Mediocre Life? 3 Reasons You Might Be Stuck in One

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you bored with life, or do you feel like life is bored with you? Are you making your things happen, or do you just take it as it comes? Wondering how you can overcome a mediocre life and banish the blah?

In The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod provides three common reasons why people settle for a mediocre life. When we overcome mediocrity, we get closer to the life we want.

Read more to learn more about some of the causes of a mediocre life.

Overcome Mediocrity to Live the Life You Want

The first challenge to living the life you really want is overcoming a tendency toward mediocrity.

Most people passively accept the cards that life deals them. Even people who achieve success in one area, such as a career, often accept less than they want or are capable of achieving in other areas, such as relationships or health. Most people—95%—live a mediocre life, without realizing they have the ability to be who they want to be, do what they want to do, and have whatever they want.

If you take one hundred people at the start of their working life and follow them for forty years, you’ll find, according to the Social Security Administration, that:

  • One will be wealthy.
  • Four will be financially secure.
  • Five will continue working because they have to.
  • Thirty-six will be dead.
  • Fifty-four will be broke and dependent on friends, family, and the government.

The challenge is ensuring that you are among the successful minority rather than the struggling majority.

3 Reasons You Might Be Stuck in a Mediocre Life

The most common reasons people settle for uninspired lives are:

1) A Mediocre Life Practices Rearview Mirror Thinking

Most of us view current choices through the filter of our past experiences—the rearview mirror syndrome. We measure new opportunities against our past experiences and capabilities—for instance, thinking: “I’ve never done anything like that before; I’ve never succeeded at that.” Thus, we limit our future development based on the limitations of our past. Even though we want to change, we’re stuck on the way things have always been.

You can overcome past limitations by repeating affirmations that inspire confidence that anything is possible and that you can make it happen. Focus on what you want, reprogram your beliefs about what’s possible, and move in the direction of your goals until they become reality.

2) A Mediocre Life Views Small Actions in Isolation

We wrongly think our choices affect only the moment—for instance, that it’s no big deal to eat something unhealthy or to skip exercising today because we’ll get a “do-over” tomorrow.

However, your individual actions, as well as thoughts, have long-term consequences. Every thought, decision, and action determines who you’re becoming and, ultimately, the life you create. By keeping your commitments, you develop the discipline to achieve the results you want. 

3) A Mediocre Life Involves a Mediocre Circle of Influence

We emulate the people we spend the most time with—our circle of influence.

If you’re surrounded by negative, complaining, lazy, people, you’ll be like them. Likewise, if you spend time with positive, successful people, their attitudes will rub off and you’ll become more like them. This is true of every aspect of life, including happiness, health, and even income. Spend less time with people who pull you down (this can include family) and associate instead with those who believe in and encourage you.

Understanding the reasons behind a mediocre life can put you on the path toward the life you want.

Mediocre Life? 3 Reasons You Might Be Stuck in One

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Hal Elrod's "The Miracle Morning" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Miracle Morning summary:

  • How getting up early and following a simple, daily routine can empower anyone to transform any area of their life
  • How Elrod's "Life S.A.V.E.R.S." routine can help you feel energized and motivated
  • Why hitting the snooze button is comparable to resisting your life

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She has always appreciated nonfiction, especially about history, politics, and ideas. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. As a former intelligence analyst and a teacher of critical thinking skills, Elizabeth enjoys analyzing arguments on all sides of an issue. Her nonfiction preferences include theology, science, and philosophy. She studies the intersection of these three in pursuit of the highest truths. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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