When Lea was a baby I remember describing her progress as "Right on track. Average." My mother hit the roof. She couldn't imagine why I would say such a horrible thing about my baby. It wasn't such a horrible thing. Average isn't bad, it's, well, average.
By its very definition, most of us are average.
graph courtesy University of Kansas Medical Center
This is so dissatisfying.
We all want to be special. We all want to be remarkable. I may have offended you when I implied that you were probably average. You're probably not, really. Not you! But me? Yeah. (Heck, sometimes I find myself WISHING for average...) Because we all want to beat this curve. We all want to be that 2% that is definitely superior. Or at LEAST the 14% that is probably superior. We all want to be special.
I think people who are constantly reminding us of how special they are are usually just trying to convince themselves. Those who are truly awesome don't need to tell us so. We know.
It's not such a bad thing to want to be in that 16%. We should always strive to be better, I suppose. If we settled for average - well, I guess that would be pretty dull. I'm not implying that we should ever become complacent. Just, maybe, that we shouldn't look on 'average' with such disdain.
We all have our gifts. The bell curve isn't as straightforward as it appears. We fall at different points along the spectrum in different aspects of our selves; positioning ourselves very low in some aspects of self and much higher in others. In the end, though, it all - um - averages out.
When I was teaching, I told my students that I didn't want their grades to align perfectly on the bell curve. I wanted a lot of A's and few if any F's. I felt like, if I was teaching the material well, the curve should look more like a slope than a bell. Usually it worked out that way, too. But there was one test that I wrote - and I administered this same test almost 20 different times to 20 different sets of students - and each time - each time - the results shook out into a perfect bell curve. When I recorded a lot of C's, a few B's and D's and only a couple A's and F's into my grade book, I hated that test. But when I plotted all of those scores on a graph and saw that curve appear - it made me feel really good about my test-writing abilities. But then I would wonder about my teaching abilities. If I was truly teaching the material well, shouldn't there be more A's? The answer is, of course, no. A C isn't a bad grade. It's an average grade.
And average is, well, most of us.
Average grades, average looks, average income, average level of talent or ability - average.
So here's to the average Joe. May we stop beating ourselves up while we continue to strive. And by we, I of course mean me. You're probably way above average. But if you're not? Well, welcome to the club. It's a big one. And here's to ya.
(apparently my ability to get the whole image to display is below average...)