What’s wrong with being average?

It is easy to bash on the idea of “being average”. You hear it in personal development and success literature all of the time.

In theory, it sounds good. Why be ordinary, when you can be extraordinary?

In practice, things are quite different.

What does ‘average’ mean? Is it in your peer group? In your university or company? In your country, or around the world? Average for each of these groups can and will be drastically different. In general, ‘average’ is relative, and it is important to know what you are talking about when you speak averages.

Across any population, there will always be an average. And in many real-world distributions, the majority of the population will end up around the average. Even if you guaranteed “success” to everyone in the world, there would still be an average. It would just be shifted up. In that case, is it so bad to be average? Statistically, most people will fall around an average. Telling everyone not to be average is a little strange.

Average isn’t necessarily good or bad. I am  very near the average height and weight. What does that mean to you?

Average doesn’t encompass your life story. If you were raised by homeless parents, but through hard work got to a position where you made an average American salary, what does that mean? Is it extraordinary or average?

Average doesn’t encompass your ambitions. Two people may have average American jobs. One might be doing it to support his meth habit, and the other is using it as a career stepping stone.

Average seems to simplify and summarize a person down to a simple characteristic: average or un-average. In all actuality, there are so many different sides to a person I don’t even know where to start. What if you are average in most dimensions, but extraordinary in one?

In the end, talking about averages clouds the issue.

Defining a person by averages doesn’t mean anything.

So, what has meaning? Having the self awareness to know what you are, and what you want to be.

Is the average career OK with you? Glad you know what you want. Go for it!

Do you want to be the best damn parent that you can be? Well, forget about the average, and be the best damn parent that you can be.

Repeat this across all aspects of your life, and you’ll be set.

Chances are you will be some kind of average in many aspects in life. Statistically, that is how it works out. You may also be extraordinarily awesome or un-awesome in some aspects of life.

Again, it all doesn’t matter: just know what you are and what you want to be.

P.S. This is post number #17 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

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