Why do people celebrate mediocrity?

I was skimming along facebook and see this guy smiling as he was holding up his MBA degree he just got from a really shytty school. The school ranked 89 out of USNews business school rankings. And to throw more poo on it, it took him 5 years to get. So, apparently, it was a part-time MBA.

Seriously, why? I don't get it. I would be embarrassed.

And no, this guy isn't poor or from some ghetto minority. He is white, privileged, relatively upper middle class, and a somewhat successful person.

Why do people do this?

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Comments (159)

Jun 24, 2016 - 2:22pm


Success is all relative. Also you don't know what outside factors came into play. also why do you care?

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Jun 25, 2016 - 10:32am

None of you know this person like I do as it is quite obvious from the responses. And for your info, it is a very expensive school, and I'll repeat again, this white guy isn't from some poor background.

Imagine passing all 3 levels of the CFA, and then going back to community college and celebrating passing a course calling Introduction to capital markets.

Is that a better context?

Jun 25, 2016 - 3:22pm

No, it's not better context. Why the fuck does his life matter so much to you? You clearly have insecurity issues, and you're an asshole for demeaning someone else's achievement just because it isn't at your standards.

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Jun 25, 2016 - 3:28pm

Sounding a little bit bitter here mate

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.
Jun 26, 2016 - 5:11pm

lol this is all more hilarious. Can't say I'm surprised given how parents today have brainwashed their kids that it's all ok. It's ok to identify as overweight/gay/trans/etc. Just be yourself to be happy. Let's shell out trophies for 6th place, or in this case, a graduate from school ranked 98th.

The result is colossal obesity (including children), massive surge of people going into non-dischargeable debt to get useless degrees from for profit schools, recurring job openings but lack of skilled labor to fill them without going overseas, and a emasculated society of feminine wimps who get their feelings hurt over a gust of wind.

Seriously, keep shooting for the bottom of the barrel you mindless monkeys; less competition for me.

Jun 27, 2016 - 5:55pm

You have invested too much time in this site and gained too many bananas to be trolling like this. Unless you really think you can decide what's right and what's wrong?

I'll take 1 sh*t to go please.

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.
Jun 28, 2016 - 11:11am

This is all just laughable. It's no wonder financial services is in such dismay when you have feeling-sensitive-do-gooders who rely on their heart over their brain. I still have to say this guy isn't some humble guy. He's the ostentatious type. I would not have brought this up if this was some poor black kid born into a broken family in the ghetto who otherwise never got a chance in life.

I know anytime I need a laugh I can count on these zips shuffling paper in the back office boasting on WSO. LMAO!

Jun 28, 2016 - 11:16am

Poor attempt at trolling

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Jun 28, 2016 - 12:55pm

Spread of Mediocrity (Originally Posted: 03/29/2011)

So here's my observation from my own experience and interaction with my fellow peers in the colleges and universities across the U.S. The more people I meet, the more I realize that people you'd describe as having "a good head on his/her shoulders" increasingly become the exception rather than the rule. I know that ambition is inveterate among many of the people on this forum, and I understand that we're unique in our focus and goal-oriented nature specific to our industry. However, with that said, there seems to be a lack of drive within my generation regardless of field of study. I understand everyone hits their stride at different points, but my optimism about America maintaining its role as the world superpower as my generation ages is deteriorating. With students in India and China working their asses off to improve the standard of living of both themselves and their family, will young Americans be able to match this intensity?? What do you guys think??

Jun 28, 2016 - 12:57pm

Its not in your generation, its in every generation.

Par is surprisingly low. You come to realize that as you get older. The average person is literally completely worthless... no drive, no ambition, no vision of what they want their life to be.... no sense of wanting to accomplish something. I know there's going to be stupid fuckin jackass posting "you think you're accomplishing something by building an lbo model or effecting M&A deals? the real people accomplishing things are surgeons and air plane pilots"... but #1 thats a crock of shit. And #2- Im not talking about accomplishment in one's career... I'm talking about the general forward progress of ones life.

It doesn't even have to be career/money-oriented. The number of people who marry get married and have kids (not necessarily in that order) because the person they're with is marginally tolerable speaks volumes about the level of self-respect and dignity your average person has. Its just a level of mediocrity I find disgusting. You're probably in the top 15% of the world in terms of money and the top 1% in terms of opportunity just by virtue of being American or British... and most of these shitstains are perfectly content being worthless

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Jun 28, 2016 - 12:58pm

I don't mean to be rude but 99% of the people I graduated high-school and soon to be college are fcuk ups who settle for gym, bar, and friends. Seriously people...if you don't do me time you will be a washout before you even turn 30.

Jun 28, 2016 - 12:59pm


I hear you there, I hear from my friends about non-stop parties at UConn or the LACs they went to while pursuing an English major or some fluffy business one and maintaining a 2.5. My 20s and early 30s will all be eaten up by my career and I'll have precious little time to start a family, but someone has to make these sacrifices. People on WSO are the proverbial Atlas. We provide the liquidity, allow for the creation of wealth and generally make lives better, the "average" Americans should hope we never shrug. Here's a hint in the PRC, HK and India you are expected to do well and to do whatever it takes, that's why they're winning.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:00pm

The problem isn't just excluded to the US and the UK. All western countries which has come used to our high standard of living has lost most of its drive. I think it was Chris Gardner who said that if you want to become wealthy you should first become poor and homeless to provide you with motivation.

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired you quit when the gorilla is tired" -Robert Strauss
Jun 28, 2016 - 1:03pm

India and China are developing countries. The majority of people in those countries survive on what the normal business guy spends on Sbux for the year. No shit they have more drive and hunger.

Listen, I am all for the USA, but this idea that we suck because we are not china and India completely ignores that we are wealthy and free. Even our poor are better off than most Indians and Chinese.

If you won the super bowl don't you think you would relax a little?

Finally, who gives a shit what other people do. My trends from back home are bums, but I still drink with them. I don't go around sizing people up all the time. We each measure success and life differently. To each their own.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:04pm

Oh my God, I can't agree with that more.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:06pm
India and China are developing countries. The majority of people in those countries survive on what the normal business guy spends on Sbux for the year. No shit they have more drive and hunger.

Listen, I am all for the USA, but this idea that we suck because we are not china and India completely ignores that we are wealthy and free. Even our poor are better off than most Indians and Chinese.

If you won the super bowl don't you think you would relax a little?

Finally, who gives a shit what other people do. My trends from back home are bums, but I still drink with them. I don't go around sizing people up all the time. We each measure success and life differently. To each their own.

You don't keep winning the "Super Bowl" for 70+ straight years by taking a few years off in-between

While I agree that there are different measures of success, most people just don't have a clue or care in the world. Total waste of potential... Enrico Fermi and Bill Ford were too busy watching Sportscenter to get off their asses.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:08pm

Sorry, you can't win the superbowl forever. I date an indian and once they come to the USA and move away from the poverty struggle you see other interests blossom. Engineering is big in china and India not because they love it, but because it is the most practical education for a nation of developing people. You need to be rich to have Sbux all over an you need Sbux to employ the liberal arts grads.

Trust me, once Indian and china become rich like the USA you will see them get comfortable. Humans cannot be in a constant driving mode.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:09pm

In the West, you only see the best students that China and India have. Why are these people hungrier? They're hungrier because they don't have a huge sense of entitlement that some Americans have. I am not saying having some sense of entitlement is bad, but when it is something you live by then something is terribly wrong.

- Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered. - The harder you work, the luckier you become. - I believe in the "Golden Rule": the man with the gold rules.
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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:12pm

Stop clinging to your superiority complex by comparing yourself to people in 3rd world countries that couldn't get an education if their life depended on it. Its a complete bullshit comparison. I could grow up in the ghetto of St. Louis and go to Harvard if I had the mental ability. I can't even count all the people I've met that grew up in Brooklyn tenements, as children of the labor class etc... and went on to receive elite educations and achieve the highest levels of success. Thats what makes this country great, that opportunity. If it was present everywhere, it wouldn't be so unique. Its not present ANYWHERE else, maybe in a few select pockets around the world.

Whats most characteristic of mediocrity is trying to compare yourself to others in an attempt too justify your mediocrity. There's nothing wrong with being mediocre if thats the most you're capable of. What kills me is the sheer laziness/complacency and eagerness to blame other/make excuses for your own shortcomings. I had a friend in HS who was just not smart. He would try as hard as possible and at best get C's. He eventually joined the military... and I feel like he did well for himself, he chose a life path where he'll do well and be able to live a decent lifestyle. I have other friends that barely graduated HS because they're just fuckin losers, had menial BS jobs and eventually joined the military because they didn't know what else to do. They are fuck up losers, IMO. So its about fully realizing your potential, its not about measuring yourself against others... like true losers like to do because you can always find a smellier turd.

India and China have nothing to do with this conversation. Its a completely different dynamic there... for better or for worse. Lets stay focused on the main issue here, which is that our society is lazy, fat, entitled and generally disgusting.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:13pm

The point of Americans becoming complacent with such a high standard of living was much more applicable before this recession in my humble opinion. I thought that after the crisis these past two years, a lot of my peers would have some type of epiphany about how a degree doesn't come close to guarantee an income post-graduation. Seeing millions of Americans lose their jobs should have lit a fire under the asses of my friends, classmates, etc... and I just don't see it.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:14pm

I couldn't agree more with Marchus. Our society is "lazy, fat, and disgusting."

Political correctness and constant access to cheap entertainment are what ruining kids these days. Political correctness makes fat and dumb fucks feel warm and cuddly inside: "it's ok to be fat", "it's ok to be dumb", "it's ok to be wrong", "it's ok to not do homework." No, it's not fucking OK! Kids these days are spoon fed with this shit in high schools. Teachers are afraid to be too hard or too harsh on their students because it'll cost them their jobs. But this is exactly how you make mature teenagers out of little shits.

Cheap entertainment is another killer. Xbox, PS3, Internet, forums, World of Warcraft, those stupid-fucking-useless badges from Call of Duty, etc. seduce young and unprepared minds. Back in the days people had to socialize and play REAL sports to be entertained. Now I can buy a $12.99 subscription to OnLive and spend the entire month playing 20 different video games.

I wish I could blame media (music, movies, TV), but unfortunately media is a reflection of its society.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:16pm

"you can always find a smellier turd"

Wall Street leaders now understand that they made a mistake, one born of their innocent and trusting nature. They trusted ordinary Americans to behave more responsibly than they themselves ever would, and these ordinary Americans betrayed their trust.
Jun 28, 2016 - 1:18pm

^----- obviously the criticisms being made in this thread are notwithstanding your exceptionally high standards

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:19pm

I personally don't give two shits what anyone else does if it doesn't affect me. I do have the belief, nonetheless, that if you don't have goals in life at all stages then life isn't worth living. I understand people don't have the same belief, but I don't go around calling them losers. To each his own.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:21pm

Whoa, is that barb about comparing yourself to china directed at me?

Who made you the line in the sand when it comes to being motivated or not?

Please describe the arbitrary definition of motivated that you are using?

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:22pm

This makes me think about how many shit-bag internet "businesses" are being started right now. I put businesses in quotes because so many of them don't make any money and are essentially over-hyped features, not businesses.

There are a shit-ton of people who are intelligent and hardworking, but instead of putting their talents towards something worthwhile, they're working on some bullshit fad internet app. How many fucking bullshit "companies" do we need with names like "meebo" and "blippy" and "bit.ly" can we possibly have?

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:23pm

People who work are doing just fine. Who gives anyone the right to tell someone working that they are not motivated. Unless you know their background it is simply a baseless statement.

I agree with TX. Mind your own business.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:28pm

By definition, most people are going to be mediocre. If you're not, good for you, go be an Atlas and change the world or whatever. But if you ARE one of the mediocre ones, you can either aspire to things you'll never reach and live your whole life in discontent, or you can accept the fact that you are going to have a humdrum life and be cool with that. Seems like a no-brainer; they are just optimizing given their individual circumstances and talents. Maybe these people are smarter than we are giving them credit for.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:29pm

I think Marcus has made some excellent points in this thread. Mediocrity and success are measured against yourself, not the external world. If you put your best effort toward a clearly defined goal, than you are successful, whether or not that is being a PE partner or an artist.

Finding a vision for your life, developing values, and defining goals becomes difficult amidst all the clutter. Not to mention, societal pressures placed upon us give us a warped perception of success.

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:30pm

People will have to face the consequences of their own decisions, them and only them. Doesn't affect you either way so why worry about it. If everyone didn't go around passing judgement on everyone, this world be be heck of a lot better place to live.

Two amazing quotes from Dale Carnegie:

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Even God doesn't plan to judge a man until the end of his days, why should you and I

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:34pm

At some point you have to just stop caring about what other people do with their lives. It's really draining if you constantly show contempt toward other people. Cliche, but you can always lead a horse to water... Plenty of people live mediocre lives. Think of your neighbors growing up. Unless you lived in an upper-middle/upper or a lower class neighborhood, most of your neighbors didn't work baller jobs, but they got by just fine (unless they declared bankruptcy and foreclosed). Procrastinating is so easy when we have enough technology to hold the attention of every kid with ADHD.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:36pm

India will never be able to compete the way China will given their social caste system that is still in place these days. Someone in a bottom caste will not have the drive to work their way up the ladder in the system because their are inherent social ceilings in place in the country that limit you from moving above your caste.

Meanwhile, in China, the hardest worker in the factory gets promoted to manager and can work his way up.

Not worried about India. Worried about China.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:37pm

Putting the conversation about India and China overtaking the USA aside, at least the lazy hacks out there make us look good. It isn't that hard to stand out in a crowd anymore if the crowd is made up of underachievers.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:38pm

I made tough decision in high school...won't share all of them, but I will share the work related ones. I took a crappy job at 15 (cashier) and did that for two years. Then, while still a senior in high school I got lucky and was offered an internship for a F500 company (did not know anyone at the firm).

Thinking back on it - the hardest choice was forgoing lacrosse and pussy my senior year and missing some bong rips with friends. Now, in my last year of college I can proudly say that I started a shit company that flopped and cost me $2.5K. I also worked with various foreign governments. I'm graduating in three years. And I provided a sales & marketing strategy for a global start up.

Point is I did not go balls out from the age of 14-22. Instead I learned to work hard, lie to people to get them of my back and sell my ideas. Equally as important I try to make my current move better than my last.

It's not sad seeing people living like it's high school. Its natural selection at it's finest for those who strive towards greatness, and NEVER settle for mediocrity.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:42pm
Solidarity, you're giving older generations much more credit than they deserve. The competition they had is nothing compared to what students today. Seriously, ask your parents how many people had internships back then, how many people actually put serious time into studying for the SATs, ...
Look at the amount of time put into extra curricular activities that you did vs. your parents.
Hell, even look at old tests that your school gave in the 70s or 80s. Ours today are a hell of a lot harder.

The amount of competition has increased because the primary education structure is also a lot more egalitarian… back in the day, going to an elite prep school and having the available social and financial resources was absolutely tantamount to success. Do you think Bill Gates would have been nearly as successful if his school didn't have a computer and his mom wasn't involved in a charity with an IBM board member? You had to buy textbooks, calculators, etc… A poor kid couldn't do that. Today, that same poor kid has access to the best educational resource in the history of humanity. Your argument on advent of test prep and increased extracurricular involvement is dubious based on the fact that 1) test scaling has changed since the 50's-60's, and 2) the U.S. has evolved into an education/information/innovation economy. Of course education is harder than it was back in the day. What spurred the meteoric rise of investment banking and leveraged finance in the last 30-40 yrs? Technology. Economic growth. No excuse for being a fucking bum.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:43pm

Look it their will always be two types of people in this world NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE! The first and MUCH more common is the unmotivated average person who makes up 95% of the society we live in and the second and much more rare is the top 5% percent that are highly motivated and want to accomplish something with their lives.

This ratio is the same no matter how many generations you go back and no matter where in the world you go. The actual number of hard working chinese and indian students are much smaller than the media lets you believe. If you still don't believe me just look at the majority of the population in china. Are they highly educated and highly motivated group of people? No. they are mostly uneducated factory workers that just go from one government job to the next. Now I will admit that there are a few very smart and highly motivated students in these countries but isn't it the exact same ratio as it is in this country? Just instead of the unmotivated being forced into another government job like in China, here they are sitting on their ass in a bar somewhere getting drunk with their buddies for the tenth time that week.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:44pm

The competition today is fierce compared to any generation because of the recession and globalization, then again, it's all subjective. There's a lot more opportunity then before since advent of the internet and computers reduced barriers to entry. There so much information out there now on the internet, there's really no reason to be dumb.

The reason Chinese and Indians look smart because they have a billion man team and the smart one get to be recruited to come and play in U.S. Most Chinese who come here, will likely try to stay here since there is greater opportunity here in the U.S. still. Economically, Asia will over take the U.S. in the next two decades since they have the population advantage and thus the brain power.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:48pm

This borders on tautology.

Of course most people are mediocre. Assuming talent, drive, and intelligence are normally distributed, then the big, fat, middle two standard deviations of humanity are mediocre.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:49pm

Why don't you guys grow up a bit before you go around saying other people are failures and losers? As a 20 year old you know literally nothing about what it means to be exceptional, mediocre, or a failure either in your career or elsewhere. Seriously what have you guys accomplished to give you such a sense of entitlement? Most people on this board have done nothing other then have their parents' checks clear at a good college.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:50pm

Monkeys, I feel like this observation has been made about every single new generation since the beginning of time. Everybody's parents have always worried whether their kids are up to the task and can probably point to a million logical reasons why they think so. Heck, look at our parents--our grandparents probably thought, "Oh my goodness--look at all these crazy hippies with their long hair and their LSD! Look at those metalheads with their leather jackets and their band patches! What's the world coming to?" Sure, our parents didn't get everything right. But over time, plenty of them (by no means all) have grown up to become, believe it or not, responsible adults.

Same thing with us. Being that most of us, myself included, are still in school, we have tons and tons of time to create something and prove ourselves. Until then, let's not take ourselves so seriously. As if we're the only generation that has had a whole bunch of problems kicked down to us by our elders? Let's get real guys. We've got work to do.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:51pm

That may be your case BondArb, I paid my own way through a private college and pitched in to help my family including putting a younger sibling through college when my family fell on hard times.

If people are lazy and worthless, I'll call it as I see it. I never claimed to have achieved something great nor do I think I would be able to make that claim if I was the typical Andover-->Harvard-->GS--->KKR that people on here routinely pleasure themselves to.

But the above does not somehow disqualify me from being able to identify lazy and complacent people who makes excuses for their own shortcomings. The vast majority of people are unmotivated and have little to no ambition, and that has nothing to do with them not being in banking or not having gone to an Ivy League school.

Do you honestly disagree with that statement?

Have you ever been to the Container Store? People that work there seem to genuinely love what they do and they actually do their best to be good at it, or so it seems to me. I personally enjoy being in the company of people who take pride in themselves, whether its their career/job or their personal life. I think its human nature, you like being around people that are happy and pleasant.

And I tend to not enjoy being around people who don't take pride in themselves. When I see someone who is visibly unclean, unshaven, has food on their face and clothes and is generally unkempt (not talking about homeless people)... I find it disgusting. When I see someone who is clean cut, well groomed and well clothed... its a pleasure.

Maybe your level of enlightenment has made you indifferent to the two so you can't relate to this view.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:53pm

not to add too much politics into this and realize this applies to the lower class, but does anyone think people are getting lazier because it easier to be lazy? dont want to work, claim "depression" or ADHD and get money from the government, whereas (As far as i know) if you dont work in china, the government says that sucks, and you have to work your ass off for two fish heads and some rice (lots of generalizations, but i think you get the point)

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:54pm

So we went from people being mediocre to judging people based on their appearance?

The situation is the most accomplished guy in the world. He always looks fresh and tight.

I 100% agree with Bondarb. People with no clue spouting off.

Jun 28, 2016 - 1:57pm
So here's my observation from my own experience and interaction with my fellow peers in the colleges and universities across the U.S. The more people I meet, the more I realize that people you'd describe as having "a good head on his/her shoulders" increasingly become the exception rather than the rule. I know that ambition is inveterate among many of the people on this forum, and I understand that we're unique in our focus and goal-oriented nature specific to our industry. However, with that said, there seems to be a lack of drive within my generation regardless of field of study. I understand everyone hits their stride at different points, but my optimism about America maintaining its role as the world superpower as my generation ages is deteriorating. With students in India and China working their asses off to improve the standard of living of both themselves and their family, will young Americans be able to match this intensity?? What do you guys think??

& this thread gets an SB for all the discussion it's generated.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 1:58pm

I don't know about India, but there's plenty of unmotivated people in China.

You all probably just see more ambitious and hard working ones because -
1) Those are the ones more likely to have gotten to the U.S., and the ones you're more likely to come in touch with abroad
2) The population base is THAT much bigger....

I don't accept sacrifices and I don't make them. ... If ever the pleasure of one has to be bought by the pain of the other, there better be no trade at all. A trade by which one gains and the other loses is a fraud.
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:01pm

BondArb-- so its your view that the majority of Americans are ambitious and driven to excel?

Or rather it seems your view is that while the majority of people are unmotivated and lacking ambition to do ANYTHING with a sense of pride, I'm not qualified to say this out loud because I'm 24 years old.

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Jun 28, 2016 - 2:02pm

I don't know if many people will agree with this point but I think some of the reason we see this rise of medocrity is due to the increased individualism of western society. For some people (probably the majority of this forum) this increased individualism is a good thing, they are aspirational, they are more talented than most people so this society is good for them, they are the winners. However for people who are not then alot of the things that they could have worked towards such as family, their local community, their country,their religon etc are no longer things that they will be rewarded/respected/appreciated for , this coupled with a more statist approach to welfare which depersonalises the link between the success of individuals and the help towards the less well off deincentivises the more "medicore" person from trying to acheive things. Why work hard in a crappy job where you have no job security or job satisfaction and the goverment gives you benefits for signing on. In the past for a medicore person you could get a job somewhere maybe as an apprentice, stay with the same company for life, providing for your family and then retiring with a pension now you'd go from "mcjob" to "mcjob" with no notable benefits and little job satisfaction .

So I think maybe the problem comes from a materialistic and individualist free market capitalist system ccoupled with a big goverment statist style welfare system with both removing "medicore" individuals from the incentives to achieve what they can.

Although part of me thinks this is all nostalga for an age that never was and that there's allways been these "Medicore" people.

Heck maybe we just need a big war. We've got a 30s style recession maybe we need a 40s style war to bring back that "Blitz" spirit.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:04pm

Something to the effect of 90% of India can't read or write their own name. I don't think any further discussion is necessary regarding how we stack up against them. What you see brodcasted constantly is the top 0.01%.

That having been said, people my age [outside finance at least] are putting less effort into jobs that don't really generate any real return. This is partly because of the shitty system we are inheriting, and partly because younger people are wasting thier time on the pursuit of pleasure. The work ethic is not what it used to be, but I don't think we're fully utilizing technology as much as we could either.

Eventually, something gives. I look at the millions of Mexican & South American immegrants as the next wave of hard working social climbers. The middle class is fading.

Get busy living
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Jun 28, 2016 - 2:05pm

another issue in w. europe is an anti elitist sentiment. In w. europe you are hated if you do well in school/are rich. This naturally encourages more mediocrity.

Another issue is the "college is the best 4 years of your life maan, hit the bong and get wasted every day" mentality. That statement is true if after hitting the bong for 4 years and studying english lit at the university of bumblefuck, idaho you start working at sbux. This does not mean college shouldn't be lived to its fullest, but the marginal utility of a bong hit is quite low compared to getting a good gpa and good job(no it doesnt have to be banking).

Especially as you get older you will realize this.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:10pm

"The first generation works their fingers to the bone, making things; the next generation goes to college and innovates new ideas; the third generation…snowboards and takes improv classes." - Jack Donaghy

In a personal side note I feel that the spread of tract housing represents the spread of mediocrity better than almost any other social phenomena. People settling on an idea of the american dream instead of actually working to achieve their own dreams. If you are comfortable with the status quo there is no need for change.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:12pm

^^^^ The argument that you should be able to pass judgement on somebody because at some point in the future you may have to "bail them out" is a never-ending argument that can be taken to any level...for example working 100 hour weeks in banking is WAY worse for you then smoking some pot at age 20 in college. Heart disease, obesity, and many other preventable diseases are caused by stress. Therefore your decision to pursue a stressful job will be a burden on society if you dont succeed. Of course you can see the absurdity of this....its an argument used by liberals to promote government intrusion into health care and into other aspects of our lives. This is what happens when people accept that "society" has an obligation to bail people out whether they be bankers or your lazy college buddy.

And just so you guys know, I pulled plenty of bong hits in college, I have been succesful so far in my career (knock on wood), and I would dispute the notion that kicking around with your buddies and doing what you want when you are young is not "the right decision". Believe me, if you are lucky enough to do well in life and have real responsibilities you will look back wistfully to those days (if you ever had them). I would pay good money to have a week back at age 19 when i didnt know a whole lot about finance, had no responsibility that really mattered except maybe a non-office summer job, and could really just enjoy the freedom of being that age. It is something that you truly can never get back once you pass a certain age....if anything I wish I had spent more time just "being young" and less time stressing about my future.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:14pm

if everyone was driven and ambitious, that would become the new "mediocre".

It's normal distribution. majority of people are average driven, select few are either more driven or less driven.

China and India doesn't consist of only the well-educated hard-working people we see in America, just as America doesn't consist of fat toothless people fucking their own relatives, as watching Jerry Springer's show might lead you to believe.

More is good, all is better
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:17pm

The problem is, drive, ambition, and acheivement are not things that can be measured at any fixed point in time. If I was able to take a broad specturm picture of all people ages 18 to 30 and some how get an ambition ranking on that picture it would be wortless. The only way this can be solved is to take thousands of these pictures and compare them to pictures taken from other generations. Over a continual length of time. Then you would have to factor in political and social changes that happened over time. For example you cant say that people 18 to 30 were more ambitious in manufacturing endevors during the early 1900s because it was much easier to start a manufacturing endevor back then. Today with all of the government regualtions it is almost impossible to do so. The government has directed the economy in such a direction that smart people could simply be forced into medicrocy if the current state of affairs doesnt suit their natural tendicies. What I am trying to say is that the situation is extremely complex and has no denifinitve answer.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • 2
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:18pm

One other thing, how does one define mediocre?

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:19pm

It isn't just the US, though we're probably the most flagrant in our satisfaction with mediocrity. It's most countries that have children with comfortable upbringings.

The one child rule and the money pouring into China, has resulted in a lot of Chinese Trust Fund babies.

OP's comment reminded me of this:

It's a Chinese Hip Hop song griping about the satisfaction of today's youth with things mediocrity.
tza-boo-dou roughly translates to close enough.

There are Chinese that work amazingly hard though. Some of the one's I've met came from harsh backgrounds and were thus well motivated, but other were motivated by competition over a large inheritance.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:20pm

Two points to add:

1.) I think this feeling gets blown way out of proportion when you live in NYC and work in finance and are immersed in this shit every day

2.) Does anyone else ever envy the dudes who are content just going to their 9-5 every day and then spend their free time just doing whatever? I have friends who don't really give a shit about making a ton of money and being super successful and, yeah, they have their stresses and issues, but they're also pretty content.

I think I take a mid-way stance between Bondarb and Marcus. The only time I really have a major issue with perceived lazy underachiever types is when they act up and start trouble in bars and shit. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:21pm

good points king, ignorance truly is bliss. I often wish I was just both incredibly dumb and happy go lucky, ud have the perfect life.

Get a 9-5 job, dont care about money, and just chill. Being unambitious certainly leads to more happiness, ambition tends to make people miserable.

This goes onto a deeper point of whether happiness is an end goal in itself.

I also don't mind underachievers, except for those with a sense of entitlement and those that stir up trouble.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:23pm

If you think the US is bad, you should see the UK. When I compare graduates from Universities here to those from the rest of Europe (e.g. Switzerland and France) I'm surprised we even stand a chance.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:25pm

^^^Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!

More is good, all is better
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:26pm

Great article, bravo.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:29pm

Are people on here seriously attacking others for being unambitious? News flash, not everybody gives a fuck about having a prestigious and well-paying job. So what? We need janitors and burger flippers anyways.

I honestly don't give a fuck if some 23-year old smokes weed every day, works at Burger King, plays in some local band, and has a 2.4 GPA at community college. Would I want that guy to be my son? Hell no. But I don't have anything against him just for being unambitious. If he's enjoying life, who the fuck are you to tell him that he needs to change? Unless he's harming others, I don't see the problem here.

Funny how a lot of you guys feel so god-damned important. In the grand scheme of things, your IB and S&T jobs aren't really as useful to humanity as your paychecks might have you to believe. Do I think that more people should be ambitious? Yeah. But we're all human, and different people have different priorities.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:30pm

True maturity is when you can look a person in the eye and judge him against by his efforts and not by your prejudice. The group-think here is absolutely amazing. I understand that we all work insane hours to justify our existence and efforts. With that said, who are you to judge someone else? Get outside this insular environment of stroking each other and thumping prestige and look at the real world. It is incredible that you made it here so far, but don't discount the life's advantages, implicitly or explicitly, have been provided, not to mention your own dedication and efforts.

Sorry to say but each one of you are average in an above-average crowd. Should we be defaming you because you couldn't reach of the apex of what society or culture says it is. Or should we judge you by your own principles and how you direct your priorities. If you have to justify your existence by putting down others, it's a weakness of moral courage and maturity. Each one of you guys have been privileged with more than the average person in the United States. Now you can call everyone out or help build eachother up. Sorry to say but you saying 'thank you' to the person across the counter serving you will contribute far more to society than your modeling and strategic advice. Sorry guys. Truth hurts both ways.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:43pm

Happened to re-read this thread, about 18 months after I had posted in it. Having read it over again, I think Bondarb, TNA, and TXjustin are by far the most on point.

There is a difference between ambition and living a good life. You can be a good person and live a good life without striving to be some sort of super boss rich dude. Plenty of people live good, responsible lives without making a ton of money. It all depends on what you value. No need to knock others if they live responsibly, take care of themselves, and value their leisure time over being super ambitious.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:46pm

I'm not sure why America is getting so much hate. Look at Greece -- they partied and had fun for years and are now dragging down a whole continent; Germany is supporting the entire EU. The larger role of government certainly isn't helping anywhere: why work if you can live on welfare and party it up from generation to generation?

Look at the "stars" today -- they're famous for doing drugs, drinking, and being talentless. Kids look up to these bozos and think that if they live the same way, they have it made. Working hard isn't "cool" anymore, yet everyone is looking for quick hacks to make up for their lack of mental prowess and skills. No one's ever told anyone in the last few years that the world doesn't work that way: you can't get into Harvard, McKinsey, or what have you after bumming around and not putting forth any effort. Yet people think they deserve those perks via birthright. In their world, there are no rules or basic forms of etiquette. Just "be yourself" and "express your creativity."

In the Soviet Union, those who voluntarily didn't work (and weren't stay at home moms or something) were put in jail. Now, being an unemployed stay at home dad is what some guys dream of! Disgusting. The worst part is, this is all universal.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:47pm

Are you mediocre? (Originally Posted: 12/07/2010)

Few years back, I mentioned to my best friend that "The thing I am afraid of most is being mediocre". However, as I become more mature (some will say soft) the facts I see and know worsen my fear.

Despite all our big dreams of us don't make it where we wanted to. That's why we have pyramid structure. Otherwise 10% of people won't control more than 50% of the wealth (or whatever statistic that is).

Following link of movie Casino Jack (Kevin Spacey) tends to reflect the same.

How may of you think this is a fact although you don't like to accept it openly? If this is the case, what's the point in slogging our tails off? We think we are analytical but we conveniently ignore some of the statistics I mentioned earlier and we think that we would be the one to beat the odds and we will be the exception.

Would like to hear your opinions and reasons behind following stereotypical paths (e.g. IB PE GOD), doing mind numbing work in your best years a with the hope of making it big* (which you don't want to admit but is highly unlikely)?

*Not the 400K wall street stiff big but more like a 50-100M big - a player

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:48pm

This discussion comes up more often than you think.

A couple thoughts:

On the materialism front, almost everyone on this forum can expect a mediocre material life. Someone will always be richer than them. Sure, a few of us might make it to the high seven, maybe eight figures of net worth, but in the grand scheme of things, we've acquired an insignificant fraction of Ozmandias's wealth. So yes, it's highly likely that nearly everyone on this forum will be mediocre.

But having mediocre wealth doesn't mean having a mediocre life. I have my own religious views, but on a secular forum, I feel it's best to take an existential approach. One isn't mediocre because he leaves behind mediocre toys when he dies. One is mediocre because he lives life entirely in pursuit of material wealth rather than the life he was meant to live.

For me at least, finance is a means to an end and not an end in and of itself.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:49pm

Frankly, for me, money is just a means to an end. I have no intentions of trying to go for a megafund (although who knows, maybe in a year Ill change my mind). I want to make enough money so that I am financially secure and can enjoy the other aspects of life (wife, family, friends). Of course, when I say financially secure I don't mean a mediocre $100k/yr job (which the rest of society considers fairly successful, I think). I'm hoping to be earning around $500k/yr 10-15 years after I get into whatever business I find myself in. I wouldn't mind earning more and I will definitely strive to, but I feel that I can maintain a job working 50-60 hours a week (occasionally more) and still have a fulfilling life outside it with that amount. That's just me, mediocrity is different for everyone

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Jun 28, 2016 - 2:50pm

As a preface to this I am 22 years old and still in college. So take this worth a grain of salt if you feel so inclined.

I, for one, hope that I will have the intestinal fortitude when I am in the later stages of my life to not base a feeling of mediocrity, or success for that matter, on a particular number or net worth.

Rather, I would like to believe that I base my success or mediocrity on whether I did the best I could EVERYDAY of my life to give my family and myself the best life I possibly could. Meaning that I never settled and kept moving forward for better things, whether that be material, relationships, career or whatever.

That youtube clip struck me in one huge way. Many people do sit and say "I COULD do that" when talking about politicians and movie stars and athletes. But they don't even try for whatever reason. That in my mind is mediocrity.

Whatever I accomplish in life or do not accomplish, the only way I will feel mediocre is if, on my deathbed, I have glaring regrets about my life.


Of course, I would just buy in scales.


See my WSO Blog | my AMA

  • 2
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:52pm

Woah. Haven't heard of either of those movies.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:53pm

in the presence of the right company, we're all a bit mediocre, aren't we?

click the link and enter your annual salary to get an idea of how mediocre you really are:


Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?
  • 1
Jun 28, 2016 - 2:56pm

Some nice comments there. One of the point that I am trying to make is what is the "incremental rate of return or additional value that one gets from giving up a regular job 40-50 hrs/week with a decent pay 60-90K and a decent work life balance to 80-100 hes/week let's say 200K and most shitty stressed out lifestyle? Why waste valuable years of youth and life when you know you will likely hit a celling? Why mess us our life outside work for that extra buck and (deceiving) feeling of superhuman.

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:57pm

My dad had an old saying:

"Winter is coming. You should be saving acorns, not eating them."

Let's face it. As much as we like to complain, if you can get a job here in the US that lets you earn $25/hour- let alone $50+/hour, you've got it pretty good. Why work only 40 hours/week at it when you might only be able to earn the equivalent of $15/hour when you're fifty?

Jun 28, 2016 - 2:59pm

mas1987, 500k a year will not be obtained in ordinary industry unless you are the CEO, CFO or COO of a decent sized company. This is assuming you mean 500k in todays standards, not 500k in 30 years. So unless you plan on obtaining a solid postion at a good financial institution, becoming an entrepeneur, or you plan on getting a medical/law degree, i don't see the logic in making 500k a year. Not to mention 100k a year is nothing to stick your nose up at (provided you don't live in NYC)..... just my 2 cents.

Jun 28, 2016 - 3:00pm

^^^ Not sure frog. Hotshot geologists and engineers at oil companies can make $500K about 20 years into their careers. (CC: 1976 King Kong) IMHO, by discovering oil, they create 100x more value for the economy than most folks at I-banks and probably deserve double or triple that.

Actuaries, engineers, lawyers, and surgeons all can turn out the same amount of money. It's just that there's not as many industries where everyone is getting rich like investment banking.

Jun 28, 2016 - 3:01pm

IlliniProgrammer, I am talking in general. These are not your everday geologists or engineers, but rather exceptionally smart and driven individuals. I am sure there are a few people in every field that make 500k, but in the masses you can't anticipate making 500k a year as a geologist or engineer. If this were the case, we would all be geologists and give up the rat race.

Jun 28, 2016 - 3:04pm

How is working incrediblly hard not being driven or motivated.... Your driven by something (fear, money, prestige, power) to work that hard, or else you wouldn't be doing it.

Definition of ambition- having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal. You say you are driven by fear, yet you desire a private jet and a 60 acre farm.... You fear not being crazy rich, otherwise known as greed, which you "eagerly desire", therefore, you are ambitious. Your above statement is just one long contradiction.

Jun 28, 2016 - 3:08pm

Shoot for the stars and maybe you will end up on the moon.

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions. -Niccolo Machiavelli
  • 1
Feb 1, 2019 - 3:04pm

Why do people celebrate mediocrity?? (Originally Posted: 04/20/2018)

I was skimming along facebook and see this guy smiling as he was holding up his MBA degree he just got from a really sh*tty school. Rank 89 out of USNews business school rankings. And to throw more poo on it, it took him 5 years to get. So apparently it was a part-time MBA.

Seriously, why? I don't get it. I would be so embarrassed.

And no, this guy isn't poor or from some ghetto minority. He is a relatively upper class entitled white person.

Why do people do this?

Feb 1, 2019 - 3:05pm

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Feb 1, 2019 - 3:09pm

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Feb 1, 2019 - 3:11pm

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