When Society Pushes You To Be Mediocre

Alesha Peterson
17 min readDec 27, 2020


Why friends and family keep pushing you down the same traditional path they did, even though they are unhappy!

Why do family and friends always nag about getting a “stable” job or getting married and buying a house? When you tell them that you want to take a different path, why is it 99.99999 met with hesitation and

Soooooo why do you want to do something like that?

Why do our loved ones always crinkle their noses in disgust when they hear you’re trying something new?

Why a lot of our family and friends took the traditional road to life. And then, even though they’re unhappy, they push us to make the same decisions they did!

P.S. The very same people who harangue you about all the things you “need” to do are often the SAME people who are buried in debt (meaning college, credit, mortgage debt) whose idea of fun is 2.5 beers every single weekend, same as last weekend.


I’ve written several articles about this very topic before. An old Ramit email and this article made me want to add another one to my growing collection.

I made that list long enough. At this point I made it clear that the traditional route is not for me.

Before we talk about why our loved ones push us into the traditional route so much, let’s talk about the “stable job."

Let’s think about it for a second. Is the path that we are constantly pushed towards the safer and more stable path? Let’s analyze here.

What a real job is in society’s eyes (and what I was badgered about my entire life).

The 8-hour work day was a byproduct of the industrial revolution. Making widgets in a factory was not cognitively demanding or deep work. So, an assembly line that maximized production and having somebody work as long as they could without physical harm made sense. To support this, we built an education system in which people were conditioned into an 8-hour day. Since school ended at 3, extracurricular activities were added so people would learn to be in one place from 9am to 5pm. But the industrial revolution ended more than 50 years ago. -Srinivas Rao

>A good job involves getting up a certain time every day, waiting in traffic to get to work, driving the same route.

>A good job is punching a time clock.

>a paycheck every two weeks >benefits (sick vacation leave, health insurance, 401k, retirement plans, social security)

>Sometimes, you will need to get 2 to 3 jobs because many times 1 job will not earn you enough money.

>Did I miss something that I need to add to this list?

If the job doesn’t check the marks of the following, it’s not considered a “good and safe job” in the eyes of society. If it doesn’t come benefits or a regular paycheck, it’s seen as weird and unstable.

Or worst, they consider a side hustle/creative endeavor a phrase that a person will eventually get over. Without considering the fact that there’s many people that have turned creative ideas and hustles into successes.

Many times, I see people having an extra workload and having to work into the night and on weekends to catch up. As a creative, you also have to put in this extra work. Heard of artists recording overnight in a recording session? Or writers cranking out drafts of their books for hours on end? Why is creative’s work considered less important because you don’t have an employer? Work is work, income is income. No matter what it looks like to someone, even if someone doesn’t understand it or doesn’t fit the 9 to 5 structure. The great news is it’s up to you to choose which path you want to take.

Regardless if we like it or not, technology will make some jobs obsolete. Jobs that we had in the past will be automated. Have you been hearing the stories about driver-less cars and robots working instead of humans? Computers and robots can perform physical activities and duties more cheaply than humans (on top of that less attitude lol). For an employer who wants to save money and deal with less drama, politics, backstabbing or antics, robots and computers are a great alternative, just keeping it real with you. Social security is also going away and not guaranteed.

This 2020 pandemic has been an example of something that’s out of our control, yet millions of people lost their jobs and livelihoods overnight. Many of these people are good, just earning them a honest living and this pandemic changed their lives. Many people were laid-off their line of work, and find themselves in a hole or learning a new way.

We cannot work in old ways anymore. Some jobs will become obsolete. Some will be automated. We have to be adaptable. This means we have to be open to the fact that we might not understand how someone is making a living, but that doesn’t make their job any less “real” than the regular 9–5 office job.

If someone has decided to do a job that doesn’t guarantee a regular paycheck. A job that doesn’t come with “benefits”. They are still working. They are generating income to support themselves, and that is a “real job”. Edith Tollschein, To the People Who’ve Been Told To “Get A Real Job”

In order to thrive and survive in this new era that’s coming (and the pandemic that’s already here), many people will have to learn how to adapt and learn new skills. Be flexible. Adapt a new mindset. As Darwin states: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats.

We have not yet accepted that unpredictable jobs (creatives/freelancers) are “real jobs” too. As someone who started engaging her creative side way later in life, I got curious why creatives are rarely given the respect they deserve.-Edith Tollschein, To the People Who’ve Been Told To “Get A Real Job”

On top of that, lets just say you got a cozy office. Regular two week paycheck. Pension plans, social security, health insurance and other benefits that come with formal employment is what most of us call “safe.” It’s easy to follow the predictable path. It is human nature to seek stability.

You can do everything right and still get f****** over.

What if management changes, and you are the one of the people they decide to get rid of because they want to clean house and replace the workplace with their people? What if you’re a professor for 20 years, without any reason or warning, they fire you simply because they want to or want to hire someone cheaper for your position? What if your company shut down during this pandemic? What if your job closes down anyways? What if you want to start a family, you go on maternity/paternity leave, then 12 months later you find they moved on without you? What if you are on the receiving end of politics, discrimination or what not? What if you are doing your job this whole time, but someone finds a reason to pick on you out of the blue?

All of the sudden, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, and you were doing nothing but doing everything that you were told your whole life.

Imagine all the mental anguish of not being able to afford your bills, getting behind in your rent/mortgage, getting thrown out of your house, experiencing homelessness for the first time and so on.

I don’t want to fathom it.

Formal jobs are a guarantee until they aren’t: Until the management is reshuffled, and you are made redundant. Until your company shuts down. Until you become a victim of office politics. Until you start a family and your employer decides you are too much of a baggage. Until god forbid, you fall sick and you can’t sustain the heavy workload. Until your company decides to cut costs by outsourcing cheap labor from other countries: Edith Tollschein, To the People Who’ve Been Told To “Get A Real Job”

So how secure is a regular job? In my opinion, (along with Edith and many others) job security does not exist. We been socialized to believe it does, but it doesn’t. I explain more of this below, but I thought as a young kid that it was wack.

Why a lot of our family and friends took the traditional road to life. And then, even though they’re unhappy, they push us to make the same decisions they did!

P.S. The very same people who harass us about all the things we “need” to do are often the SAME people who are buried in debt (meaning college, credit, mortgage debt) whose idea of fun is 2.5 beers every single weekend, same as last weekend.

#1 Safety, Not Excellence.

In other words, they want us to take that safe route. They want us to go to a safe job everyday to punch a time clock. They want us to live in that safe place, and make those safe choices because they’re worried about the RISK of us ending up homeless, unhappy or an embarrassment.

We can use our older friends as crystal balls. They show us what our future could look like. The same is true of our parents. They serve as yet another crystal ball into our mediocre future.-Ramit Sethi

The truth is, in order to be extra ordinally successful, you got to take the road less traveled. You got to make choices that others are afraid to take, seem risky, or “reckless”. Yes, even that “creative" path that most people only see as a side hustle or hobby.

#2 Most People Don’t Want You Doing Better Than Them, And Won’t Admit It.

Have you noticed when you trying to move up in the world, sometimes the same people you thought had your back are the same ones trying to keep you down? I mentioned this in my 4 Reasons Why People Hate On Your Success, and Why You Should Be Successful Anyways.

To all those who got something going, the worst thing you can do is let someone talk you out of it due to fear, fear of the unknown, or jealousy. Do not let anyone squash your capacity (the word I like to use instead of potential).

Sometimes, when you are moving up to the next level, they are afraid that you are gonna get too big for them and you are going to leave them behind.

To be successful, The sad fact is you do have to distance yourself from distractions, haters, and dream killers. Sometimes you find these attitudes in people that you love.

When you are successful, people around you have no more excuses to justify their failures. Seeing you successful triggers something in them.

When they see you living out your dreams, they will wonder why they didn’t put in the work to live out their dreams, but hate on you for putting in the work.

#3. They don’t know any other way.

People can’t teach you what they don’t know themselves.

If you don’t come from a family of multi-millionaires, you can’t expect them to know what it’s like to live that lifestyle. It’s not anyone’s fault that they wasn’t exposed to it. Other times they don’t know how to.

People naturally pass on what they were taught to from their parents to their children.

To change the destiny for yourself and for future generations ahead of you, sometimes it requires you to go to different environments, get a new set of friends, and even being exposed to mindsets and ideas that you haven’t been exposed to before.

Wouldn’t it be nice if creative pursuits were supported or encouraged more than or just like the traditional job route? Even if it’s something they don’t understand, your friends and family would support you anyways?

Unfortunately, we are not in the perfect world. Many people are still stuck in the traditional models of 9 to 5 work mode, and have not yet accepted that creatives/freelancers/entrepreneurship are lifestyles that can earn someone a living. (And in some cases can propel you into wealth and financial freedom).

For some of us, your mind compares the job process to a prison. By working a normal job, we feel limited and instead want to be our own boss.

For some people, they associate a job with what you physically do, instead of being open to the idea that there’s different ways of earning a living.

Our society has taught us that creativity is usually a backup plan. That freelancing should only be a side hustle and not a full-time job. That creativity is for people who do not know yet what they want to do for a living. That creativity is for people who couldn’t get good grades in school. That creatives are awkward, antisocial, weird… you name it.

Our parents would be happy if we could just do as they tell us. If we could follow the career path they had envisioned for us. They want the best for us, and they believe we can only achieve it by emulating them.

The “best in life” to a majority of people looks like this: Go to college. Find a career you can commit to. Stick with your employer until retirement. Get married. Have kids. Buy a house. Retire.

Just don’t forget to teach your children the same.

What distracts most of us from sticking to our preferred means of making a living, is our concerns with what the society will say and our human need to fit in.

How will I introduce myself when I meet people? What will I tell my friends? What will I tell my parents’ friends, relatives, former college mates when they ask?

Someone once told me; if you are raising your kids the way your parents raised you, you are raising them for a society that no longer exists.-Edith Tollschein, To the People Who’ve Been Told To “Get A Real Job”

#4 Aware Of The Baby Elephant Syndrome?

I wrote this in my article How To Free Yourself From Mental Slaughter.

Many of us are held captive by limitations placed on us by ourselves or others. My whole life I’ve been told “You can’t.” How many of you been told you can’t do this, or you can’t do that?

These limitations inevitably lead to many of us suffering from the “Baby Elephant syndrome.” The story is told how elephants are trained. An elephant can easily uproot huge trees with its trunk. It can knock down a house without much trouble. When an elephant living in captivity and is still a baby, it is tied to a tree with a chain or rope nightly. The baby elephant tries with all its might to break the rope but it isn’t strong enough to do so. It tries and fails many times until realizing its efforts are futile, it finally gives up and stops attempting for the rest of its life.

Later, when the elephant is fully grown, it can be tied to a small tree with a thin rope and could easily free itself by breaking the rope or uprooting the tree but because its mind has been conditioned by its past experiences, it doesn’t even make the slightest attempt to break free. This powerful animal has confined its present abilities by the limitations of past experiences hence, the “Baby Elephant Syndrome.”

Human beings are similar to the elephant except for one thing, we can choose not to accept the false boundaries created by others or the past.

By ignoring the well-intended advice that others around you are telling you, you give yourself permission to break your own barriers and boundaries.

#5 They F***** Went For It

How many times have you seen or heard somebody doing better than you and thought to yourself,

“Man, I’m way better than they are! How are they getting these opportunities and I’m not?”

One simple reason.


They took major action.

They made a plan.

They focused.

They committed.

They humbled themselves and were willing to learn.

They knocked down walls in their minds.

They didn’t make excuses.

Excuses like:

I don’t have enough money.

I don’t have any connections.

I don’t have enough followers, listeners, viewers, streams, etc.

My city is full of haters.

THESE ARE JUST EXCUSES. Your success is determined by the limitations you put on yourself and not those placed on you by others.-Clinton Sparks

Do you ever wonder why not me?

Well, why not you?

Bottom Line:

Time is the human race’s common denominator. No matter who you are, how much money you have, where you live or what you believe, we all have a finite amount of time. Some of us will be lucky to live in good health into our 80s or 90s. Some of us will die exceptionally and tragically young. The shit kicker is that we don’t know which of those cards we are holding!-Amanda Closs

As creepy as this sounds, we never know when our time on this earth is up. I have friends that did not make it to see 25. Do you want to spend it living the life others want you to or do want to live life the way you want to? Are you living life the way you want to?

Here’s the thing.

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone.

I know a lot of my articles sing the praises of entrepreneurship. I also get that it’s not for everyone. This is the reason why I don’t bring it up with most of my family and friends. I just let them talk about their lives and I listen.

You can’t approach a business the same way you approach a job. When you create a startup/product/etc you are not gonna get an hourly wage. You might not see revenue or profit for months. Working hard in your business doesn’t guarantee success either. Sometimes businesses fail and you got to pivot or even start over with a new business. You got to have the right mindset being an entrepreneur because it’s not for the faint of heart. When you take this path (ie do something outside the norm), you will met resistance from family and friends until you are successful. Then the same people who tried to stop you will be the same ones coming around trying to get a piece.

If you are working a normal job and love it, great. Just make sure you are doing it because it’s something you really want to do, not what someone else wants to do. If you are working a conventional job to fund your dreams, great.

Have I worked a “normal” job?

Every time I go into an acting gig, yes, that is technically trading my time for money. It doesn’t quite fit into the 9 to 5 model. I also found some once/twice a year things that I like to do because the people are fun. Gen Con is the best. It happens once a year and I don’t have to work it, but I want to because it’s fun.

Some people say it’s good to have a balance of time for money and money for time gigs.

But I started exploring the idea of making money in my sleep and went for it. I will keep my time for money gigs, but money for time is where it’s at (you know residuals/passive income). When you’re trading time for money, your income will always be limited. The main reason: There are only 24 hours in a day.

The real problem starts to happen when your only source of income is attached to what you physically do. When you don’t have multiple income streams and get fired/laid off/quit/ you will be left between a rock and a hard place. Even if you keep your job and love it, I suggest that everyone have 1 to 2 income streams.

If you are reading this and have a regular job because you want to and you love it, good for you. It’s not a bad thing to earn a living for yourself. I know for me personally, I had a lot of bad experiences in school that makes a regular 9 to 5er extremely unattractive and wack to me. School tainted and soured that experience for me.

P.S. And yes I have gone on corporate company tours in school before. The food on all these tours was amazing like hell. But I wondered what the culture was really like. Every company can put on a great front for guests and people visiting. I’d be curious to know what they would be like on an average day? Office cliques? Give me the real inside scoop. And quit hiding behind the façade because I can see right through it.

Suggested Reads That Are Mine (Along With All.The.Others.At.The.Top LOL. If you had to start anywhere, I suggest these three first.)

Suggested Reads That Are Not Mine

Since it’s 2020, (and a few days away from 2021) a new decade 🔥🙌 I’ve decided to slightly change how I sign off.

If you like what you’ve read, please recommend it so others can read it as well. Please tell me what you want me to write about here!

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Interested in what I done? Check out my LinkedIn profile I barely use lol. I’ll update it to add the new current businesses I’m working on one of these days.



Alesha Peterson

Howdy! Entrepreneurship, fitness, music, acting, real estate, tequila & investing is sexy. Idea for an article? Input wanted! https://linktr.ee/aleshapeterson