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Stuck at Being Average

Dr Jeff Stoker

It’s not always a bad thing to want something more for yourself or for your family, and if you’re reading this article you are probably wanting to improve yourself or even get something more out of your life too, though the problem at times is that too often we get stuck at average.

If you want more than average, average is not always good enough.

Some things are never gonna happen if you’re stuck at average, yet getting stuck at average is all too easy to do. Average is generally what happens when you try just enough, you can hide in average from your potential, and being average is the excuse that’s commonly accepted for you never really to try.

The question you need to ask yourself is that if you have accepted average in your life as the norm, is this also why you may have never really got what you really want? because often average is not good enough.

The paradox is that despite wanting more than average, we aren’t always willing to put more in than just the average amount of effort.

It’s easy to be average, you can stay hidden in the crowd, you can do just enough because those average excuses are accepted by the average person. Our education systems are measured on bringing the failing up to average, and because average is what is measured average is also what is expected too. Aim for average and you know what with that average bit of effort you might even get it too.

The trouble is average is not always what we really want, let’s look at some statistics, health-wise if you’re on the lucky side of the line you’re going to reach your 81st birthday and you may even celebrate it with your 1.9 children. But let’s look at some other statistics; educationally only 42% have some form of higher education, and if you’re even more above the educational average only the top 33% got some sort of degree. But it’s not all good because that average degree also comes with an average student loan of £50,800 too, and this will just hang around your neck until you start paying it back, that is only when you’re earning slightly over the average wage of £25K per year.

I’m not writing this chapter to ridicule the average person I’m writing it to inform you of a few averages and what the average person should statistically expect so they can question if the average is ok for them.

Another mistake people make is that average is not guaranteed, even getting average is only statistically the most likely but it is in no way a guaranteed thing.

Average is no Guarantee

The real kicker here is that average is not a given, and the Law of Averages is also a fallacy. Let me put this in another way;

Only because something is statistically the mean does not mean that’s going to happen.

If things don’t turn out well for you this time it really doesn’t mean that next time is going to be any different.

Remember in reality there are also two groups of people, those on one side of the average line and those on the other. Whilst some have more than average remember there also needs to be that other half of people with less than average too.

The world’s not fair, some people are dealt a well below average hand and they’re gonna have to do really well just to have an average life, whilst others born with a real advantage over others yet squander their abilities to hide back down in the norm.

The fact is when life gets harder average may not be safe for two reasons; firstly natural law is based around the survival of the fittest, and the average person is certainly not in that category, because they will fall short to those who are better than them.

I like the story about the two men camping in the woods, a bear suddenly comes out of the forest and growls.  One of the men starts to put on his running shoes.

“What are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” Said the other man.

“I don’t have to outrun the bear—I just have to outrun you!”

Sometimes you simply need to be better than the average person to succeed.

Diversity has also been shown to give some people a natural advantage over others, hiding in a crowd of average people doesn’t really make you diverse, different, or stand out. Instead, all you are going to do is do the expected average thing, as you continue to follow the crowd.

If you want your life to evolve past the point of average you need to be in some way different or better than the rest. If you really want things to change in your life there are going to be times when you may also need to put in more than an average amount of effort too, to achieve those better than average goals, you may need to work longer, study harder, be smarter and take more risks if you want more than an average life.

Try living an average day, get up after sleeping 7-9 hours, eat an average breakfast of high sugar cereal during the week (or a fry-up at weekends), don’t worry about exercise because nearly 80% of us in the UK fail to hit the government target of performing some moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, so just join the majority, settle down on the sofa, and watch your 3 or more hours of average TV a day.

The average day isn’t the best training for getting what you really want out of the real world and especially if you want a life that’s more than mediocre.

Hopefully, after reading this article you may even start to realise the truth about average, aim for average and you’re gonna find that 50 % of every other person is gonna have it better than you, and you can also expect disappointment in at least 50% of the time of whatever you do, for me I don’t like those odds.

The average man looks for safety and not freedom, yet I don’t believe there is safety in average anymore, a steady average salary is just no real guarantee, an average interview performance can’t guarantee your success in getting an average job either, because remember you still need to be better than the other 50% of candidates.

Average now is not what average was, a few generations ago an average person worked hard in a good secure job and had enough for their retirement. Now jobs are not as secure as they once were, people are saving less for their later years, average life expectancy is decreasing and so-so can lead to oh-no very quickly.

Admit it, if you’re reading this article perhaps you want to be better, to get better, to have better things, or just have more than the average person. Some people want to take it further they want to go from good to great, they want to stand up, stand out, and be really good at what they do, but if you’re going to do that you can’t hide in average.

Remember it’s all too easy to get caught in the average trap, average may be less than what you want, the Law of Average’s is a fallacy, there’s no guarantee that if there is a next time that it will be any better, you don’t have a right to get average, and sometimes just getting average also means you need to be above average to get it.

I want you to start to think about where the average line is, to start looking at why people fall below it, and what it takes to get above that line too. See average as a minimum benchmark, always aim above that line, and don’t get stuck at being average.

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About the author

Clinician, writer, educator, speaker, and problem expert. Helping people to think better, to solve problems, and get their lives unstuck.

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