Friday, August 5, 2016

On Being Average.

“I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man”.                                                            
                                                       Theodore Roosevelt

Can we be happy being average?  Or is it something wrong with being average?
There are two points of view on this subject.




1. The vast majority of people are average people.

All people are born with different potentials and aptitudes. Some have great physical skills. Some – artistic talent. Some – a high intelligence.
 At first we believe that we all are unique.

Then we realize that there are over 7.4 billion people on this planet.

But in the list of the most influential people of all time you’ll find about 2500 names.

So for the vast majority of people their lives will likely not matter long after they’ve died.
It is not an easy thing to accept as we expect to be extraordinary.
In reality we are in the company of 7 439 849 900+ people, not 2 500+

There are millions of painters who can’t create something and only one Picasso.
Millions guys are playing basketball, but there is only one Michael Jordan.
There are millions of beginners who do not know how to carry a camera and only one Ansel Adams.

Let us illustrate this viewpoint approach through  a bell curve. 

Let’s take a population of people who takes photos at least once a year.

 The horizontal axis represents how good they are at photography.
Further to the right are those who are really good, further to the left are those who are really bad.
We received the thin space at the ends of the curve.
That means that there are a few people who are really good at photography. And a few people who are really bad. The majority fall into the mediocre middle.

For example, it’s well-known that Ansel Adams is one of the greatest photographers of all time. Therefore, he’s way on the right side of the bell curve, better than 99.99% of anyone else who has ever took photos.

If we have a guy who took his camera for the first time in his life, obviously, he’s no Ansel Adams.
In fact, chances are many people could do much better than this guy. That means he’s probably towards the bottom end of the bell curve, an extreme on the other side.

Ansel Adams is more talented than all of us. The guy who doesn’t know what to do with his camera could be less talented than most of us. Both are at different extremes of the bell curve. And most of us are the majority in the middle.

“…simply remember that no matter who you are or how celebrated you become, there will always be a zillion photographers better than you AND always a zillion worse”.
                                                                                 Natalie Norton

The fact is most of us are in the middle of the bell curve.
 And that’s OK.

Great people who become truly exceptional at science, literature, politics, etc.  rarely believe that do they’re exceptional.

“I am not more gifted than the average human being. If you know anything about history, you would know that is so--what hard times I had in studying and the fact that I do not have a memory like some other people do… I am just more curious than the average person and I will not give up on a problem until I have found the proper solution. This is one of my greatest satisfactions in life--solving problems--and the harder they are, the more satisfaction do I get out of them. Maybe you could consider me a bit more patient in continuing with my problem than is the average human being. Now, if you understand what I have just told you, you see that it is not a matter of being more gifted but a matter of being more curious and maybe more patient until you solve a problem.”
                                                                               Albert Einstein

So the key to success is to be more curious than the average person, not to be more gifted.



2. Every person can be extraordinary,  special, unique, exceptional.

There is no such thing as an average person.
 Being extraordinary is a personal choice and anyone can choose to be extraordinary.
Even if you are average in one respect, there will likely be many other unique things about you.

“Stop being average. You’re not even good. You were born to be great”.
                                                                                 Eric Thomas

So we are born to be great. It sounds remarkable!

But  there's one condition you'll need to agree to -
 there is a price to pay for joining the “above average” level.

We need to push ourselves beyond our limits, set goals and achieve them.

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives”.
                                                                               Viktor E. Frankl

We need to get out of the comfort zone, keeping in mind that it always feels uncomfortable.
We need to accept the fact that there are things you need to let go in order to be faithful to your dream.

We need to understand that even our passion can be boring (sometimes).
For example, photography is my passion. It gives pulse to my life.  I put time (and money) into enhancing my practice and learning, taking it to the next level and sharing it with people.
One of my goals for my blog is to instill this passion in others.
And yet, no matter how much I love photography, sometimes I just don’t feel like taking photos.

We need to remember that inspiration alone won’t get us far.

 “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work”.
                                                                                    Chuck Close

Most people are waiting for inspiration to start doing things. Many of us are waiting for the right moment, for the perfect settings or the great opportunity.
 But the truth is we just have to make the first step.

We need to remember that perseverance wins over talent.
Talent needs to be fed like a baby, and it feeds on consistent discipline and work.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”.
                                                                                         Calvin Coolidge

So after all these reasons, are we willing to pay the price to be “above average”?

No matter what we choose there is always something to win and lose. The choice is ours. 

“One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility”.
                                                                              Eleanor Roosevelt



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