You Are Not Average

“Average face of nine men. 男性九名の平均顔。” by Jun’ichiro Seyama is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here’s another sample from You Don’t Know Jack!, which you can buy here.

You’re not an average person. None of the things you do is average.

Average is a mathematical concept. It doesn’t exist. Take a group of people or a group of numbers. ‘Mode’ is the most common element in the group, and ‘median’ is the middle element in the group when the numbers or people are arranged in order. They exist. Average is the total of the group divided by the number in the group. Like I said, it doesn’t exist in real life.

Average is like a stereotype, or a persona. It’s a collection of traits that come together to form an approximation of some people, but not one person. It’s a guide for other people or organisations to box us up, define us and communicate with us as economically as possible. What it should never be is a standard by which we define ourselves.

The trouble with statistics is that they’re a guide to a group of things or people, but not to an individual. Just because the average exam mark is 57% doesn’t mean that you’ll probably score about 57%. Just because the average temperature in southern Spain is thirty-two degrees in August doesn’t mean it will be that when you go in August. Just because the average JOAT is a Jack or Jackie of five trades doesn’t mean five is the right number for you.

Resist the urge to consider yourself average. You aren’t.

Buy the book here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *