I have always been wary and afraid of being tagged or labeled as mediocre. At work, in my career, as a professional, and in my personal life, I have always avoided being contented with “Puede na yan.” And I kinda looked down on people who could live with and be contented with “Puede na yan.”
From my early years in the seminary, Fr. David drilled into our minds never to settle for mediocrity. He would always quote us this scripture passage: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” And this has really stuck in my head.
So, I have always striven for excellence, to be the best I can be, to never settle for “Puede na.’ And it has worked out for me. Growing up in a small town in Pampanga, I never imagined how far in life I could go. But after being exposed to this questing for excellence, and the standard of being the best I can be, I discovered many things I could do well. And for that training and formation, I am grateful.
But there are also many things I could have done but did not because I was afraid I couldn’t do it in an excellent manner, that I could only come up with mediocre results. As time went by, this questing for excellence led me to believe that everything I do must be heroic, or life-changing, or pushing the limits, or breaking new grounds. After a while, it got truly exhausting.
Why can’t it just be “Puede na!” instead of always going for “Panalo“? Why does everything I have to do be heroic or great or jaw-dropping, or just simply be delightfully different? Why can’t if just be routine, or ordinary, or even just simply a repetition of what I have been doing in the past?
A friend shared me this thought today: it is not that there is rampant evil in this world; or, that there are a lot of bad people (for man by nature is good, having been created in God’s image). Rather, there are few good people who oppose evil and few who do good deeds.
We often want to do good deeds that are heroic, daring, audacious. But it is the small ordinary acts of kindness, the random simple acts of goodness that will ultimately make the difference. Let the mediocre, ordinary good things we do from day to day be our key to changing our world.