I don’t know, I just never want to be average.
Strange words for a teenage boy to say to his mother perhaps, however a good start to a commitment of lifelong learning, ambition and achievement. We are not talking about world domination here, but success (and therefore ‘average’) as defined by the end user in this life – myself.
What was originally said in the context of becoming a “sports star” was probably a defining moment only relevant to the writer some 25 or so years later, who, from the outside, would be considered by most to be leading something in the order of an average life.
For starters, what is average? What field, vocation or career? Is it merely average looking, being, or behaving? Average as defined by statistical data of the average male? The average Australian male? Probably a combination of all these and many more. Whatever it was then or is now, I just didn’t want to be….well, ‘average’. The ambition was there, though upon reflection, somewhat misdirected.
Fast forward to now, my 42nd birthday. Am I the ‘average’ 42 year old male? As mentioned above, from the outside, probably yes, however I don’t think so.
I believe I have mostly made my own way in the world. Not to say this has been a straight path from A through M (assuming steps N through Z are yet to come). School, two University degrees, seven years in one type of job before spending the next eight in a vastly different one. Marriage, children and a mortgage as well.
Granted. All sounding reasonably average so far.
Whilst it would be fine to espouse my thoughts on self direction, satisfaction and ideals, I have always been of the opinion we should judge ourselves on what we have done, not what we are ‘going’ to do, a point I felt compelled to send out on twitter recently:
Surely the real value lies in what you’ve done, not in repeatedly telling me what you did
Recognition for achievement is a great thing, though I am not convinced wringing it out of those around us provides an overly meaningful response, which is something I have written about previously.
Average or not?
It probably doesn’t really matter, the important thing here is striving to be the best version of yourself you can be. Success won’t be guaranteed, though the effort will be well worth it. At a recent business conference the theory of Living above the Line was spoken about in the context of the non-negotiable behaviours required by managers to grow our company. We could be a ‘good’ (read average) company maintaining the status quo, or strive to be a ‘great’ company, having all employees live ‘above the line’.
So, this birthday, my list is not about the ‘things’ that I want or have, it is reflection on the way I have lived and wish to live, which in my opinion at least, is above ‘the line’. What does that line signify? Average.
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