In your lifetime you’ll read some brilliant books and hear some amazing talks, have some life-changing conversations.
You’ll read and hear more decent, solid books and talks, and have (I hope) a lot of good conversations.
And far more often you’ll come across books, talks, films, music, people which seem to have nothing to say to you.
Let’s face it: half of your life is below average.
So what to do? It makes sense to seek out the brilliant and avoid the mediocre, or at least, to rest in the knowledge that mediocrity is abundant and will have no trouble seeking you out.*
But there’s a risk, when you’re stuck as the audience of something or someone less than inspiring that you’ll dismiss it out of hand, or find yourself resenting the absence of greatness – that is, resenting what is normal.
It’s more productive (and kinder, and more realistic) to look for what is there: “How does this echo my experience?” “What resonates with what I’ve been learning?” “How might this help me understand someone else?” You can turn sitting through the below average into panning for gold, a hunt for an elusive but beautiful quarry.
And likewise when you’re writing or speaking, it will serve more of your audience to come away from your one-single-idea-ruthlessly-honed-and-repeated presentational style and to ask what seeds you’re be planting today that might fall and take root unnoticed, emerging later to heave up concrete paths, blossom and bear fruit.
*That is, when we’re not too busy ourselves as a source of it