7 Deadly Sins of Mediocrity

“The Slayer of Mediocrity.” That’s what I called myself when I first started posting stuff online. Eventually, people on Twitter started calling me Innovation Insurgent, and it stuck. My belief is that humans have inherent attitudes and beliefs that drive us toward mediocrity; I started taking an interest in how to combat these attitudes and beliefs.

In his book Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day Todd Henry identifies the 7 deadly sins of mediocrity and how to fix them. These 7 sins hinder creativity and prevent individuals from reaching their full potential. By recognizing and overcoming these sins, we can become more creative, productive, and fulfilled in our work and our lives.

The 7 deadly sins of mediocrity sins are:

  1. Aimlessness. The fix is to know your purpose.
  2. Boredom. The cure is disciplined curiosity, ask questions.
  3. Comfort. Commit to continual growth and achievement.
  4. Delusion. Cultivate self-awareness; be honest with yourself and understand your skills.
  5. Ego. Overcome your fear of failure.
  6. Fear. Take strategic and intentional risks.
  7. Guardedness. It’s easy to isolate; find times and ways to connect with others.

Below I elaborate on each…


The first sin of mediocrity is aimlessness. When individuals lack a clear direction or purpose, they become lost and unproductive. They may struggle to find meaning and motivation in their work, leading to feelings of apathy and disengagement. To avoid aimlessness, individuals must define their goals and create a plan of action to achieve them.

Busy boredom

The second sin is busy boredom. This occurs when individuals are always busy but not necessarily productive. They may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they have to do and end up procrastinating or multitasking, which can lead to mistakes and burnout. To overcome busy boredom, individuals must prioritize their tasks and focus on the most important ones.


The third sin is comfort. When individuals become too comfortable in their current situation, they may become complacent and resist change. They may be hesitant to take on new challenges or try new things, which can limit their growth and development. To avoid becoming too comfortable, individuals must push themselves outside of their comfort zone and take risks.


The fourth sin is delusion. This occurs when individuals believe they are doing their best work, but in reality, they are falling short of their potential. They may be overconfident in their abilities or refuse to acknowledge their weaknesses. To overcome delusion, individuals must seek honest feedback and be open to constructive criticism.


The fifth sin is ego. When individuals become too focused on their own success and recognition, they may become competitive and unwilling to collaborate with others. This can lead to a toxic work environment and stifle creativity. To overcome ego, individuals must prioritize the success of the team and be willing to work together to achieve common goals.


The sixth sin is fear. When individuals are afraid of failure or rejection, they may be hesitant to take risks or try new things. This can limit their growth and prevent them from reaching their full potential. To overcome fear, individuals must embrace failure as a learning opportunity and be willing to take calculated risks.


The seventh and final sin is guardedness. This occurs when individuals are too protective of their ideas and unwilling to share them with others. This can limit collaboration and prevent others from contributing to the creative process. To overcome guardedness, individuals must be willing to share their ideas and be open to feedback from others.

Bottom line: Todd Henry’s 7 deadly sins of mediocrity provide valuable insights into the habits and behaviors that prevent individuals from achieving their full potential. By avoiding these sins and embracing a growth mindset, individuals can unleash their creativity and reach new levels of success in both their personal and professional lives.