The #1 Thing Keeping You Mediocre


I have seen it among my friends. I have seen it among my peers. I have seen it in total strangers. Many of these people have dreams of becoming great. One wants to be creative director of a national advertising firm. The other wants to be a self-made man with multiple streams of income. Another wants to be an astronaut.

You would think that when people have ideas, dreams, and goals, they would make every effort to achieve them. But that is not the case. The creative director wanna-be is still stuck at home, even though he graduated from college 5 years ago. The guy who wants the multiple streams of income is still working at his minimum wage job for 3 years. The astronaut wanna-be just watches TV all days and plays video games. None of them are taking active steps to achieve what they desire.

And you wanna know what the sad thing is?

People like these are not the minority. They are the majority. Most people have great dreams, but do nothing to reach them. Ten years and twenty years down the road, they would still be in the same place as they are right now.

You wanna know what is even sadder?

Chances are … you’re just like them. (That is why I have no problem spilling my secrets to power, because you’re more likely to do nothing than to seize success.)

If that is the case, read this article carefully. Because it might very well change the course of your life. You’ll thank me later.

Why People Have Great Dreams, but Take Little Action

There is a huge discrepancy between what people say and what people do. You would think that the guy who talks about how bright his future is gonna be the same guy who hustles day in and day out. But sadly, that is not the situation. The people who talk the most smacks have the least acts. These are the simps.

So why do people have such great dreams, but take so little action?

It is due to the #1 cause that prevents people from being great …

Paralyzing fear.

Pay attention and notice that I did not just say, “Fear.” But rather, it is paralyzing fear.

All men are afraid at one point in their lives. We are naturally born with fear, because it helps us survive. We are afraid of danger. We are afraid of being casted out from a group. We are afraid of failing. Because long ago, when saber-toothed tigers roamed the land, one little failure could lead the death.

But today, in the confines of modern society, failure no longer results in death. Maybe you’ll lose some money. Maybe you’ll lose some friends. But you’ll still keep your life and live to see another day.

Still … for most people, the fear is so intense, it keeps them from taking any action. And that is why you see men with big dreams go absolutely nowhere. They are paralyzed.

The Cause of Paralyzing Fear

As I have just mentioned, there is no need to be deathly afraid of anything. Failures still exist, but you can recover from them. In fact, it may be better to have many failures — especially early on — so you can learn from them.

So why then does paralyzing fear still exist?

For two main reasons, a minor cause and a major cause:

  1. Education system — the minor cause. Ever since you were young, a teacher or an authority figure told you what is wrong, what is right, what you can’t do, and what you can do. If you pleased the teacher, you received high grades and were rewarded. If you displeased the teacher, you received low grades and were punished. Because the education system is black and white, there is  only one correct answer. Because everything else is wrong, you had to travel a very straight-forward route to reach the top of the class. There was only one way to be the best. There was no room for individual, creative thinking.
  2. Your restricted mindset — the major cause. Now after 13 years in this system, what do you become? A robot. Your main concern is to be right all the time. You have no ability to think creatively. So when you leave the education system, you have no clue what to do, because no one tells you what to do. And yet, you are too afraid to take action and experiment, because that means you will have to fail many times. And failure is not an option!

Although school plays a very big role in your life and may influence who are you are today, it is still a minor cause. Because it is ultimately up to you to reject or accept restrictions placed on you by the school. Many people accept being mentally chained. But there are a few who rejects shackles in favor of mental freedom.

This does not mean that all the kids who did well in school have a restricted mindset. And this does not mean that all the kids who did poorly in school have a freed mindset. Some kids who dominated their class have a freed mindset. And some kids who flunked out of their class have a restricted mindset.

Your grades in class do not determine which mindset you fall under. Your willingness to take action and your courage to fail determine which mindset you have. Those with the freed mindset overcame their paralyzing fear. Thus, they take action to learn and to improve.

How to Overcome Paralyzing Fear

If you are stuck in the restricted mindset …

If you are paralyzed by your fear …

There is still hope for you, if you can break out of them.

How? By taking action no matter the consequence. There is a very high chance that you’ll fall flat on your face. Your “friends” may make fun of you. Your family may not support you. Their laughters and words may sting, but you’ll live.

Whenever you want to become better than those around you, there will always be people that will try to drag you into the filth you come from. Maybe their intentions are good and they don’t want to see you get hurt. Or worse yet, maybe they are envious and don’t want you to succeed.

The bottom line is that the only person responsible for your future is you. Not your teacher. Not your friends. And not your family. You.

You will be afraid. So start out small. Let’s say you wanna become a rich man. You can begin by reading about rich people and acquiring knowledge. Then when you have the knowledge, try to get just one person to buy whatever you’re selling. And after you achieve that, get 10 clients. Once you reach that goal, keep on expanding on your small successes. Take action and improve. Eventually, you’ll have an empire. You’ll achieve your dreams of being rich.

Let me tell you a story about my young self …

When I was in middle school and part of high school, I was deathly shy around hot girls. Yes, you read that right. At one point, your favorite antihero sucked when it came to attracting the ladies. I had an inferiority complex. Why was everyone else so brave, cool, and suave? And not me? I was timid, uncool, and definitely not suave at all. Basically, I felt like the odd man out.

But I really wanted to be liked by girls. Back then, it was my main passion.

And looking back, I did one thing right. No, I didn’t twiddle my thumbs and wait for girls to magically fall on my lap. Instead, I decided to take action to improve. And over the course of years … not weeks, not months, but YEARS … I took small steps here and there to become better. My young self would have been fine with any girl for a girlfriend, as long as she liked me. So I made an effort to talk to girls. I wasn’t brave enough to start befriending the hot ones. So I started out befriending all the unattractive girls. I tried to better myself by dressing like the cool kids. I became part of the varsity sports team.

And after a few self-upgrades, I had moderate successes with girls. But that was not enough. I didn’t want to be moderately successful. I wanted to be extremely successful. So I urged myself to keep at it and approach any girl — anytime, anywhere.

I was still afraid of rejection and desperately wanted to overcome it. Most of the time, when I told myself to talk to a girl, I would think of an excuse and chicken out at the last minute. Once in a blue moon, I would overcome my fears and speak to a random girl here and there.

I remember going to the local community college as a high school student and trying to talk to random girls there. I remember working up my courage to talk to and to pick-up a cute, brunette art student. I look back upon that event with a slight chuckle. Oh my goodness, I was still pretty bad at the Venusian arts. But to my surprise, I didn’t get blown out of the water. It seemed my fears were overblown.

Word got around in high school and I was then known as “mack daddy.” (It really didn’t take much “macking” to be known as a “daddy,” especially when most guys just watch from the sidelines.)

Eventually, I was able to approach good-looking girls. I went on dates with a couple of them. And by then, I wasn’t fine with any girl for a girlfriend. I increased my standards by a big amount — for a teen. My girlfriend had to be pretty. I’ve moved up in the world. (It was around then that I’ve encountered my first psycho girl.)

By the time I went to college, I was still a bit awkward around girls. I still had fears of rejection. But I was much better at attracting girls than my high school self. As the years went on, I had more and more girl friends. My goal slowly warped from getting a girlfriend to getting girl friends. Most of them were quite attractive. A few unattractive ones hung around me like bees to honey.

And now, I don’t really have any anxiety when speaking any girl, no matter how hot she is. I can say the stupidest thing without turning red. Basically, I don’t spend a lot of mental energy thinking about girls — I rarely give any of them a second though. I’m turning down invites to “hang out.” I’m have enough company as it is.

It is like going from a starved man to a well-fed man. A starved man thinks about food all the time. A well-fed man doesn’t think about food at all.

If you take actions — no matter how small, no matter the consequences — you will no longer be paralyzed and restricted. If you dare to achieve your dreams, you will … at least eventually. Keep making progress, no matter how small. Every day, become better and better. (The Japanese call this “kaizen.” And it is because of kaizen that Japanese companies produce better cars than American companies — even though American companies had a huge head start, from winning World War II.) Apply kaizen in your every day life, and you will zoom past mediocrity.

The most important and most basic  question is: Could you overcome your paralyzing fear?

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  1. Great Post Alex!
    Is true that if you want to change your life you will need to overcome fear! Fear can destroy a man’s outlook of the future as it will prevent him from moving ahead and making his life better.

    It took a long time and missed opportunities but as time progressed i was able to get break out of the shell i was encased in. Little by little i put myself out there at first i would be so nervous that when i spoke i would stutter really bad and was a clutz. Don’t even get me started when i tried to talk to girls i was a total mess!

    But i kept going it wasn’t until i decided to join the military at 19 years old that i was able to push myself out even more. You see i felt that if i were close to home i would never be able to control my fear if i know that my family will be there to help me. If i did this myself i would have to force myself to do it and have no one to blame but myself if the opportunity/ies failed.

    Without my parents knowing i went to a recruiter and had him explain to me what they offered. My parents did not know until the day the recruiter came to have my parents sign for me. Within a month i was out in the world!

    It was a little extreme to some people but i needed to do something and you know what i was able to crack that shell! Now mind you you can never become fearless because fear is an emotion, but you could control it! Once i controlled it i began to do things i did not normally do because i was afraid.

    Looking back i’m glad i took a step to change myself for the better. Now i could sit down or enter a room and have a conversation about anythng with a woman or a man and not even feel uncomfortable! I can go and stand in front of a group of people and give a speech without freaking out!

    I have learned to develop those characteristics on my own with no help (although looking back i wish there were blogs like this one) i succeeded! Its a long process but i figured nothing in life comes easy except death! SO if you have fear because i know a lot of you do then you need to put yourself out there and do it!
    You want to talk to that pretty girl in the office? Then DO IT!
    You want to stop being a wall flower and ask a girl to dance? Then DO IT!
    You want to start that side hustle, business, blog, get that position? Then DO IT!
    When fear creeps up on me you know what i use? I use the “Fuck It!” theory.
    When any opportunity comes up that can change your life and fear creeps in? Just say “Fuck It!” and then do it! Believe me it works!

    I apologize for the long comment Alex! Again a Great Post!

    Keep Hustling Brother!

    • Alex Ding says:

      Hey bro,

      I can always count on you to add good insights. That’s some courage you got to go “all in” and join the military.

      You’re one of the few who has mastered his fear. Awesome.

      Keep hustling.


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