There’s nothing wrong with being average, plain, or downright passable at something.
I was watching The Last Dance the other day on Netflix and, of course, felt inferior to those featured.
Then I remembered I’m watching the best of the best – God-given talent combined with ruthless hard work and dedication to improvement. Out of all the people in the world who have ever played basketball, Michael Jordan and co. are at the very, very end of the bell curve:
We always oscillate between the extremes.
Take fitness for example.
Shows like My 600-lb Life show us the bottom of the barrel, the lowest of the low performers in general health – and we lap it up.
It makes us feel better – we’re nothing like that.
Then, take a show like The Last Dance, or the Manchester City documentary All or Nothing – which showcase the highest of the high perfomers in their respective sports.
It makes us feel overwhelmingly average, and, in this society – average is futile.
You’re 30 years old and you’re still not a millionaire? What do you mean it’s not possible? Some guy did it once. You’re just not good enough. You’re average. Mediocre. Forgettable. Everyone must strive to be exceptional.
Yeah, perhaps attitudes like this is one of the reason why people in their mid-20s feel so disillusioned.
Our society shows us highlight reel after highlight reel, millionaire after millionaire, fitness model after fitness model – it’s unrelenting and inescapable. Social media is awash with overnight success stories and superstar app developers who have reinvented the wheel, become loaded with money, bought a private jet, and fly across the world sleeping with any supermodel who comes in their wake.
Then, after seeing it on Instagram, we go back to our morning cereal before our day at the office and wonder if there’s any fucking point.
We feel average in comparison.
One of the greatest lies society has sold us is that an average life isn’t, and can’t be, a happy one.
Having a job that you semi-enjoy with people you can semi-tolerate is a lot harder to get than it sounds. If that’s you, then you’re extremely fortunate.
Not everybody has to chase their dream job and get filthy rich doing it. Having a tolerable job with hobbies outside of it sounds like happiness to me.
A simple weekend with friends sounds like happiness to me.
Being semi-good at a musical instrument sounds like talent to me.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve yourself, or you should blindly chase ‘semi-happiness’ instead of passion, or to accept a mediocre salary, it’s just landing there is a lot better than you might think.
Of course, life’s too short to not become the best version of yourself or to not follow your dreams – that’s basic pop-psychology. By all means, chase after greatness.
Just don’t buy in to this narrative that ”good enough” is unacceptable – ”good enough”, sometimes, is indeed ”good enough”.
The only way you can improve in anything is if you accept how good you are right now – great performers don’t think they’re great performers – they improve, improve, and improve some more, and that’s why they’re great.
Sometimes we need to take the weight off our backs and realise that being average isn’t the nightmare we were told it would be.
Sometimes, it’s quite pleasant.