Mediocre. Average. Excellent.

Everything you do is either going to raise your average or lower it.
Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s daily insight from yesterday inspired me to start writing this article that I kept postponing.

In plain language, we often use ‘average’ for ‘mediocre’. And everyone understands what we mean. Someone really good with numbers will pay attention when the word ‘average’ with no additional explanation is being used. And feel the need to ask for clarifications.

If by average we mean the median and we’re referring to a broad set of data (like industry-wise), then average = mediocre. And it all comes to the wording, where probably mediocre seems a little more diminishing than average.

But when we’re targeting specific data subsets for our average, the situation is completely different.

For instance, in online advertising, an average inactive advertiser (as in joins many programs as a free member, never uses or advertises them) is probably below the industry median (a mediocre guy from the same industry).

An average advertiser that uses branded splash pages and tracks his results is one step ahead of the average advertiser that uses standard affiliate pages.

And an average marketer that builds his own list, maybe has his own site, attends webinars, builds connections, pays attention to what’s going on around him and further, and takes action is one step (probably more) above the average marketer who hasn’t done all that yet. And certainly way above mediocrity, moving toward excellence.

Your own average can change immensely, depending on the choices you have. The industry-wise average will very slowly change because there’s a lot of inertia, and is being affected by many individuals, not just personal choices and close entourages.

This again calls for a quote from the remarkable Seth Godin:

Progress is almost always a series of choices,
an inexorable move toward mediocrity, or its opposite.
Seth Godin

That made me remember something from my childhood actually. I was a regular kid playing around with kids my age, which I don’t see much at children nowadays. But, back in grade 5, I was also a straight A’s pupil (actually straight 10’s in our school system). Received many congrats and for a while I felt really good in my own skin.

As time passed, it became clearer that I was actually moving toward mediocrity, not the other way around. Something needed to be done. And it was. The following year I switched schools, was no longer a straight A’s pupil, but my average improved greatly.

Two things really changed: entourage and stronger competition.

And also ended the happiest part of my childhood, that I keep close to my soul. Growing up is not all that fun we dream as kids. But it has its moments. ;)

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About Adrian
Creator of, I enjoy working from home and having a flexible schedule. My mission: to grow myself, then teach and help others to step up and inspire them to offer help at their turn.

2 Comments on Mediocre. Average. Excellent.

  1. You are so right in pointing out that average is not a fixed point on a scale but rather slides about dependent on what is being measured and how. Our journey as online business owners, our journey is best to work from good to great, from average to excellence.

    Great article with lots to think about.


  2. Thank you Nick, that’s exactly it! Unfortunately a large number of people simply want immediate results online, grow impatient quickly and their journey is cut short or never even begins.

    But we can all do something to improve our own average. If more people would do it, the benefits would spread and strengthen the niche(s) where we are active.

    Competition frightens some, but really it shouldn’t. No competition = no progress!

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