We always try to escape the idea of being average without knowing what we really want to achieve in the first place. All of this “every person can be extraordinary and achieve greatness” stuff is basically just your ego pinning you down from actually achieving something great.
There are 7 billion people on this planet. Yet most of us can think of maximum 1000 people that we have heard of (alive or dead) that have achieved “great” things.
So does that mean that the rest of us are useless pieces of meat just wandering about on this planet playing as extras in someone else’s blockbuster movie?
Actually no. You see, in today’s world with the technology we have and the fact that almost every famous/rich person is just one tweet away you might start to feel less than you actually are.
But the situation looks more like this.
This is a bell curve used to measure employee performance in companies. As you can see most of the people fall into the middle category while 15-20% fall in one of the two ends.
Let’s take Tiger Woods for example. He is an exceptional golf player. So he will be situated at the extreme right of the graph. If Tiger Woods is one in a million then we have 999,999 people who are average and low performers at golf. Now let’s take my grandma for example. She bakes the best cheesecake in the world (hehe) so she definitely must be a high performer. But what about Tiger Woods now? I’m not aware of his baking skills but I would bet they are average at best or even low.
Why is one more valuable than the other? One is shooting balls into a hole while the other is creating food. One is making millions while the other not.
So does being above average mean making millions? I don’t agree with that. Brilliant businessmen are often screw-ups in their personal lives. Extraordinary athletes are often shallow, dumb and like to beat up their wives once in a while. Most celebrities are probably just as clueless about life as the people who gawk at them and follow their every move. (wink wink Kardashians)
If you look at things this way you will notice that everyone is actually mediocre at most things and they excel maybe at one or two things.
So how can we excel at things if we are an average joe at everything?
Why not trying combining skills? Sometimes combining several skills in which you are average can lead to creating something new that can help you leave a dent in the world.
Since we are kids we are told that we need to find our thing that we are passionate about, work hard at it and excel at it, become rich and famous and BAM! Happiness.
This works great if you are born in a certain place in the world, with the certain conditions, the right influence around you and good timing. If Kobe Bryant was born in Europe maybe he wouldn’t have become a great NBA star. If Malala Yousafzai (the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate) was born in the US instead of Pakistan maybe she would have just been an average high-school student.
Most famous people were a combination of multiple things. For Tiger Woods, it was practicing his swing day in, day out, and relentless work attitude, networking with the right trainers etc. Marc Zuckerberg knew how to combine his programming skills, with selling skills, networking skills and psychological skills in order to make Facebook successful. Most people think that if they just master PHP 24/7 for 5 years they will become the next Zucks, but life doesn’t really work that way.
It’s unpredictable. It’s wild. It’s beautiful in a certain sense. The problem is us being captured in this quest for self-validation and worth.
Individual skills are common. Combinations are rarer. So try to combine 2-3 skills and give birth to a new industry, or a new business, a new hobby that can help other people. Let’s say you are not the best athlete but you combine your physical skills with communication and business skills. Maybe you will launch a Youtube fitness channel or a fitness podcast that can take off and become very successful. Although you are not the best athlete, the best business man or the best PR person, a combination of these 3 average traits you possess can help you become above average as a whole.
But remember this.
Emotional health comes from enjoying the little things in life. Some days you eat that juicy steak and some other days you need to eat that bowl of plain white rice. In the end, they both feed you. You will not die the next day because your body is not being fed.
The same with life. Try to enjoy the most out of it with what you got. You will have a growing appreciation for life’s basic experiences: the pleasures of simple friendship, taking up a creative hobby, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone you care about.
If it sounds pretty boring that’s because it actually is. But these little things are average for a reason. Because they are accessible to everyone and that’s what counts.