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How to Stop Being Average (in 2020)

Stop being average

Is being average, ordinary, or common unethical?  How are you showing up in life?  How are you showing up for your family? How are you showing up for your health?  How are you showing up spiritually?  How are you showing up professionally?  Where is mediocrity showing up in your life?

These are powerful, self-reflective questions.  If you are unhappy with any aspect of your life, ask yourself what actions I am taking to change.  Own the actions in your life.  Stop blaming others or external realities.  Stop blaming the economy, your neighborhood, your family, or your circumstances.  These are all excuses.  Stop being a victim. There are four choices when it comes to the action we take in any facet of our life.

  1. We can choose to retreat.  Take less action or quit.  We can quit on our business or our family.  People do this all the time.  We encounter a rough patch, and we pull away both physically and emotionally.  We walk or run from the difficulties in our lives.
  2. We can choose to do nothing. Maintain the status quo.  Wallow in our own mediocrity and blame everything and everyone.  Doing nothing is a decision. Choosing inaction is an action.  I can complain about my fitness while choosing to do nothing about it.  I suck and I know it.
  3. We can choose average action. I am going to improve in 2020.  I will do more.  I will do better.  Sound familiar?  That is our guilt talking.  We know we need to improve, so we make mediocre promises that we never fully intend to keep.  Easy goals, easy challenges, easy risks. I will play it safe.
  4. We can choose massive action. We can go big for what is important to us.  We can go big professionally.  We can go big for our families.  We can take action that makes us afraid.  We avoid big action because we are afraid of what it will surface within us.  I don’t want to go to the gym because I am afraid of what people will think when they look at me.  I don’t want to go back to school because I fear others might think I am dumb.  Fear is the ultimate paralytic.

Where we are in life is the result of our choices.  Where we go from this moment forward is the result of our choices of action.  We are all familiar with the terms ordinary and extraordinary.  Ordinary is of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional.  Ordinary is plain or undistinguished.  Ordinary is customary; usual; normal.  Now let’s explore the terms extraordinary.  Extraordinary is beyond what is ordinary.  Extraordinary is exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree; noteworthy; remarkable.

When we look up the term anti-ordinary, there is no definition.  I want to introduce you to the term and conceptualize what it can mean for you and your organization.  I define anti-ordinary as a deliberate attempt to be other than ordinary.  In other words, it describes the action of differentiation; anti-ordinary means being different deliberately.


We seek the comfort and safety of being common over being set apart.  Organizationally, the same tendencies exist as well.  Competitive enterprises will mimic each other rather than set themselves apart.  Most people know the importance of differentiation but cannot overcome the attraction of being similar.  Consider this quote:

“Success is uncommon and not to be enjoyed by the common man. I’m looking for uncommon people because we want to be successful, not average” ~Coach Cal Stoll.

Common people run common organizations.  Common organizations are not going to accomplish the true potential for success.  Consider the remarkable companies of our time and how uncommon the products or services they produce are.  Apple is changing the world through products and services we did not know we wanted.  Google has taught us new ways to find information.  The ability to see beyond what is ordinary can be taught.  The confidence to call the sky green and the grass blue can be learned.

A deliberate intolerance for the common or ordinary will change an organization.  Refuse to accept commonplace.  The common individual will never accomplish the uncommon.  Organizations must learn and develop an intolerance for the ordinary by creating a culture for change.  From the incubation of small changes to the implementation of wholesale differentiation in any market, we can either stall success or create new opportunities by the actions we choose.  No matter what success you are experiencing today, you are at risk of becoming ordinary.

Becoming anti-ordinary is the result of the actions we choose in life.  We must be willing to do what has not been done.  We must go where others have not gone.  Be proud of your difference and celebrate the fact that you can be spotted immediately among your peers.  You are not another zebra in the herd.  Ignore the people in the cheap seats.  They are more zebras.  Criticism and judgment are indicators that you are on the right track.  Take massive action for your family, and they will criticize you.  Take massive action for your health, and they will criticize you.  Take massive action professionally, and they will criticize you.  Take massive action spiritually, and they will judge you.  Criticism and judgment mean you are no longer ordinary.  Seek it out.  Embrace it.  Learn to let it fuel your massive action.  Develop a deliberate attempt to be other than ordinary.  Be anti-ordinary.

Let’s reexamine the original question.  Is mediocrity or average unethical?  You are given one life and one opportunity to serve and make a difference.  You get one chance to impact humanity and you show up “halfhearted”.  You get once chance to use your talent, your gift, and you choose average.  I think you know the answer.