle for sub-par, but strive to turn your ideals into your reality.