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The Beauty of Being Average and Setting Healthy Standards

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Average you say?

Why would I want to be merely average?

Isn’t it the goal of life to be the best at what you work for and be heralded for exceptionalism?

Does it feel like there are incredibly high standards that have been set that are unusually impossible to achieve?

Every one of us is unique in our own way and has strengths and weaknesses that we can identify. Although this is true, most people are about average at many of life’s endeavors. Even if you’re truly exceptional at one thing chances are you’re pretty average or even below average at most other things. There is nothing wrong with that.
To become truly great at something, you have to dedicate time and energy to it. And because we all have limited time and energy, few of us ever become truly exceptional at more than one thing, if anything at all. A consistent statistic is that 68 percent of the population is “average,” in every possible measurable way.

It seems to be an aspect of human nature that we create heroes that represent perfection and everything we wish we could be. There are the tales about gallant knights slaying dragons and saving princesses. Ancient Rome and Greece myths about heroes who won wars single-handedly and in some cases confronted the Gods themselves. Every other human culture creates such sensationalized stories as well.

Much of the idea of our own accomplishments comes from comparison to others and their perceived perfection. We live in a time when information comes at us at lightning speed with the information manipulated to sensationalize reality, making it either terrible or wonderful.

I think the idea of being average is scary because we would all like to be special in our own way. The paradox is that we all are all special in our own way. Sensationalism is not real. The popularity of reality TV shows may be an indication of the need to show the world our uniqueness and relevance. Unfortunately, sometimes being unique means that other people must suffer. Sadly, the programming drive of media outlets is “if it bleeds, it leads.”

The true heroes in life are the people who can live every day with an air of anonymity. It is not the superstars that keep the world running, but the person who is willing to show up and do what is necessary to get the task done. The mom and dad, who get up, make lunch and take their kids to school, teachers and mentors and the person who other lives depend upon on a daily basis. Who in your life has quietly made a difference?

The pleasures of simple friendship, creating something, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone you care about, these are the things that create meaning and relevancy. The true challenge is to be an exceptional friend, partner and worker.

Ask yourself, how can I be the best me I can be today, a worker among workers and a genuine individual who truly enjoys life for what it offers.

Some of us need guidance to understand personal standards and what it means to be present and “show up.” If you need help to identify your standards then perhaps a therapist can help.

Image: Alexandre Hamada Possi on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

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