Just Be Average.

I know what you are thinking. Who the hell tells you to just be average? Don’t people always talk about being great? Achieve your potential to the fullest and at whatever you do, excel.

But aren’t there disadvantages to being someone great too? Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela also had major tribulations at home. They may have achieved greatness but their personal lives were nothing but a turmoil heading for a recipe of disaster. Now you are thinking two things. First, not all great men have failed in their personal lives. Next, you would rather achieve greatness such as freeing a country or winning a Nobel peace prize and accept being a horrible father or a husband compared to being just any common man who is a letdown for everyone in his life anyway. Win Lose compared to Lose Lose.

Although, let’s not forget that everything comes with a price. You cannot possibly achieve greatness without passion and you cannot possibly be passionate without focusing on something hard enough and you cannot possibly focus on something hard enough without neglecting your other duties. The man coined Father of the Nation couldn’t manage to be a Father to his own son. While Mahatma Gandhi was focusing on fighting to bring down the British Empire leading his nation towards independence, his own son slithered into debauchery, transformed into various religions and finally met with a tragic end. Harilal Mohandas Gandhi was once quoted “He (Mahatma Gandhi) is the greatest father you can have… but he is the one father I wish I did not have.” Nelson Mandela on the other hand was married three times with his first two marriages leading to a divorce due to his political commitments and his inability in playing a decent role of a husband and a father.  In between lobbying as an anti-apartheid activist and spending majority of his time in jail, he proved to be a disappointment to his family life. After serving as President of South Africa, he then chose to marry a third time at the age of 80. And although, these two men had found their greatest cause of existence, it unfortunately turned out to be the sole reason for their personal failures. So whether your greatness verses your failures is a Win Lose situation or whether the heartbreaking fact that it is the only reason behind it is a Lose Lose situation depends on what side of the not so green grass you are standing on.

I was chatting with my client the other day, he was a senior consultant working for a software company who was serving an unusually long notice period and was desperate to quit his job because he had plainly gotten bored of it. When asked him why is his company asking him for a 6 month notice period? He said “coz I am great at my job and they are too dependent on me so I have to train someone else before I go. How I now wish I was just an average employee”. Somehow, that just stuck with me. He said it so matter of fact like, as if it was the greatest achievement someone could make, be just an average employee, nothing great. Who cares right? When asking my girl friends “Would you marry a great man? “Uh what do you mean?” they would ask. “You know someone great whose name could go down in history, someone who has probably invented something or someone who just thinks out of the box perhaps a leader or a politician of the nation?” “NO!” they would strongly reply because they just want someone ‘normal’ to live their lives with. No outliers, just someone who manages to stay in between the lines.

Interesting I thought, while we circulate videos on facebook and read thoughts for the day reminding us to strive to achieve the impossible, dare to dream and become someone great in our life; deep down we endeavor for nothing but normalcy. Perhaps to be someone great is to just lead an average lifestyle successfully? Could it be that simple?

Eventually, all you have to achieve is being true to yourself. Be who you are because if you are born for greatness or achieving to be great then be sure you’ll eventually get there and pay the price if at all and if you are not, then there is nothing to worry about because you’ll just be average and maybe that isn’t so bad after all.

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13 thoughts on “Just Be Average.

  1. ‘Deep down we endeavor for nothing but normalcy’ How can that be? because only a great man would strive for normalcy but if you are already average then why would you want to remain average?

  2. @ KRB – Great men are that scarce and that’s why perhaps even great women friends of mine would rather marry regular Joe’s.
    @ Harsh – I think you are missing the point I was trying to make which is the average Joe although strives to be great, deep down he wants to just be a regular guy. That is just a view point. Your argument is fair and just another view point.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. Its written in our gene-codes this is what we are ; never happy with what we have , we always want more and better…there is no way you can stay average..but yes you can stay Lazy!

    If we all are happy being average no one would go the extra mile and if that would have been the case for the last 500 years then we would still be driving chariots and bullock carts to work.

    Average Joe is average who strives to be great but deep down he wants to be regular guy? but he is a regular guy anyway unless he has split personality disorder.

    Average Joe is just a dreamer and not many girls would end up with an average Joe.
    you gotta risk it to get the biscuit!

  4. one crowded hour of glorious life, is worth an age without a name…

    i think we need to tell ur friends to have purpose in life rather than wishes of not having this and that in a man, greatness is a virtue some are born with, some achieve it, and some have it thrust upon them, be not afraid of it.. embrace it..

    for me greatness is not a fete but a challenge and a vision, tht being average just doesnt match up and fulfill.. yes, in every lil thing one does.

  5. @ troll – Average Joe strives to be great and if tomorrow he is thrust upon with greatness by being given the responsibility of running a country or fighting for freedom; what do you think he will do? Probably say no thank you and get back to his family life, his house in the suburbs, his fancy car and faithful dog. So in essence, you are right Average Joe is just all talk in other words just a dreamer. There are some that dare to dream and there are some that dare to do and it’s the latter that brought us to where we are 500 years later but it’s the former that helped us differentiate between the great and the average in the first place.
    @ vee – Thank you for your inputs, as always they have been ‘invaluable’. Ps – I do like the glorious life quote.
    @ Deepak- well said.

  6. so other than help us differentiate between the great and the average they havent been of much use….so why promote being average?

    In a scenario where I love MC Donald’s and hate Burger King..I agree its only because I tried and disliked Burger king over MCD’s that I pick MCD’s but all Im gonna tell people is that MCD’s is the way to go and BK sucks!
    why would I tell people “hey guys MCD’s is awesome but BK is kinda average…if u wanna have an average Burger go for it!??!!

    anyways it was a nice read but couldnt help trolling over it!

    cheers xD

  7. Aren’t there enough guides out there promoting greatness anyway? So if I am essentially saying that you know what you could go with Mcdonalds because its great but if you do choose to eat burger king then it isn’t so bad either. The content of the article is to console the average person that its okay to be average after all because everything comes with pros and cons.
    Never the less, I do appreciate the trolling 🙂
    Thanks for your comments.

    • Traditionally the idiom average Joe refers to “an ordinary person without anything exceptional about them”. Being humans we all achieve moments of greatness in our lives, but its important to remember all those meaningless times which resulted in that instant of glory.

      Without Evil, we would never be able to value the goodness in life. And without Average Joes, Great Leaders would never be deemed important.

      A Good read

  8. Being true to yourself is basically the ultimate self acceptance. Since the barrier between self and other is dispersed this self acceptance has a potential of universal acceptance. That goal – from the inside – IS greatness. From the outside, this person can be perceived as average but this perception is just a projection of the observer measured by the values of the society at a point in time… So, average is great if followed by full self acceptance. Ultimately, average and great are one and the same at the most fundamental level of existence.

  9. @ Omar & Alex – Great perspectives.

    “Without Average Joes, great leaders would never be deemed important and being true to yourself is basically the ultimate self acceptance”

    So average or great, bottom line is make the best of the choice you’ve made.

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