Carter Lowe Creator, entrepreneur, and self-care advocate
Reading time: 6 min

How not to be ordinary

Sometimes it seems that you are the most ordinary, the most average and cannot do anything special. Each of us is unique. Stop looking up to everyone else and build your own path.

In one study, Americans were asked if they liked their jobs. Do you know how many percent answered no? 99 percent (!). It turns out that almost every person is either in the wrong place, or cannot reveal their full potential in their work.

Why is this happening?

From childhood, we are required to conform to certain standards. We must study well, pass the exam, go to university, find a job, get married, and so on. Followed a sort of standard scheme of life path.

We are constantly evaluated by all indicators. We must be better than most, or at least not worse. The system does not let us out of its networks, and every step aside is difficult. We are taught all the time how to do it and what to do. But they don't ask, what do we want? What we can?

We are constantly evaluated by all indicators. We must be better than most, or at least not worse. The system does not let us out of its networks, and every step aside is difficult. We are taught all the time how to do it and what to do. But they don't ask, what do we want? What we can?

Where did it come from? Standardization and typification of all processes and the person himself began in the 19th century. Todd Rose's book Down with Mean is about this. Even in the book answers are given to the questions: Why do we generally strive to be so different from the majority? Is there a norm? Who invented testing and typing and why? Why is our education the way it is?

I want to share with you some important thoughts from this book.

The Norm is a Fiction

In the 1940s, the US Air Force faced a problem: their jets were crashing for mysterious reasons. The planes were durable, reliable, and the pilots were professionals. But the planes continued to fall until researcher Gilbert Daniels found the reason - the cockpits were uncomfortable for the pilots.

The cabins were of the same type and all its parts had standard average dimensions. It would seem that they should have been suitable for most pilots. In fact, the standard cockpit, built for the average person, did not suit any ordinary pilot. Not a single person fit into the average "normal" parameters. Some had longer arms, some had a wider torso or shorter legs. It turned out that the standard does not really suit anyone.

When this became clear and the cabs began to be made adjustable for the individual characteristics of each person, the number of accidents decreased significantly.

The fact that most people do not fit into the average parameters is confirmed by many studies. There are simply no average people. However, we believe in the erroneous assertion that average means like the majority.

The epoch of averaging

Calculation of average values ​​is done by everyone and sundry. Average salary, average height, average IQ. People try to measure physical data, and intelligence, creativity, and motivation level, and so on. Based on the average, we are trying to evaluate - who is better or worse?

Comes to the point of absurdity. I think everyone understands that USE scores will not tell for a person whether he is smart or not. Just like an IQ test won't tell. But we continue to use these inefficient evaluation methods.

It all started with Adolphe Quetelet in the 19th century, when he came up with the idea of ​​applying mathematical methods to humans. He collected a huge amount of data and deduced the arithmetic average of a person with all the averages - average height, running speed and so on. And this average man for him represented the ideal, the perfection of nature. Norm. Although, in nature, such a person simply cannot exist.

Then came Francis Galton with his point of view on averageness. For him, the average person meant mediocrity. If your performance is higher than average, you're done. If it's lower, then you're a loser. It has become fashionable to "be better than most."

And then another comrade named Frederick Taylor started the process of mass standardization of everything. Typical education, IQ tests, KPIs - it's all thanks to standardization. And a standard cockpit.

A person has turned from a personality into a small cog in a mechanism, into individuality has receded into the background.

In my opinion, this is from the human desire to simplify everything and find a simple solution. But man is not a simple linear system. Man is complex and multifaceted. And it can not fit into the framework of the IQ indicator.

Labels

Albert Einstein once said a brilliant thing: “We are all geniuses. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is a fool.”

First, each of us has his own range of abilities. Even twins are likely to be very different. And that's completely normal.

Secondly, a person cannot be labeled. Most of us believe that a person has all the qualities from birth (well, or acquires them in childhood) and character cannot be changed. This is not true.

Take even the standard test for introversion and extraversion. Many will not be able to classify themselves unambiguously as introverts or extroverts and will always be somewhere in between. Simply because sociability and openness depend on the situation and even on mood. For example, I may seem withdrawn to you if I am very tired.

Marshmallow test

Remember the marshmallow test with children for self-control? Children were left with one marshmallow and promised that if they waited 15 minutes and didn't eat it, they would get another one. Usually two-thirds of the children wait until the experimenter returns.

According to the results of the tests, such a quality as self-control was revealed. However, in reality, everything again depends on the situation, or context.

Conducted the same experiment, but in this the adult did not keep his word. Before the test, the experimenter promised to bring crayons for drawing, but returned empty-handed. And when during the test he asked to wait 15 minutes and promised to bring a second marshmallow, then almost all the children ate their marshmallow immediately. The children simply did not believe the promises of the experimenter, because he had already deceived them once. Self control has nothing to do with it. Everything depends on the context.

The future belongs to individuality

Each of us is unique. Stop looking up to everyone else and build your own path. What are your strengths? What do you do best? What do you enjoy doing?

Fortunately, the era of averaging is coming to an end. Now the world is more than ever open to self-expression. Companies are looking for truly talented people and do not focus on diploma grades. You can do anything and successfully sell your skills.