I Am Average: You Are Also Average.


Overall, I am very average. I bet, regardless of what you may think, that you are also very average, if that. My reasons for making such a straight forward and realistic life assessment statement is because I have enough common sense to realize that only very few people are de facto extraordinary in this world regardless of what many may think. People can think anything in life but just because they think doesn’t mean that they and you are and I am. Let me go one step further and enlighten you with more practical common sense. I bet that most (if not all) of your friends and family are at best mediocre. Which metrics are you using to justify such “controversial” statements, you may be asking? I will tell you in a bit… stay tuned.

If you were to die tomorrow, how many people would attend your funeral service? Which extraordinary achievement have you accomplished in your life that is worth placing you two standard deviations in the global population mean? Some may say… I have a PhD — Only about 1% of the population have PhD’s. Whoopty do!!! How many people do you think have completed a PhD worldwide? I don’t know about you but the vast majority of my friends have one. The number, of course, is in the millions maybe thousands of millions. I am not that unique; they are not that unique. If you think you are unique because you have one, think again. You are not unique either. Not even a Harvard PhD is that unique. There are a lot of people who have fulfilled the requirements to receive a PHD from Harvard University throughout the years. Does the former mean that they are all geniuses? Give me a break.

I am the first Brazilian in history to ever become a Head Golf Coach in a NCAA accredited university in the United States. Whoopty do!!! Who cares if you are the first of anything that insignificant… Being the first doesn’t make me better or worse than being the second or third Chinese teenager to ever play college basketball on a scholarship in France. What is the overall significance of your accomplishment, at the global level? By the way, greatness is to be measured at the global level not at the whatever level, don’t you think? It is in my book.

This is how I judge whether a person is great or mediocre, “What have you done that has changed the world?” Galileu Galilei, Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Nicola Tesla, Noam Chomsky, Steve Jobs… have changed the world. I doubt that you have, regardless of what you might think or believe. By the way, I haven’t either… At least, I know where I stand. Do you know where you stand? In this life, is is imperative that we answer these important former questions because the crazy most illogical decisions people make are often related to the false perceptions they have about themselves when in reality they are average at best. Stop and reflect about the former, I say. It is worth spending a few nights critically thinking about it. Do you still believe that you are that great?

Professors are notorious for thinking that they are the best thing that have ever lived in this world. Really? Don’t even get me started talking about university tenure and how wonderful your research is. Professors out there, listen to me — If you think that you are great because you have received a letter of tenure, think again. I have received two letters of tenure in a period of seven years — I am not wonderful. I am not that special because of these tenure letters. What these letters do say is that I take my job seriously and respect/honor the institutions that I work for. Let me tell you something: I don’t work for tenure; I work for God. By the way, I am pretty sure that you are not that great just because you have a letter of tenure, either.  We are all very average… Get real.

Here is my advice: Stop thinking that others won’t respect you because you admit to be average. Be careful to correlate beautiful pieces of clothing with extraordinary brain capacity. There is no direct correlation between a tie and brain cells, by the way. Having the perfect haircut won’t turn you into a freaking genius. I would even argue that “perfection” is often a sign of deficiency. Nobody is perfect. Those who are really good in what they don’t need to show that they are. Did Mother Theresa wear coach? Was Einstein a Ralph Lauren guy? How about Steve Jobs?

Moral of the story — I am average: You are also average. It is the end of it.


  1. I agree. I have a PhD. I am average. I am just human. I make mistakes. I get angry. I can be unreasonable. I have anxiety.
    But I do feel that those who can read and interpret research, regardless of what education they have need to use their skills for good with no conflict of interest. We need unbiased good research evidence conducted and replicated and replicated again and published widely on many topics (the rate of violence over time, the economic progress or lack thereof over the last 7 years, the threat of IS, or lack thereof, ….).
    In all humility,

  2. Yes! The “everybody gets a trophy” crowd would disagree with you. I see where you’re coming from. If everything is special, then nothing is.

    At work, we do annual performance reviews… now, everybody likes to see their name in lights, including me. I always shoot for at least Highly Effective, if not Exceptional. The reality is sometimes I hit the “Meets Expectations.” The first “meets expectations” was a reality check… ouch. What do you mean, I’m not exceptional? I get now that meeting expectations isn’t a knock… the point is to get in there and contribute, make a difference. And when you fail, or come in at average – pick yourself up, keep pushing forward. That’s where you often see the breakdown, the identity crisis. Lots of people don’t know what to do with average and melt into a puddle of goo.

    Here’s the other piece of it… it’s relative, subjective, and the definition of extraordinary changes as previous accomplishments and new technology raise the bar. I would say on a strictly objective scale, I haven’t radically made a difference on a global level. But to those who love me, I am pretty special. And on the rest of it, I just keep trying.

    1. Yes, they would and it is okay. Precisely. Being special is rare, very rare. Exactly. Just doing your work doesn’t mean doing your work with distinction. Sometimes, failing is winning and being mediocre is also winning. Folks don’t need to be exceptional to live a good life. We need to be realistic, I think. Meg… both you and I. Most people don’t. That’s why we are at best average. 🙂

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