Byron's Babbles

Don’t Settle For Mediocre

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Memories by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 16, 2023
A photo I took along the Savannah River

The phrase “Do not settle for the mediocre to avoid pain” became a through line in the great book I just finished by one of my favorite authors, Patti Callahan Henry, The Favorite Daughter. This was a phrase from the father in the novel, Gavin Donahue, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and to me meant that it’s important not to choose something that is just okay or average out of fear of experiencing discomfort or difficulty. It suggests that settling for something subpar may actually lead to greater frustration or unhappiness in the long run. This phrase was an important comment Gavin made to his daughter Colleen and became central to the book. Gavin had not taken the mediocre path in life. In fact he had a complicated and wonderful life full of storied paths.

Gavin was encouraging his daughter to push herself and strive for excellence, even if it meant enduring some hardship or discomfort along the way. Essentially, the phrase is a reminder that short-term pain or discomfort can often lead to long-term gain and fulfillment. Our stories will become our memories. We need to remember that our stories and memories are shared with others. We also need to remember that our stories are just that – our stories, and not accept mediocre in developing and living out those stories.


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