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17 Examples of Mediocrity

 , September 23, 2019 updated on April 15, 2022
Mediocrity is a lack of angst. This is associated with acceptance of the uninspiring as good enough. The following are illustrative examples.


The prioritization of comfort such as rich food or a large automobile.


A tendency to always choose the most convenient product, service, process and strategy.


Generally speaking, it is easier to convince yourself that things are great than to actually make them great.

Sour Grapes

The convenient assumption that things that are beyond your reach aren't worth having. Based on a myth about a fox who sees grapes that are out of his reach so he assumes they must be sour.

Risk Reduction

An obsession with risk reduction, particular concerning dread risks in areas such as safety and security.


Schadenfreude is a delight in the failures and misfortunes of others. This may make it easier to accept the uninspiring by delighting that things are worse for someone else.

Status Quo

Defense of the status quo and resistance to change.

Conflict Avoidance

The prioritization of group harmony. For example, groupthink whereby people don't express what they really think for fear of social criticism.

Competition Avoidance

A fear of competition and the pursuit of systems that suppress competition.


Systems and culture that prioritize the group over the individual. This benefits the mediocre as it prevents passionate, inspired, energetic, talented or angst-filled individuals from getting ahead. The mediocre may punish any sign of individualism.


The pursuit of mere happiness over self-fulfillment. For example, an individual who is content to be fed and entertained.


The belief that individuals are helpless victims of society or circumstances such that they lack the agency to define their own life. This can be used as an excuse as anyone who lacks agency is blameless for their own life.

Not My Problem

Viewing the problems of the world with indifference or having empathy for problems but feeling it's not your job to fix things.

Distrust of Freedom

A tendency to want every aspect of life to be carefully controlled with predefined processes.

Celebration of Mediocrity

The glorification of mediocrity and vilification of those who stand out above the crowd in some way. For example, the Japanese proverb "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down."

Creeping Normality

Acceptance of negative change as long as it happens slowly. For example, accepting very high rates of taxation because taxes were increased slowly over many decades.


In a society with high mediocrity, the state may control every aspect of life such that the population are treated as children. This essentially benefits the mediocre at the cost of anyone who would prefer to have freedom.

Related Quotes

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you'll suck forever.
~ Brian Wilson
Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.
~ Albert Camus
Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top.
~ Ayn Rand
Everyone, either from modesty or egotism, hides away the best and most delicate of his soul’s possessions; to gain the esteem of others, we must only ever show our ugliest sides; this is how we keep ourselves on the common level
~ Gustave Flaubert, November
The only sin is mediocrity.
~ Martha Graham
In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.
~ Robert G. Ingersoll
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
~ Joseph Heller, Catch-22
You'd had one serious love relationship in your life and it had ended in tragedy, and the tragedy had broken something inside you. But instead of trying to repair the broken place, or at least really stop and look at it, you skated and joked. You had friends, you were a decent citizen. You hurt no one. And your life was somehow just about half of what it could be.”
~ Roland Merullo, A Little Love Story
Confidence is the prize given to the mediocre.
~ Robert Hughes
The mediocre masses make very few demands of the mediocrities of a higher order, submitting stupidly and cheerfully to their guidance”
~ Alfred de Vigny, Stello
The highest level than can be reached by a mediocre but experienced mind is a talent for uncovering the weaknesses of those greater than itself.
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
I'd made it back to the land of the living. No matter how boring or mediocre a world it might be, this was it.
~ Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase
If any of you have a desire to be mediocre, you will probably find that you have already achieved your ambition.
~ Hugh B. Brown
There is an admirable fact about the psychology of France: she knows no half measures, loathsome or sublime, she forges the thought and the beauty of a world or of a dung heap; her destiny is never to be mediocre.
― Josephin Peladan
There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting, public speaking.
~ Jean de la Bruyere
Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.
~ Margot Fonteyn
The present reeks of mediocrity and the atom bomb.
~ Rene Magritte
There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.
~ Victor Hugo
Mechanization best serves mediocrity.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite.
~ Paul Gauguin
Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.
~ Fulton J. Sheen
Mediocrity never goes away - but neither, I hope, do those who are willing to challenge it.
~ Milos Forman


Mediocrity is not a lack of talent but rather the state of being satisfied with a lack of talent. That is to say, that anyone who is pushing hard to change isn't mediocre.
Overview: Mediocrity
Definition (1)
A lack of angst.
Definition (2)
Easy acceptance of the uninspiring or bleak.
Definition (3)
A lack of concern about the great questions and challenges of life due to easy satisfaction with a comfortable, convenient, safe and entertaining existence.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about mediocrity.
Creeping Normality
Dread Risks
Group Harmony
Hygiene Factors
Outrun The Bear
Quiet Quitting
Risk Reduction
Sour Grapes
Status Quo
Toxic Positivity
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