Sunday, December 01, 2013

Breaking Away from Mediocrity

"These are mediocre times, Mrs. Dunn. People are starting to lose hope. It's hard for many to believe there are extraordinary things inside themselves as well as others.” – Quote from the movie, “Unbreakable”.

I see and hear lots of artists, songwriters, and creative people every week. You would imagine I’d run into really amazing talent, and also really bad. The truth is the majority is just mediocre. Back home these people are thought of as exemplary, probably because they have the courage to try anything at all. They stand out because they stand up. But real excellence is more than just having some talent in the midst of no talent.

The funny thing is, when these artists sing or seek comment on their songs or talents, they are wanting to know if they are excellent. They want to be told that they are extraordinary.

The trouble is, most artists and songwriters are only following a preset path to making music that they have seen on TV or online, heard on the radio, or seen locally by someone who has come before them.

Friends and family celebrate this talent, as well they should. Sometimes these accolades are deserved, but other times they are given just to encourage and out of love. They are showered with well wishes, but also told to keep their feet on the ground. This doesn’t help at all.

“Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

In fact, most people around you are more comfortable if you remain mediocre. In fact, many of you have probably already experienced the jealousy of those who are close to you, when you begin to show inklings of talent.

Excellence is not something everyone is comfortable with, which is why mediocrity is much better received, especially on the local level.

“Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.” - Blaise Pascal

The problem is that mediocre begets mediocre. You never get to extraordinary if you don’t work with, study with, and hang with people who can challenge you, and grow you. It’s why you learn from those teachers who are very smart and talented. It’s how musicians grow when talking to and being around other skilled musicians.

One of the reasons we moved our business to Nashville years ago was to be closer to the amazing, talented folks here. I knew that in order to grow and learn, I had to be around that next level of experience, wisdom, and musicianship. And it’s paid off for the artists and songwriters we work with as well.

Ask any artist or writer if they learned and became better once working on their music here and they will answer with a resounding “YES!” Why? It’s because most likely they have exhausted the creative roads in their area. They have sought out local advice, and knocked their heads against the wall for years. Sound familiar?

“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.” - Warren G. Bennis

Maybe it’s time for you to strike out in search of excellence, and leave the land of the ordinary.

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is president of Creative Soul, a Christian music company that only seeks to help music ministries from around the world become excellent and proclaim the most excellent news that ever existed: That Jesus Christ is Born! Ready to leave mediocrity behind? Check out

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About the Author

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at