Keep Mediocrity at Bay—in Running or Finances


“You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay.” That’s the opening line of one of my favorite Van Morrison songs. If you are reading this and you happen to be under 50 years old, you may have just thought, “Who is Van Morrison?” And even if you do recognize the name of this classic rocker, your next thought might be to wonder why I’m writing about him. I’m not. I’m writing about his song.

I ran a 10-mile road race this morning. If you’ve known me for any time at all, you know that running is a part of me. My wife and I have made running our main form of exercise for almost 15 years. We used to travel the country with the goal of running a full marathon (yes, that’s 26.2 miles!) in every state. Unfortunately, some knee issues have made me stop the marathon quest, but thanks to modern medicine, I am still able to do some pretty good distances and participate in some fun events.

Usually when I run I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. I enjoy the opportunity to learn something, or be entertained, while I’m getting in some miles. I started the race this morning listening to an audiobook. But I quickly found that it wasn’t going to be a day for learning. It was a day for music. I’ll listen to music on my runs when I want to be entertained and lose myself in thought, or when I need some motivation. I’ve been recovering from an injury, so this morning I needed motivation.


It took me almost an hour and 50 minutes to cover the 10-mile course. (No, I’m not very fast!) You can listen to a lot of songs in that time. About six or seven miles into the run, when my body was starting to hurt and ask why I was out here running 10 miles, the song “Keep Mediocrity at Bay” came up on my running playlist.

Music can make you feel happy or sad. It can make you feel love or mourn a lost love. It can also make you motivated (think “Rocky’s Theme”). A lot of the messages we get from music depends upon where we are and what we are doing. I’m sure that when you hear certain songs, you are transported to a different time in your life, when the song had a special meaning, creating an important memory. Van Morrison’s song had an impact on me this morning.

“You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay.” I don’t want to settle for mediocrity—in any area of my life.

As I listened to the words and message of the song during my run, it gave me the answer that my body wanted. I run because I want to stay fit. I want to stay fit not only to look and feel better, but so that I can age well. It’s also the reason that my wife and I get up at oh-dark-thirty every morning to work out. We’re fighting every day to keep mediocrity at bay.


I don’t want to be mediocre when it comes to my family’s financial situation. My wife and I both work hard to save for our future and to make good financial decisions. We are willing to do the things necessary to provide us with a secure financial future.

And, I don’t want to be mediocre when it comes to helping the clients of our firm. It’s the reason I attend numerous educational conferences each year—so that I can help clients make good financial decisions. It’s the reason we invest in the tools that we need to help keep our clients on track and to provide them with an experience that helps keep them focused on their financial future. We don’t want mediocrity for our clients either.

“You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay.” So now you have an example of some of the stuff I think about when I run. The inspiration for this post came to me as I struggled through the last few miles of a tough run. Thinking about the message of the song got me through miles seven and eight. It also helped that the next song on my playlist was “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. You know, the one that goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger …”