Jack of some trades and master of maybe (N)one!!
There has been enough written about the talented, the top of the class, the prodigy and the outliers. Today I want to explore being average- I am one of them and I write that with pride.Of course I do have my sparks of brilliance like we all do and I am not devoid of talent but on a larger global scale, on many fronts I am average (the middle of the class)
It is an extremely liberating space to be. You don’t have the pressure of mastery or the worry of failure. Being average allows me to explore various spaces with equal enthusiasm. People who know me well enough through school and college will vouch that I never excelled anywhere (The regular report card parameters of academics, sports, art and drama) yet I participated in everything, enjoyed it all and always managed to score between average and sometimes above average. Being average may be joy for me but for many it is a struggle. It is not an accepted standard of performance even for the little people of this world we call children. God forbid if they are born to high performing parents with lesser sensitivity to being average.
I want to give excellence its due and by no means am I undermining mastery. I am just shifting the spotlight on being average. I realize most measures are relative and lead to comparing one against the other starting from school to work and beyond. I often wonder whether these parameters can ever measure the uniqueness of an individual. No two brains are alike and hence no two individuals can be. The social and financial system somewhere decided which skills and attributes are worthy and which are not. So the world that defines people into boxes or bell curves at best is only one part of the whole picture.
If you carefully discover every individual, there is something that you can celebrate that person for. It’s easier to celebrate exceptional talent, it’s just so visible. It’s harder to celebrate the average person in class or at the workplace or even in society because it takes effort to pay attention and really bring out the best in people. If teachers, leaders, parents did invest that time, you never know they may transform many more from average to excellence. It could be a single instance in the classroom or the meeting room that could have pushed someone back into oblivion. Labeling by family/ friends/bosses can make you doubt yourself for a lifetime. We as humans are extremely fragile and without validation sometimes cannot move ahead. There are the more fortunate ones who worked well, got recognized and never looked back and then there are the REST.
My hope then is really two things: Firstly for a person to be really able to view themselves as unique and not fall into the measurement trap. Let every report card, appraisal and profiling that you do give you a window into yourself to develop, but let that not define you. Secondly as much as we celebrate excellence we must look out for uniqueness to celebrate equally.
The only validation/measure that really matters in the end is the person that looks back at you from the mirror. Did you do everything to make the being in the mirror the best version of itself? Let that be the only measure!!
Sanah Singh Tomar (05/09/18-11)
Originally published at www.linkedin.com