The older you get, the more you are pressured to be mediocre.
Parents tend to give the best advice when their kids are young and the worst advice when their kids become adults.
When we’re kids, we’re encouraged to follow our dreams and aim for the stars.
We’re told that anything is possible if we work hard and believe in ourselves.
To an extent, we all know this to be true. In most cases, failure is just giving up. As long as we never give up at something, we will eventually succeed. (Ignoring the obvious exceptions)
But parents start to change their tune by the time we hit our teenage years. Instead of preparing us for massive success, they start preparing us for success in the real world.
Why is that?
Go to college –> get a good job –> get married –> have kids –> get fat –> retire
Success in the real world = a life of mediocrity.
Your parents encourage you to be mediocre because they don’t believe in you
Your parents don’t encourage you to do more with your life because they don’t believe in you.
Why should they?
You would know by now if you were some kind of child prodigy. By the time you’re 18 or so, you know if you’ve been lucky enough to be born with a genetic gift that less than .01% of the population has.
But unfortunately, you’re just like the rest of us. You’re going to have to rely on hard work, discipline, and consistency to accomplish your big goals.
And your parents are well aware of how often people fail to follow-through on chasing their dreams — so they start to realize you probably aren’t going to be one of the few that does.
It’s difficult to not take it personally, because it is personal. You want the support of your parents.
But you’ve got to let it go. They’re not going to believe in you until you give them a reason to.
They’ll tell you not to start a business, not to follow your passion*, and to play it safe. That advice is based on the premise that you don’t have a chance to successfully follow your dreams and earn a respectable living outside of the cubicle.
Do you think your parents would intentionally prevent you from realizing massive success if they believed it was possible?
Of course not.
*I’m not saying that following your passion will make you successful. It depends on how lucrative your passion is and if you are skilled in your passion. Without accomplishment or the ability to monetize your passion, you won’t have fulfillment or money — which is a situation you want to avoid. But that’s a topic for another discussion.
Your parents encourage you to be mediocre because they don’t believe in themselves
They might tell you how special you are, but your parents still place their own limitations on you.
They didn’t make their own dreams come true, so they assume you can’t either.
Ever notice how people with all the answers rarely have the results?
Unless your parents have built the life you want, their advice isn’t going to get you where you want to go. It’s going to lead you to exactly where they are.
You can’t blame your parents for their self-limiting beliefs. We all have them in various areas of life.
Blame yourself for accepting your parents’ limitations as your own.
It’s your responsibility to filter the advice you follow. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your parents, it just means that you should question whether their advice is best for you.
Your parents encourage you to be mediocre because they care too much about you
Your parents care too much about you to encourage you to take risks.
They can’t stand to see you suffer, struggle, and fail.
Not solely for your sake — it hurts them to see you in pain.
I care about you. That’s why I write.
But I don’t care about you as much as your parents do.
It’s easy for me to push you to take risks. Realistically, I know that most people will read this website as something to pass their time, but they won’t take action.
However, you’re different. You have the potential to accomplish way more than I ever will, because you’re taking action now.
But even with your best effort, you will likely fail (several times) before you succeed.
I can live with that. I care more about you accomplishing your goals in the long run than I do about your temporary pain.
Parents that don’t push their kids for greatness are too weak to watch them fail forward.
Your parents encourage you to be mediocre because they want to impress other parents
One thing I’ve observed about parents of young adults — nothing is more important than showing off their parenting accolades to other parents.
It’s one big competition and we’re just pawns in their sick game.
Until you realize your success, chasing your dreams makes you look like a failure.
Whether you’re a struggling entrepreneur, athlete, artist, or anything else outside of the traditional career path — you’re struggling until you finally make it. That struggle doesn’t impress others at cocktail parties and doesn’t look nice in the family Christmas card bragging section.
Your parents will be viewed as failures until you finally achieve your success. Then, all of a sudden, guess who’s going to be first in line to tell the world about you?
You guessed it.
And the funny part is everyone will look to your parents to find out what their secret is. How did you raise such an amazing kid?
We just believed he could do it…
It sounds heartless, because no one wants to hurt their parents’ feelings or let them down — but their time has passed. We all get one shot at life and they took theirs.
If they care more about what others think of them as parents than they do about you building a great life — they don’t have your best intentions in mind.
An average, mediocre life is not the goal.
If you choose this life, this is what you’re in for. By the time your parents (and everyone else for that matter) start to believe in you and offer encouragement, you’ll no longer need it.
Because you will have already made it.
And at that point, they should probably be asking for your advice.
Until next time,
P.S. This isn’t an article hating on parents. I love my parents and I’m lucky enough to have parents that support my decisions (most of the time) in life. But more often than not, I see parents that hold their kids back and pressure them into decisions that ultimately lead to a mediocre life.
Walking your own path isn’t about going against your parents, it’s about going for yourself.
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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