We are taught, from a young age, to exist in the middle.
Everything in moderation. Don’t be a tall poppy, nor a shrinking violet. Good enough is good enough. The middle way, middle-class, mid-tier. That’s where we want to be. Not so big that we get cut down, and not so small that we can’t stand up. Just, kind of, well, average. That’s the goal.
Build a career that’s okay, not amazing, not terrible. Launch a company that’s cruising along, not struggling and not leading. Build relationships that are, well, “solid,” not empty, nor deeply passionate.
The middle—the coasting life—that’s where life is meant to be lived. That’s what we’re told is a “realistic” aspiration. That’s where the good life is.
Except that it’s not. With rare exception, the middle is not the easier, most comfortable place to be, but rather the hardest to sustain, the most stressful and the least rewarding on nearly every level. Sure, it protects you from the anxiety of growth and the stress of survival, but it also ends up feeling like the worst of both worlds.
It is a place we call “The Unfortunate Middle.” It’s there not to be lived in, but rather passed through. Except, for so many, it’s the place we set up shop…for life. Why that happens, and what to do about it is the focus of today’s Good Life Project Riff.
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