Glorifying Mediocrity

One of prime values I was instilled with as a young man and have sought to strive for ever since is a philosophy of excellence. Likewise that few attitudes are as repulsive and as destructive as mediocrity. Mediocrity is not only a growing addiction in our society but is increasingly rewarded, encouraged, and even glorified. I see this in the schools, in sports, in music, in art, across the board. I think it one more symptom of a culture or at least a subculture that embraces the doctrines of idiocracy.  The  fact this is often hitched with ideology and corruption is no surprise.
I only bring up the following as another classic example of this glorification of mediocrity on hand and dismissal of excellence on the other. 
Point in case… once in a great while when I return home from the Dojo I’ll catch at least a few minutes of Dancing with the Stars. Not at all typical for me to watch such a show but I truly appreciate dancers as will as watching ‘hard workers’ improve. In the end though it is about who is judged to be the best dancers. Last season a phenomenal dancer who improved radically, Mya, and was the obvious best, was runner up due to a obvious popularity contest for the winner and against her. The winner was not actually that bad yet there was still enough controversy that the judges apparently threatened to leave the show. (Judges scores are compared with voting from the tv audience)
This season, of which I’ve caught little of, has apparently been ripe with such controversy. In the end it comes down to exactly the point I made above. One star, who has been in the top two all season was voted off..Brandy. Her level of dedication and work above the others..built on a lifetime of practicing excellence. The dancer voted to the finals, Bristol, should have been voted off weeks ago. Nothing personal but she is a terrible dancer, has not showed the work ethic, and sadly represents values less than a practice of excellence.  Even sadder is the American public voting for her because ‘she is one of them’. No DOUBT! A classic case of glorifying mediocrity, popularity, and even ideology over excellence, talent, and fairness. 
The fact that those who glorify such a lower road will even cheat and engage in corruption to attain what they feel is a justified end even in something as unimportant on the world stage as a dance contest surprises me less and less. Meanwhile more power to Brandy, and Mya, and all the others out there who have ever been put down because your excellence was a threat to the status qu of the Idiocracy clans. 

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Imperatives

My good friend and High Mesa Fitness® tribal bro Steven Blondeau made a important post this morning on his blog The Gardening Life on the subject of Imperatives. The concept is that there are some things one attends to as best they can, no matter what, each day. These ‘imperatives’ are in fact the handholds that enable you to both progress up the rock face of life as well as enjoy the climb along the way. I don’t think there can be much joy or thrill of living without effort, exertion, and discipline in life. After all, the way you spend each day adds up to the way you spend your life.
Note, these are more than intentions. In Buddhist practice one is taught that intention carries great force and is often more important than outcome. I don’t disagree with this view yet I feel the idea can allow one to give less than they are capable of or is necessary to truly evolve.

Here is the link to Steven’s post: http://cpgardens.blogspot.com/2010/11/imperatives.html

My imperatives resonate…
• Train across the physiologic spectrum each day with varying emphasis.
cardio, strength, agility, flexibility. My mornings for instance almost always begin with joint mobility and kata ‘isk flows. Conditioning follows inclusive of  cardio and strength and yoga. Most evenings  find me at the dojo practicing the arts. Some days are yin some are yang.
• Spend at least 1-2 hours outside no matter the weather. The further from ‘town’ the better.
• Center myself in stillness with a period of Zazen and mindfulness ‘bells’ thru-out the rest of the     day…breath, posture, attention; be it in the middle of chores, training, work, or social. 
• Enjoy time with my family…foster and nurture that vital connection
• Enjoy/combine active time with my huskies. I might be disciplined but I am not domesticated.
• Read a book some each day. Sometimes this is studious other times not yet always edifying. 
• Detach from drama and mediocrity, practice equanimity. Equanimity is not going to happen on its on, it must be practiced like a guitar. Drama..those around me, the news, et. all. As ol Ed said, “don’t let the bastards get you down”

Only they who obey a rhythm superior to their own are free. -Nikos Kazantzakis