Modern society encourages mediocrity, not success


Courtesy of James Harrison

Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison posts a picture of son’s participation trophies on Facebook and explains the epidemic of mediocrity.

AJ Forbes, Sports Editor

Excellence used to be something to be proud of. A trophy or a medal used to symbolize success and achievement. A “good job” from your mom or dad used to validate that your achievement was an achievement.

In the modern world of participation trophies and “nice try”s, this isn’t always the case anymore.

The society that we have developed has devalued success and the rewards that come with it. The little league football team that didn’t win a game gets the same trophy as the team that went undefeated and won the league championship. The student that always hands in assignments late gets the same grade as the student that turns them in a day early.

There is no limit to the encouragement of mediocrity these days.

The reward for success have become blurred with the results of not meeting the expectations set by others. Those who don’t win get the same trophy, those who turn in assignments late get the same grades; therefore, the message sent is “why even try to do more when I get the same result just being mediocre?”

Steelers linebacker James Harrison met this phenomenon head-on when his sons received participation trophies.

“I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned,” Harrison said on all of his social media. “I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because you try your best.”

My parents instilled in me the idea that I need to push myself because the world is full of average. They instilled in me the idea that I finish what you start; quitting isn’t an option.

If our society encourages perseverance and excellence, rather than participation trophies and quitting when things get hard, there will be more people striving for their own potential and beyond. In that pursuit of excellence, we will find that we are far more capable of exceeding our own expectations than we believe. It is at this point that people push themselves to be more than mediocre.

Because the world is full of average.