One of the first times I can remember having to defend my ‘average-ness’ was in the seventh grade. At this point in school, teachers began splitting us up into ‘regular’ math and ‘advanced’ math classes. I had a few friends who were above average and a few friends who were average, like me. I remember thinking at one point, why do I feel so stupid for being considered average? No, I guess I’m not ahead, but I’m not behind. I’m right on track. That has to count for something, right?
I’ve come back to this memory at various times in my life, realizing how little it actually mattered that some of my peers were in ‘advanced’ math and I was stuck in ‘regular’ math. I’ll be the first to admit that my strength has never been math. My preference has always been to write. Outside of a few hours of frustration while working on homework and a few moments of sheer panic during exams, my average-ness has not hindered me outside of an academic setting.
I can remember being in the car with my parents one day and hearing my dad say, “Some parents believe that their kids will excel at anything that they put their minds to. That’s just not true. There will be things in life that you’re not naturally good at.”
Looking back, I have to laugh, because it’s obviously a funny thing for a dad to say to their kid. But, also because, It’s true. And that’s okay.
I’ve realized lately that my fear of being average, or you could even say, ordinary, has kept me from trying at a lot of things.
The attitude of, “Well, I’m pretty ordinary at this, so is it worth the effort?” is a tempting and dangerous mindset to live in.
In this place, I’ve stopped doing some of the things I enjoy or want to try, because I see so many other people doing it better. Thanks a lot, social media.
But really, why are we scared of being average? Would it be a terrible life if we spent our time doing the things we loved, even if we don’t become famous for doing them? No recognition needed, simply for the love of whatever it is you’re doing.
“Joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
In my case, I haven’t been chasing down much of anything. I’ve decided I won’t be extraordinary, so I might as well not try.
As my mother would say, “Sagan, you need an attitude adjustment.” And I agree. Ha!
Man, how awesome would it be to acknowledge that others are probably better than I am at something and let that fuel my drive, rather than diminish my motivation? To find my value in the truth of who God says I am and not in my ability or inability to be extraordinary?
Is there something you’ve been wanting to try lately, but have put off because you feel like you’re only going to be ‘average’ at it? Is this a feeling that only I have? Surely not.
I want to encourage you today, friend. Don’t let the fear of being ordinary, keep you from doing something you love.
bake that pie.
write that blog.
learn that instrument.
encourage that friend.
sing that song.
take that picture.
play that sport.
decorate that house.
throw that party.
apply that makeup.
make that craft.
“Best is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
Whatever it is that you love, do that, and enjoy every average minute of it. Who knows, you might become insta-famous afterall.