The Rookie Cycle

I've noticed familiarity can foster complacency, and complacency can perpetuate mediocrity; then mediocrity can suck the life right out of your soul.

"What can I do to fight off complacency and mediocrity?"

If you're complacent, you've lost your passion and excitement. You're probably bored. 

"How do I remedy boredom?"

Find something to do. If you don't like what you're doing, do something else. Once you find something else to do that you're passionate about, you'll do it well; and that will eliminate mediocrity. Two birds--one stone.

But finding something else to do is not an easy task. And even if you find it, starting a new thing is hard because making progress or transitioning means being humbled.

Let's call it the "rookie cycle."

It begins in childhood. All your pre-school buddies look up to you because you're in kindergarten! You start reading and doing addition, and you seem to them to be almost supernatural. Then you graduate kindergarten and head to grade school--petrifying. Kids are bigger and smarter than you, and now you're a peon. First graders are little thumb-suckers, and you feel much smaller than you did in kindergarten.

You flew through grade school and 5th or 6th grade (depending on your school) has you at the top of the food chain again. You're large-and-in-charge and all your pre-pubescent friends are amazed at how tall and articulate you've become. Then you go to middle school--humility ensues.

This cycle continues with each progressive step toward whatever your goal is. You enter middle school as a dweeb and leave a legend. You enter high school as a nobody and graduate with a honors and accolades. You enter college as a clueless wandering sheep that mostly follows the herd for directions, but you graduate with visions of changing the world.

Some might find this process discouraging, but I find it invigorating. Each step in life offers a new opportunity to be humbled, to learn, to advance, to conquer, and to progress.

Each of these cycles in my life has taught me new things. Most importantly, it has taught me to view myself properly. I am not as fantastic as my ego tells me I am. I am not Captain Awesome at everything; if I look around, I will find ten thousand things I don't understand or know how to do. This is what being a rookie teaches you--to shut your mouth, listen, and learn.

Perhaps you're facing a transition or a change--a challenging leap into a new frontier of your life. It can be scary, but always consider your challenges as opportunities to be humbled, to learn new things, and to push forward.

Be willing to become a rookie again.

Image credits:
New guy name tag from
Nerdy kid image from
Probie hat image from

1 comment:

  1. Well said Dan! Rings so true for all of us when beginning a new job or new stage in our lives!