It is an accepted part of our society today to believe that we are all destined to do something truly extraordinary. Celebrities say it. Business tycoons say it. Spiritual leaders say it. Everyone says it.
Each one of us can be extraordinary. We all deserve greatness.
Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. But the fact is most of us are rather average at most of the things we do. Moreover, if you are truly exceptional at one thing, say math, football, or sleeping for 10 hours straight, chances are that you are pretty average or below average at most of the other things. That’s simply the nature of life. To become exceptional at something, you have to devote time and energy to it. And because we only have limited time and energy, any of us rarely become truly exceptional at more than one thing.
We can then say that it is a complete statistical impossibility that any single person can be an extraordinary performer in all areas of their life or even many areas of their life.
Brilliant businessmen are often bad in their personal lives. Extraordinary athletes are often average at studying.
Most celebrities are probably just as clueless about life as the people who follow their every move.
But contrary to common belief, there are many advantages to being, and even feeling, average. If you want to avoid most physical and psychological illnesses, being average is one of your best options; pathology is usually associated with statistical infrequency.
Even desirable characteristics-ambition, sociability, confidence, and conscientiousness, are a problem when intensified or taken to the extreme.
Ambition turns into selfishness; sociability into exhibitionistic attention-seeking; confidence into arrogance; and conscientiousness into obsessive-compulsive behaviour.
The feeling of being average will translate into high self-awareness, which is far better than the alternative – overconfident delusion.
To be clear, the world’s development depends on those who stand out by their excellent and innovative contributions, but these individuals are part of the top one percent in their field, combining truly original levels of talent, work ethic, and focus. For the remaining ninety nine percent of us, the acceptance that our talents and motivation are much more general and unlikely to result in world-changing accomplishments, would reflect a healthier, more rational self-concept than illusions of grandiosity or fantasized talent, except when such delusions may help you persuade others that you are great.
Modesty inspires confidence and goodwill. You can be modest without being sorry. Your audience will like and appreciate you for suggesting your limitations, as long as you show you are determined to do your best.
We are all, for the most part, pretty average people. It’s the extremes that get all of the publicity. We all kind of intuitively know this, but we rarely think or talk about it. The majority of us will never be truly exceptional at anything.
And that’s Okay.