November 24, 2022

Be Above Average

Being average (among the general populace) is easy. Most of the time it requires you to do nothing. Never strive for being average - the bar for that is too low.

Being average is usually assumed to be the middle ground - “I’m average in our classroom of 20”. Given the population of the classroom that’s not too bad.

If we replace the classroom with the general population or the population of your age, the bar is usually too low. Reading for example - if you’d say “The time I spend reading books is around the average of the general populace” - that isn’t something to be proud of.

There are types of skills and jobs that aren’t comparable to everyone, only those involved with it, like piloting or software development. You can compare yourself to others doing the same. Others, like reading and fitness level, are more generic and everyone can do them.

I remember from nearly 20 years ago, one of my high-school professors saying to us “If you spend an hour reading every day, you’d be reading more than 90% of the population”. Given the advancement of ‘social media’ and applications fighting over our attention span, I’m quite sure that number is even lower today. (I looked it up, but the data is quite inconsistent).

I used to train (something very similar to) MMA for about four years (and a couple of years BJJ before that). I trained consistently four times a week throughout these years. There were these two friends of mine - both of them were very bulky and at the time used to train twice a day. I never managed to overpower them - the sparrings usually ended in a draw or them winning. There were times I felt bad about it - consistently ‘losing’ is not a nice feeling.

But by being consistent and training regularly, I realized that my fighting skills are probably above 90% (of males around my age), as being just below the best fighters at an MMA club isn’t bad.

Another way to be above average is to combine multiple relatable skills. A good example is software development - I see myself as an (above) average developer. There are many developers in the world doing what I do. But if you combine a relatable skill with that - for example blogging - the number is much smaller. There are many examples like that - where acquiring multiple skills pushes you far above average.

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