The word ‘average’ draws its origin from the French word ‘avarie,’ which quite literally means damage. It was used to denote damage to a ship or cargo that was being transported across seas from one place to another. It went on to indicate the financial losses made due to goods being lost or damaged at sea- which is exactly what being average entails.
The way our brains are designed is that we see hundreds of new faces everyday, we make our way through scores of situations, we hear a million things and say far too many too, but we only remember a handful of them a week or so later. It’s usually a weird mix of the best and the worst ones which go on to stay with us over long periods of time. What was your favourite thing to on a hot summer day growing up? What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in public? These are examples of questions we readily have answers to, because they’re a clear indication of the best and worst aspects of our memory. However, all the things that lie between the best and the worst ones are often forgotten and ignored. The key to being remembered is stepping your game up and daring to rise above being average or mediocre.
How does one stop being average?
Here are a few key lifestyle-changes that could transform the way you think and work:
(1) Surround yourself with the people who bring out the best in you: We imbibe traits and qualities from the people we spend the most time with, consciously or subconsciously. You can’t be exactly like each person you hang around, but over time, you become an average of all their qualities (see what I did there?) If you choose to spend most of your time with people who’d rather put off their goals to another day and choose to procrastinate, you will find yourself encountering more pitfalls along the way. A study shows that you’re the average of the five people you hang out with the most. Surround yourself with those who encourage you to hustle harder, manage time well, and encourage you to dive to the depths of your multi-layered persona and pick out the choicest of qualities that you’d require on your way to getting to where you want to be. The spirit of perseverance is like a deadly virus- it’s highly contagious. The more you see the people around you work harder, the more you’ll be motivated and driven to accomplish.
(2) Get used to being uncomfortable: Why do you make resolutions at the beginning of each year? Why do you make promises to yourself? What we’re ultimately seeking is happiness. We derive happiness from our accomplishments- but we often forget to identify the difference between pleasure and happiness. Being in your comfort zone and taking each day at a time might give you pleasure, but the ultimate goal should be doing things that you wouldn’t usually do and being rewarded with the gains. For instance, two friends decided that getting fit would be on the top of their lists of resolutions for the year. Each Sunday morning, one of them would get up at the crack of dawn and go the extra mile to ensure that he would stick to the promise he made to himself. The other would wake up at noon, binge on unhealthy food and spend his day watching movies, promising to begin his workout regime the following week. At the end of the year, when they met to compare the results, one of them had improved the quality of life drastically- while the other had failed to keep his promise. One of them had gained the access to a healthy future, while the other had gained a few kilos and a bunch of movies to tick off his watch-list. Both of them had gained something- two things so different. Only one of them could manage sticking to his initial goal. You be the judge. 🙂
What’s often pleasurable and easy doesn’t guarantee long-term happiness.
Breaking past the barrier of being average necessarily means doing things that others wouldn’t usually do. It’s easier to sleep in on a Sunday, than sweat it out at the gym. However, the initial discomfort is compensated by the rewards and results achieved at the end of the process.
Quoting Anne Frank, “Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”
(3) Understand the value of time and the importance of review: We often fail without even beginning the task at hand, simply because of the belief that we have loads of time. Restrain and retrain- is the key technique. Restrain yourself from wasting too much time and procrastinating and retrain your brain each time you feel yourself going off-track with your goals. If you have an assignment due in two weeks, start working on it today. That way, you’ll have enough time to assess and evaluate your work, and improve the quality of your work. The best scenes in movies often require multiple takes and the best books are often published after scrapping half a dozen average manuscripts. Utilise your time wisely and review your work well. It’s important to develop a keen understanding for the sense of urgency and knowing when it’s time to get down to working.
(4) Never stop learning: The process of learning never stops. The most successful people in the world would always include reading as a key-trait of their personalities. You can never get to a point where there’s nothing left for you to discover or learn. An average person would copy an article being used as a research resource for a school project word for word, while a person who has a desire to stand out would rather do some additional research. When you stop learning, you restrict your growth. How many books do your read in a year? How many times have you wanted to know more about something than you were required to? Ask yourself these questions and you will realise just how important learning is, as an ingredient for success.
Most people are fiercely intimidated by the fear of being average. However, instead of plainly brooding over the uncertainty being average brings into your life and your future, it is important to help this serve as a launchpad, which could catapult you towards your ultimate destination. Handling it positively is as important as acting on it.
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