Bullish Life: You Know What I Find Inspiring? Mediocrity.


Jennifer Dziura writes career and life advice weekly on TheGloss. Here is an archive, and here is an archive of Bullish columns from our sister site TheGrindstone.

I’ve always been inspired by people who really give it the whole 65%.

I am not inspired by Olympic figure skating to pick up a pair of skates and give it a whirl. The gap between where I am now (I can usually skate in a large circle with other skaters at the ice rink) and where they are (spinning! flying! getting spun around by a spinning guy!) is unfathomably large, and watching the Olympics on TV is plenty fun enough.

I can stand back and appreciate how much effort it took to get to the point where executing a quadruple jump looks easy and natural and fun. Before that, it was probably hell getting to the triple jump. Sometime in childhood, there was just the jump itself. ALL HARD. And now so pretty! Those skaters are really giving it 100%.

In college, I did some part-time work rigging lights in a theater. One perk of the job was free tickets to shows. I was usually too busy to attend, but the name of one particular show caught my eye. It was a monologue I’ll call, “How I Failed Out of Physics — And Learned About Gravity.”

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    • Kim

      yes. this article was awesome! congratulations on your successful GRE book!

    • ZanBrody

      This was a great article and quite applicable to real life.

      When I was younger I actually used to be jealous of people who could put in 65%, because I thought it was a strategic method of saving energy for other areas of their lives. For example, as a part-time barista in my teens I made it my goal to be THE BEST BARISTA EVER while many of my co-workers basically phoned it in and put in the absolute minimum amount of work to not get fired. I thought this meant they were saving all their “hard work” energy up for school and other endeavors. It turns out those types of people actually put in 65 percent across the board in life.

      I’m a 100 percent-er. Despite many attempts, I now accept I can’t stop myself. Part-time/half ass does not work for me. This means I can take on less things, but the pay off is bigger. Being THE BEST BARISTA EVER meant I got a promotion to store manager in my early twenties and I made pretty decent money. Most importantly, I got to learn every aspect of running a small business at a super young age. Also, the experience puffed up my resume enough to get my foot in the door to start working in Healthcare Administration, where I thrived for a long time.

    • Miriam Wells

      Hahahaa – Comic Sans, you’re right on the money with that one. Because it ruins everything! This cracks me up: http://comicsansruinseverything.tumblr.com/

      Though, as a former university tutor, I’d probably give any essay typed out in Comic Sans less than 65% on principle.

    • Sid

      So true.

      I like to go one step further and hunt out documentaries about deliberately stupid people, so that I can feel better about my own sometimes dubious mental aptitude. This is why Jerry Springer, TOWIE and Eastenders were invented.

      In fact, you can do this for any area of life you are feeling insecure about. Put on 2lb? No worries! Here’s a 40 stone stripper discussing the virtues of obesity! Boyfriend just dumped you? Here’s a show about serial killers to remind you why relationships can be dangerous!

      TV is a wonderful thing when used correctly.

      Also, love your blog – you are keeping me sane right now!

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