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Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you accept and deal with being average if you’re struggling to by yourself. Simply click here to connect with one via BetterHelp.com.
Every day we are bombarded with messages about how important it is to be special, unique, and different in all of our lives.
Society holds up examples of the best of the best and says, “Why can’t you be like this? You should be like this!” Do you want your life to mean something? Then work hard, become exceptional, and reap your labor’s fruits.
Sometimes you’ll get it from the people around you in an unhealthy way. Parents put excessive pressure on their kids to be exceptional and drive them like workhorses. Get up, practice, practice, practice, go to school, come home, practice, practice, practice. Oh! Of course, you can’t go to your friend’s house for the night. You have a recital coming up this Friday! There’s also practice on Saturday morning.
Why don’t you get better grades like your sibling? Why aren’t you faster? Why aren’t you smarter? Why don’t you work harder? Be better! Be better than average otherwise, you’re just a loser!
It’s entirely unreasonable and sometimes ranges into abusive behavior. Some people kill themselves over it.
But it’s okay to be average. In fact, most people are average by definition.
Average: noun: a standard regarded as usual or ordinary.
How do you deal with being average? How can you accept that you won’t have that rockstar life?
1. The grass is always greener on the other side.
Do you know how hard people have to work to be exceptional?
Let’s consider an Olympic athlete for a minute. There is no standard for training per day or week, really. Many would-be Olympians average about 30 hours a week for just exercise. Then you have rigid schedules, meal planning, and fulfilling work obligations.
The United States Olympic Committee pays $37,500 for a gold medal, $22,500 for a silver medal, and $15,000 for a bronze. That’s assuming they win. Many only have an income through sponsorships.
The average Olympian trains for 6-8 years and about 10,000 hours before going to the Olympics, assuming they succeed in getting there.
The grass is always greener on the other side. You may look at someone who is exceptional at what they do, longing for what they have, but you probably don’t realize the sacrifice they made to get there.
What’s more, many people pay for that success with a lack of time, long hours of work, and unhappy personal relationships.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy.
People who focus on what they don’t have tend to rob themselves of their own happiness. The more you focus on what you don’t have, the less space you have in your mind to appreciate what you do have.
What that means is it’s difficult to be both happy and envious at the same time.
That’s where practices like gratitude can play an influential role in finding peace with being average. Focus on the things you have, even though they aren’t much. For example, do you have an average job that pays an average wage? There’s nothing wrong with that, though there’s also nothing wrong with wanting more.
But you don’t have to be the best to live a happy and fulfilling life. Cultivate your personal happiness and you will spend less time longing for a life that isn’t yours.
3. Don’t hang out with negative people.
There are two types of people that can make you feel terrible about your position in life.
The first are obnoxious successful people who need to remind everyone around them of their smug superiority.
This type of person is arrogant. They believe they are better than other people around them because they have found great success being exceptional at something they do.
And you know what? To some degree, that’s okay. You put a lot of hard work into mastering a skill. You master the skill, and you have a right to be proud of it.
What’s not cool is when a person uses their success as a cudgel to bludgeon you over the head and make themselves feel better at your expense. Frankly, these people are sad. They have such fragile egos they feel the need to.
The second are people who do not want to see you succeed. This can come from any direction, really. But these are people who have a ‘crabs in a bucket’ mentality. What is that? When fishermen catch crabs, they can just toss them in a bucket. The crabs don’t help each other as other crabs try to escape. Instead, they pull the escaping crabs back into the bucket to climb over them.
Sound like anyone you know? Like miserable people who always undermine your efforts, tell you you’re not good enough and remind you that you’ll never succeed? You may also hear things like, “if you’re not first, you’re a loser.”
Ditch these people or erect strong boundaries with them. You’ll be much happier with yourself.
4. I wish I were good at…
Do you want to be good at something? Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Hard work beats out talent and intelligence every single time.
Do you know why? Because hard work gives you contextual experience that you cannot get from book learning. This is why so many training and college programs require labs and hands-on time with the subject matter.
You can read all day about how to fix a car, but that’s far different than trying to wrench a rusted bolt off that hasn’t been removed in ten years because the state you live in uses salt on the roads, which causes your car’s undercarriage to start to rust within a year or two… whew. Got a little personal there.
The point is that people get good at things by practicing and doing them, but with a caveat. Do look into some kind of training for what you want to do. Practicing how to do something wrong makes that wrong thing into a habit that you have to break to do it right. Sometimes there isn’t a right or wrong, though. If you’re just drawing because you really want to draw, that’s not a big deal.
But let’s say you get interested in electronics. Electricity is dangerous. Some components in televisions need to be carefully handled because they can hold a harmful to fatal charge for even years after they’ve been used. If you don’t learn the correct, safe way to handle electricity, you can easily get hurt or burn your house down. Neither of which are great options.
Science says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a thing. Do you know who’s not gaining those hours of experience? People who aren’t doing anything because they’re too busy sitting around, wishing they were. Do the work if you want a chance to be exceptional.
5. Do more things.
Let’s say you believe that you’re not good at anything. There are some people out there who just feel like they aren’t.
Well, it may not be that they aren’t good at anything. It may actually be that they just haven’t found anything that would spark them to learn and put the work into it.
But even then, maybe you struggle with sticking to something for the time it would take to be greater than average. So what can you do in that situation?
Do more things.
Alright, so how does that help? Life isn’t necessarily about mastering one thing. If you go out and do many things, you will pick up bits of experience from each of those things. That will allow you to create a broad horizon for yourself.
You sit down to talk to a new person, and now you can discuss that time you went scuba diving, took an improv class, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, and learned how to weld.
A variety of interests and experiences is both above average and interesting!
6. You don’t have to be number one to be happy.
What kind of world would we have where everyone is number one? Everyone can’t be a leader, CEO, or sit at the top of whatever the thing is. What kind of a person is a leader with no followers? Yeah, they’re not getting much done, are they?
Of course not! Every leader needs people to follow them so they can accomplish whatever the organization’s goal is. For example, let’s say you get involved in a social movement. The leader can’t spend their time talking to every individual person, canvasing, and trying to drum up support. They have a lot of other responsibilities in managing people, navigating donations and supporters, and keeping the organization moving in one direction.
A CEO can’t be bothered with managing the day-to-day operations of the business departments. That’s what managers and department heads are for. It would be impossible for them to keep up with every nuance of every supporting role in their business.
You don’t have to be number one to find a place to make a difference or find success. You can be number two, three, four, five, or fifty-two and still find success if you’re not longing for that higher position. So whatever you’re doing, do it as well as you can.
7. Be the kind of person that other people look to.
Alright, so maybe you’re average at everything you do. Your intelligence, skills, career, and life are totally average. However, there are things that you can choose to be exceptional at that require very little practice, no schooling, or anything like that.
You can choose to be an exceptionally conscious person. Put love into the world by being a cheerleader for other people and their work. Do small things for people without expecting anything in return. Be a great parent who does everything to support and love their children. Be the type of friend that people know is reliable, though do have healthy boundaries because takers don’t know what your limits are.
Emotional intelligence isn’t that difficult to develop. There are tons of videos on the internet about improving your social relationships, communicating better, and just being a more social person. That can let you stand out because many people just don’t care. The people around you will remember your kindness. They may need your kindness.
8. Know thyself.
There is no one more powerful than a person who knows themselves. Self-awareness is strong because it allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
You know you’re average? So what? You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are if that’s what you really want.
Change your expectations. There are billions of people in the world who are just as average. Acceptance facilitates comfort and happiness. Many people struggle to be comfortable in their own skin. Then others are deeply unhappy because they want something they can’t attain.
Don’t waste your life wishing for things to be different. You’ll never be disappointed in life if you just wish for things to be as they are, whether they’re great or not.
Even if you’re not exceptional, you are still a valuable human being that deserves peace and happiness.
Still not sure how to deal with being average? If it’s bothering you to the point where it is bringing you down, speak to a therapist today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
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