Einstein was a normal guy. As most people have heard, he was dyslexic and had a very difficult time in school. When he figured out how to cope with his dyslexia, he did decently in school and worked at a patent office because he couldn’t quite figure out how to make himself stand out enough to become a professor and researcher like he wanted to become. He works and continues to research on his own doing what he loved on the side. Step by step people recognized his genius. He went through the same heartaches as the rest of us, he went through struggles like all of us have. The thing he kept up with, though, was his consistency of knowing he was just average for himself and doing what he loved day by day until he was recognized as the genius he is.
In my sophomore English class, I have noticed that there are a few different categories of students. You have the students who want to be famous, but don’t work hard. You have the students who want to be rich prestigious doctors and lawyers, but they will switch their majors 4 times in college and end up in something completely different. You have the students who have no idea of what they want to do because they are torn on doing something they love and doing something their parents want them to do. But, there is a very small portion of those students who know exactly what they want to do and they are so passionate and driven that they don’t typically stand out at first.
That small portion of driven students typically start out like everyone else and see themselves as nothing special—no matter their social status or culture. Because they see themselves as just like everyone else they work harder and are always wanting to learn more. The minute they stop becoming learners and workers and start thinking they are experts is when they stop succeeding and improving.
One of my favorite books is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In this book he talks about the secret to being successful, and points out that—spoiler alert—all successful people are average. The only difference? They were given the right opportunity at the right time with the right passion when that right opportunity came about. Yes, some had some above average capabilities, but overall they were just average people who knew they were average so they worked hard and found opportunities to dive into their passions. People who see themselves as average set goals for themselves to be happy and end up finding more success and satisfaction than people who think they are above average.
When my babies were little tiny and I would bring them to the doctor for their wellness checkups, I would get so anxious that something bad or abnormal would be diagnosed. The smallest bump on their arm would cause me to ask my friend Google MD what was going on and more often than not I would see that they had an immune disease and needed to go in to the doctor immediately. Once getting to the doctor and her kindly explaining to me that it was just a mosquito bite, a wave of relief would crash over me that my baby was just average. If they did anything earlier than other babies, I wouldn’t think anything of it because there were so many other things that they weren’t ahead of the other babies—really, they were average.
Somewhere when kids are growing up, parents start to focus only on the things that make their child better than other children. They are no longer satisfied with average, they want their children to be better than everyone else in some form. Then, the children catch on and they become obsessed with this idea of being the best and comparing themselves to others. Well, my goal is to change that. I want my children to be average. I want to be average.
When you see yourself as average, you learn more and work harder. I’d rather have a life of that than one of ease and luxury. The most inspiring people in this world didn’t start out as super successful people, they all thought of their lives as normal and average.
My Children are Average
Average means hard work.
Average means never being the best.
Average means becoming depressed.
Average means developing anxiety
because you aren’t the best.
Average means never being satisfied.
Average means constantly being beaten down
because you have a drive to be the best.
Average is hard.
Average means wanting the best,
and without realizing it, becoming the best.
I want them to be average.
Average is best.
Samantha Weed is a Masters student in the College of Eductation