How Average, But Great We Are

I got a complement a year or so ago. My friend said that I was really smart. I said thank you, but her inference was that I was smart and that she wasn’t. This didn’t sit well with me at all. As I was thinking about it, I knew she knew stuff I didn’t know. I realised that I know nothing about sports, that in fact she knows awful lot more than me about sports. Therefore she is smarter than me, in the sports realm. I realised that the reason she thought I seemed smarter than her was because I knew something she didn’t know and because the stuff I knew wasn’t common knowledge she valued it more, whereas, she didn’t value her own knowledge, because it was more common knowledge.

I started to think back to my child hood and think, how does she know so much about football and I don’t. I searched in my brain for a long time and came to realise that I had an experience when I was a kid. My dad gave out to me for sucking my thumb whilst playing a football match. Whatever happened to me in my mind, I made a strong negative association with football as a kid. So I never went near the sport again. As a result I missed out on all the bonding experiences around football that goes on between a dad and a son. I never got a thrill from sports, I never watched them on TV and so I never got an education in sports. Instead I watched documentaries, which was as a result of my dad as well.

What had happened was, when I watched TV I watched documentaries, whereas she spent her time watching sports. With this realisation I concluded that we had probably put the same amount of hours in watching TV growing up, but we were studying different things.

So in the grand scheme of things we spent the same amount of time studying. She knew more than me and I knew more than her, in certain subjects. The opposite was true also, I knew less than her and she knew less than me, in certain subjects. So on average we where both the same, we knew and didn’t know equal amounts. We were average.

So why am I writing this post you say. Who cares about average people or people realising they are average. I came to understand this on a grander scale. We are all average everybody on the planet nobody is better or worse than anyone else, on a global scale. We all know equal amounts of stuff, but in different fields. This also applies in skills, someone might be good at wood work and someone else at tennis, but they might be rubbish at something else. I’m crap at tennis, but on average we are equal.

This realisation really gave me a boost confidence wise. I stopped comparing myself to others. I started to realise no one on this planet is great at everything. They are only good at what they are good at and crap at what they are crap at. I started to stop comparing myself to others and focused on my own skills. How can I be the best me I can be.
This big long stream of thoughts led me to this conclusion. The people who are the best at what they do, don’t compare themselves to others, the compare themselves to themselves. They ask themselves the question over and over, how can I be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. This brought to mind Steve Jobs motto of passion for excellence. He is not striving to be better than you he is striving to be better than himself. This was a huge realisation for me.

Are you starting to feel average? (What a crap sales pitch). Are you starting to realise that you are bad at some stuff and good at other stuff. Maybe people compare themselves to you?
That whole stream of thought was the big picture. Everybody is equally good as well as bad and the great only focus on how they can improve in themselves.

Now the smaller picture.

What all that actually means for me is, I have to forget all the stuff I’m not good at and focus on the stuff I’m good at. It means stop comparing myself to others and start comparing myself to myself. Challenge myself and enjoy it. This is how life works.

Our course (Webelevate) is a perfect example of this theory at work. Out of an average group of 400 people, we came in and all were evaluated equally, by the tutors and the college. We got chosen because we where the best and the college has forgotten the rest of the people. They are only focusing on the best and working on improving it. The college isn’t hanging on to the two hundred and forty other applicants and letting them bring us down. So just like the college we have to focus on what we are best at and work to improve it.

If you do the maths 400 people applied, 160 got places, but then we chose the stream we are in (and the college agreed) about 60 people on average is in each stream. So out of the 400 people we are broken down into the stream that we are best at which works out that we are in the top 15% of all the applicants who applied. When have you ever been in the top 20% of anything? I know I never have. This is before we have started studying we are already the best of the best. So then each class get broken down further into what we are best at.

I hope my lessons have helped you feel better about yourself I hope you feel proud to be average in the grand scheme of things and also feel great to be the best at what you do.

I feel grateful to the college and the tutors for choosing me to be part of such a dynamic course and giving me the chance to work with some of the best. I feel grateful to all the staff in the college for giving us one of the biggest complements of our lives.

This post is one of my first steps on the road to being the best me I can be.