When I gaze upon the smiling faces of my children I think to myself, “I hope one day they can find a way to just get by while putting in the bare minimum effort.” Perhaps, if I’m really luck, my kids will be the most mediocre ‘C’ students they can be. After all, isn’t that what you parents wished for you? Didn’t your parents tell you to aim for the middle? “I want to see all C’s and D’s on your Report Card mister or no TV for a week.”
Like the river that slowly erodes the bank or the ocean that wears the rocks down to sand, our once proud and prosperous nation has lost its shine and luster. The edges are worn and the paint chipped and fading. And, sadly, far too many citizens gaze upon the nation and think “It’s good enough.”
The attitudes and expressions that men hold are not necessarily the cause but the symptom of something deeper and more troubling. To a great extent lately I’ve been putting pen to paper and extolling the merits of training and practice with firearms. To my chagrin I’ve encountered a voiced resistance to the idea that the path to proficiency and confidence can be found through professional training followed by dedicated practice.
Instead of considering the suggestions and agreeing or disagreeing internally, the idea that a person should indeed put forth effort and strive for improvement has been met with open contempt. Rather than be satisfied with their mediocrity and ‘C’ student standing, anonymous contributors take to the Internet forums and comment sections with a litany of excuses. What is most insidious is the effort to discourage others from seeking improvement. It’s the “you’re okay, I’m okay, we’re okay” kindergarten mentality all grown up. “We don’t normally spell ‘Cat’ with a ‘K’, but it’s alright, we know what you meant.”
The excuse makers and challengers come from two separate flocks. The first is the intellectually lazy under-achiever. Deep down in his mind, the under-achiever feels disappointment and even embarrassment for his ‘C’ or even ‘D’ status. However, having devolved to a state of mental laziness, it’s far easier to make excuses and criticize others who have achieved through hard work and genuine effort. What the under-achiever must do in order push back the shame demons is disparage those who would seek improvement. This disparagement directly applies to any person suggesting improvement or encouraging others to seek greatness through hard work.
It requires far less exertion to tear down the achiever than to change oneself and put forth genuine effort. To the under-achiever, any person who suggests that men should put forth effort and seek improvement is labeled as ‘unrealistic’ or ‘arrogant’. The suggestion that mastery of any field requires dedication and sacrifice turns the stomach of the under-achiever. So mired in mediocrity they are that it offends the under-achiever when someone offers that they should try harder. The lazy will recoil from the thought of sweat and sacrifice like a vampire from a mirror.
A bit more of a conundrum; the enabler is not necessarily an under-achiever. The enabler may very well be a ‘B’ student. They’ve achieved a moderate amount of success in their field of endeavor, but thus far true mastery has eluded them. The enabler shares an odd kinship with the under-achiever in that he isn’t where he wants to be, though this thought may be buried deep within his subconscious.
When the same idea of professional training and dedicated practice is offered the enabler will at first acquiesce. However, there is always a caveat to this agreement. For you see, the enabler has been poisoned by the ‘Reasonableness Disease’. By setting himself up as the voice of ‘reason’ the enabler attempts to make up for his own shortcomings by offering excuses for the under-achiever. Rather that support the notion of dedication and sacrifice, the enabler falls back on meaningless phrases like ‘good enough’ and ‘minimum standard’. The enabler, who should know better, cannot help but perpetuate the ‘C’ student or mediocre standard.