It sucks..it is one of the worst feelings knowing that no matter what you do or how hard you try, you will never escape the valley of mediocrity. You are good, but never among the best. And no matter how hard you try, the stars never align in your favor. You cannot get that essential nugget of knowledge or connection or other boost to leave the valley. How do you cope with this. You see or probably know people who are way ahead of you professionally or get that big windfall and you just ask yourself why couldn’t it be me or why do these opportunities keep passing me by.
Two of the most important skills in life are learning how to fail and coping with mediocrity. Three decades of ‘snowflake culture’ have inflated the expectations and perceived self-worth of too many young and even middle-aged people. Jordan Peterson talks about life being full of suffering. Maybe that is a tad pessimistic, but there is a lot of failure and disappointment. The popularity of his lectures and enduring appeal by the very demographic who have also been indoctrinated by the cult of self-esteem, shows a sort of cognitive dissonance. Millennials and gen-z want to believe they are unique and special, yet turn to Dr. Peterson because being special, in and of itself, is useless; what people also need is guidance and skills.
Comparing yourself to others is usually socially frowned upon, but one cannot help but to notice if it is someone you know or knew. Do things get better; unusually not [conservative have been voicing concerns about immigration, for decades, to no avail, for example], but you do develop better coping mechanisms. Although ‘copes’ have become an internet meme of sorts and an object of ridicule, it is not like you can impose your will on reality, hence coping is the only option.
Escaping the valley requires knowledge, and although cliched, the expression ‘knowledge is power’ is as close to truth as one can find outside of the axioms of math and the empiricism of the sciences. But not knowledge as in trivia or history–but rather specific, applicable, technical knowledge that illuminates a pathway. Consider the number ‘7000’. I made some money many years ago because this value was presumably hard-coded into a script, which by knowing this specific value could be used to my advantage. Stuff like that…very specific knowledge. Specialists will always beat generalists, as far as success is concerned. Specialists in medicine, for example, make more than physicians. Nurses have very broad but shallow knowledge, and consequently earn the least of all.
Reading biographies and business books as guys like Tai Lopez advise, will not pull you out of the valley. Sure, you will know more, but it won’t be the domain-specific, precise type of knowledge that leads to appreciable success and career success. Bill Gates attributes his success to his book-a-week reading habit, not the confluence of factors, some of those those being luck, a high IQ, and ruthlessness, that worked in his favor. In the early 70s there were few books about microcomputers or coding, so Gates had to seek that knowledge on his own though experience and connections.