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The Cult of Average

There are dozens of theories (some proven, others not so much) about the effect that your environment habits, routines and friendships will have on you. Most of them contain the words, “You will become the average of the x number of people you associate/speak/live with.” I think this is because if the people around us have a certain level of achievement/proficiency in any area, we usually don’t dare venture outside of that.

When we question whether or not to ask our bosses for a raise, we consider the average earnings of the people around us.

The report cards our children bring home always indicate what the rest of the class achieved and the average final mark.

If we’re told to start getting healthier, we assess the fitness of the people around us and then decide whether or not we’re unfit. So, if everyone we know is going to the gym 5 times a week, we believe that a reasonable average would be to go to the gym 1 or 2 times in a week. On the other hand, if everyone you know isn’t going to the gym at all, you’d think that going to the gym is a massive, even drastic measure. Why? Because we take the average into account.

The cult of average tells us that if we’re maintaining the average or we’re even remotely close to it, then everything’s fine.

Except it isn’t. Average doesn’t bring us freedom. Average doesn’t bring us an uncommon degree of happiness.

The person who’s truly concerned about their health needs to become obsessed with their diet and level of fitness. The average person will eat “everything in moderation”.

The person who’s committed to building their business can’t work on it only when they’re in the mood to. He/she can’t scale back their efforts simply because the average entrepreneur doesn’t work as hard as they do.

The age of average is here and it’s our duty to question the status quo so that our lives are anything but average.

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