Not Everything Has to be Great

Andrew O’Hagan’s article in the Times Magazine travel section bemoans our distaste for adequacy in an era of awesome:

Not just in travel, but in terms of food, fashion, music, business ideas and design, the lovely, enabling idea that things can just be “fine,” is under threat. Nothing’s allowed to be fine because, to the hyped-up mind, “fine” sounds quite a lot like “mediocre.”

Not everything has to be great… In my slow but persistent bid for the reader’s sanity, I hereby prescribe a period of allowing things to be adequate.

I fall victim to the Cult of Awesome: I search endlessly for the perfect product with every trivial Amazon order; I spiral cut my hot dogs; I hand grind the coffee for my Aero Press; I Instagram. Why?

Striving for the excellent and awesome is the way to go. But I think it is important to rein it in and accept how rare awesome is. Everything is marketed as if it is awesome, but most things aren’t. Android vs iPhone; Coke vs Pepsi, french press vs pour over. Having a choice between two things doesn’t necessitate that one is fine and one is awesome. Typically both things are fine at best.

I want to recognize this false dichotomy and allow things to be adequate. Doing so will save my time and energy and ensure that I am aware and ready when an opportunity for awesome finally shows itself.