In December 1989, my mother died very suddenly, and that sparked a re-evaluation of what I was doing, and I realized I was mediocre at everything. I was a mediocre IBM employee, I was a mediocre entrepreneur, I was a mediocre artist. I decided that, although my mom wouldn't be around to see it, I wanted to be great at something.
If an artist is good, nobody else can do what he or she does and therefore all comparisons are incoherent. Only the mediocre, pushing forward a commonplace view of life in a commonplace language, can really be compared, but my wife thinks that "least mediocre of the mediocre" is a discouraging title for a prize[.]
Edward St. Aubyn
I do write about men now and then, but I mostly write about women because that's the work I like best. When I became a feminist, I realized that somebody had to write all about this women's art that was out there ignored, and it was going to be me. And of course the ideas were particularly interesting to me, and the discoveries, about what women's art was and could be. I often say I'm more interested and mediocre art by women than in mediocre art by men - which is interpreted as I only like mediocre art or women only do mediocre art - all that shit. I don't write about mediocre art but I look at it and it does interest me for the information it gives me about women's imagery, women's psyches, women's lives, women's experience.
Lucy Lippard Talking Art Interviews With Artists Since 1976
Each time a mediocre singer performs, he is saying, in effect, "This is good enough for you." The audience, thrust into that familiar American mood of knowing something is wrong but not knowing what it is, unconsciously absorbs the insult and projects it back onto the mediocre performer in the form of inattention, rudeness and noise.
At bottom, I mean profoundly at bottom, the FBI has nothing to do with Communism, it has nothing to do with catching criminals, it has nothing to do with the Mafia, the syndicate, it has nothing to do with trust-busting, it has nothing to do with interstate commerce, it has nothing to do with anything but serving as a church for the mediocre. A high church for the true mediocre.
[I]t is necessary to insist upon this extraordinary but undeniable fact: experimental science has progressed thanks in great part to the work of men astoundingly mediocre, and even less than mediocre. That is to say, modern science, the root and symbol of our actual civilization, finds a place for the intellectually commonplace man and allows him to work therein with success.
Jose Ortega y Gasset
It's hard to make something that's interesting. It's really, really hard. It's like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that anything that's written or anything that's created wants to be mediocre. The natural state of all writing is mediocrity... So what it takes to make anything more than mediocre is such an act of will...
How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days-which inevitably create a successful life-in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.
Virtually every subject is most effectively learned directly from the greatest thinkers, historians, artists, philosophers, scientists, prophets and their original works. Great works inspire greatness. Mediocre or poor works inspire mediocre or poor learning. The great accomplishments of humanity are the key to quality education.
The only thing-I tell you this straight from the heart-that disgusts me in Salzburg is that one can't have any proper social intercourse with those people-and that music does not have a better reputation... For I assure you, without travel, at least for people from the arts and sciences, one is a miserable creature!... A man of mediocre talents always remains mediocre, may he travel or not-but a man of superior talents, which I cannot deny myself to have without being blasphemous, becomes-bad, if he always stays in the same place. If the archbishop would trust me, I would soon make his music famous; that is surely true.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Establishing and maintaining clarity for yourself and what you want is the starting point for success. Thus, maintaining extraordinary clarity is necessary to achieve extraordinary success. The problem is that most people maintain a mediocre level of clarity, which inevitably leads to a mediocre level of success.
Everybody is equal before God and law, but everybody cannot be equal with respect to his intellect. High intelligence is rare, it is not determined by formal education, academic career, money, etc. But if you hold it, you cannot think as others, as the masses. Your worldview, values, personhood and so on would be quite different: I don't say you should artifically differentiate yourself from the masses, however, you cannot run from it. High intelligence gives you more thing, it enables you to see, distinguish what is hidden from the masses, mediocre people, but they never forgive it for you: mediocre people seek to lower great men.
All Religions have this in common, that they are an outrage to common sense for they are pieced together out of a variety of elements, some of which seem so unworthy, sordid and at odds with man's reason, that any strong and vigorous intelligence laughs at them... The human intellect is only capable of tackling mediocre subjects: it disdains petty subjects, and is startled by large ones. There is no reason to be surprised if it finds any religion hard to accept at first, for all are deficient in the mediocre and the commonplace, nor that it should require skill to induce belief. For the strong intellect laughs at religion, while the weak and superstitious mind marvels at it but is easily scandalized by it.