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The Tragedy of Selling Yourself Short We can never be certain we will achieve our lofty ambitions but we are sure to regret it if we never try.

By Peter Voogd Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In a world filled with BS, sometimes the things you don't want to hear are the things you need to hear the most.

The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short, settling for far less than they are truly capable of. The truth is we're all meant to thrive. We came into this world with more talents and abilities than most of us ever use. Our potential is only drawn from us when we are focused on our strengths, and embrace who we really are. As you grow you realize most people are oblivious to the turmoil in our society and their lack of freedom.

There is nothing worse than living a life somebody else designed for you. The system is designed so the majority fail, which is exactly what they are doing. Enough is enough. Here are the five tragedies of living a mediocre life.

1. Guaranteed regret.

"The two most important days in a person's life are the day they were born, and the day they find out why." John Maxwell

The number one regret from people on their death beds is that they settled for what others expected of them because they were never brave enough to pursue their dreams. When they look back at their lives, what stood out the most was their unreached goals and aspirations. They are often haunted by decisions that resulted in the lives they ended up with.

The likelihood of regret is drastically increased when you're trying to fit into others expectations of you. The more you settle, the more regret you will eventually have.

Action Step: Do something daily that gets you closer to your dreams, not someone else's.

Related: Why Entrepreneurs Should Stop Celebrating the 60-Hour Workweek

2. Diminished creativity.

From kindergarten to college we are told how to think, what to memorize, and how to fit in. A major cause of mediocrity is that most people haven't had an original thought for years.

You get scolded and reprimanded when you stand out, but entrepreneurship is the exact opposite. The peace of mind from knowing you are working towards your vision unlocks creativity. To thrive you must constantly expand your awareness, express your creative genius, and improve yourself daily. The greatest contribution you will make to the world is becoming the best version of yourself, which won't happen if you're trying to fit in.

Action Steps: Start thinking more intelligently about your future. Schedule blocks of time for your mind to wander.

Related: How You're Killing Your Own Creativity (Infographic)

3. Minimal experiences.

Ultimately, life is an adventure. Experiences and memories are what separate the elite lives from the mediocre. World class people are constantly creating memorable experiences.

What's the point of doing something if you're not having fun, and it doesn't elevate your emotional frequency? Why not take a mini adventure (half-day/weekend) every five to seven? This shakes you out of any complacency, which is the worst thing on earth. Build out your adventures at the beginning of the year, and make sure you always have trips planned for your future.

According to, 76 percent of our society is currently living paycheck to paycheck. It's tough to create exceptional experiences with minimal pay. Money does matter.

Action steps: Go explore and have fun. Get those creative juices flowing. You will be surprised how motivating it is to just get out.

Related: How a Focus on the Triple Bottom Line Is Captivating Young Workers (Infographic)

4. Toxic relationships.

Mediocrity loves mediocrity, and misery really does love company. There are way too many haters, bullshitters, and quitters hating on go-getters these days. When you stay away from mediocrity and toxic people it makes an immediate difference in your personal energy, peace of mind, and motivation level.

Don't hang on to those who complain, moan, play victim, and continue settling for less than they are capable of. It's your job to make sure your past is brighter than your future, and the people you surround yourself with believe in you, encourage you, and raise your standards.

Grant Cardone reminded me a couple weeks ago that "if you still have all the same friends you had in high school you probably haven't grown very much." Ouch. If you're moving closer to your dreams, while most are moving towards mediocrity, you're bound to run into haters.

Action steps: Re-evaluate the top five people you're around the most, and limit time or get rid of those who don't 100 percent support your vision.

Related: Stop Spending Time With Toxic People

5. A mediocre legacy.

"The wealthiest place on the planet is the cemetery, because it's filled with brilliant ideas and potential... all wasted.''

Tony Robbins

The worst of them all. You leave a trail of mediocrity behind you. You rarely see a legendary entrepreneur who had mediocre parents, unless they found a great mentor along the way.

At some point you must realize it's not about just you, it's about those you inspire, those who look up to you, and those counting on you. Seventy-one percent of people hate what they do and are actively disengaged at work. If you don't like what you do even 1 percent it's time to step up and make some changes. The more you settle, the more you regret. You only get this life ONCE, so please don't spend it doing things you hate. You are creating your legacy with every text, every word, tweet and action.

Action step: Be a role model to those who look up to you.

While you still have a lot of years to live, be sure to make some time for reaching your dreams. Start working toward your goals now. Don't keep putting things off until it's too late. Tell yourself each day that now matters. Be intentional with your life because that's when you'll feel the most alive, the most resourceful, and the most creative.

The more you conform to society and others expectations, the higher chance of regret. You must consciously choose a new self image and life. Fight to forge it into existence by consistently aligning your thoughts and behaviors to make it so.

Related: Be a Role Model, Not a Dictator

Peter Voogd

Leading Authority for Young Entrepreneurs

Peter Voogd is the author of the best selling book 6 Months to 6 Figures, as well as the founder of The Game Changers Academy. He's a leading authority on Gen y leadership who has trainedand inspired well over 4,500 entrepreneurs with his true story of going from dead broke to a six figure income within six months. His podcasts, videos, websites and social media reaches more than 200,000 people monthly.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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