Yes to both, but I do not for one second regret the money I spent for my education. I had wonderful teachers and friends that I am still in touch with to this day. And after being in for several years, I prefer to be enlisted. Well, not quite. That is the formula for how I believe one should value a college education. But maybe not. Just my opinion. But I do try to be better than average in a variety of things.
Oh well I ought to just roll my eyes at the martyr complex. I can tell you stories about racism and its horrible effects. Perkins made a similar argument about class warfare and compared it to the attacks against the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. I have a lot of wealthy friends, but the only ones who make these type comments are all Republicans. Strange how people can discredit others without ever being in their shoes. The problem with a lot of America is myopia. Average in most things but good in others makes sense, though.
Just competent. But just build upon your competence. I want to add that my strategy is to be at least slightly above average in the areas I care most about.
Is it okay to be a Mediocre IT worker?
That being said, I do love being underestimated. Not hard to accomplish being a young who gets mistaken for much younger , black female in America. The author is right about the theme of lower expectations, but I use that to my advantage rather than for a pass to ride the wave.
This article lifts up the importance of tending to the constant tensions of life. I am a mentor for a middle school student and am striving to understand his purpose, goals and ambitions—which are not high. This article helped me see the importance of weighing two important purposes. Fantastic of you to mentor a middle schooler! I disagree about the weight comment but other people have covered with why they disagree.
You make other good points though. When I was a little girl I wanted to be wealthy. I wanted a mansion, a car collection, I wanted to own designer clothes and have a maid and a butler. I really did want these things. And then I grew up and I realized the things that people have to do to earn that kind of money.
And that they often have to sacrifice family and friends for that. I realized what corporate life is really like. No one likes to tell the truth about the corporate world and office politics to teens. I love spending time with loved ones. I love to going to the library and checking out books and other media. I love to travel and going to state parks, hiking, the gym, and visiting museums. I love volunteering in my community. I love to draw and paint. But even then there are many things you can do to travel inexpensively. I admit I have my toys such as my tablet, a nice TV, a decent computer, etc.
My house is clean but I prefer to not own too many things because I really hate to clean. I do travel because I love it. So saving and investing is a path to freedom for me. The attitude here is much different from the East and West coasts. After your necessities and certain luxuries are taken care of, you realize that time is a very precious commodity. This is a fascinating discussion. Deciding the correct balance for you is what determines your decision to excel at one area of your life vs.
Due to my excelling years, I was recently offered a promotion. Side-gig: below average: This is a craft hobby I do to wind down after the kids are in bed. It brings in some side income. For now, I am holding par until I decide to retire. This balance works for me. I enjoyed when my career was in excel mode, but 5 years was enough. I still like my job and now I get to do it from home, making for an easier balance with mom-hood. I like the balance!
Everything is rational! Thanks FS. Yes, exactly. At first, I had a really hard time downshifting my job. A few years back, I caught up with someone I knew in college. She never married and is able to focus full time on her work. Those are regrets I would not be able to live with. This is the least inspiring work of literature that I have read this year. I rejct the advice that I should get fat, rest on my laurels, not try at life, accumulate debt for education, and other generally self-defeating comments.
Money Mustache would say that you suffer from a complainypants disease and that the only good cure is a punch in the face. So I figured it might be best to try things a different way. I want to be me and enjoy a life spent embracing exactly who I am. I want to be exceptional where it matters to me. Football mattered to you. I could care less about sports, and feel no regret at all for never participating. That said, regrets are a part of life. There are always going to be choices, and sometimes choosing one means not choosing the other.
The choices that you make all lead up to where and who you are now. If you had played football, maybe you would have become a hot shot football player and lived a totally different life. The question is, do you like where you ended up? Also, your life sounds less like average and more like Huge Success to me. It all depends on what you want out of life.
My qualifications, education, experience line up with an administrator. Instead, I chose to be an under-achiever — a admin assistant in a government agency. Foremost, it is easy to be very good at my job.
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I have no one to supervise, no travel, and definitely do not take my work home. A flex schedule is available as no one needs me to make decisions. I like to run the numbers when evaluating options. But, my potential has been realized by foregoing the career aspect. My time, health and income are directed at family relationships, hobbies, and 3 trips to Iceland annually. It is an important conversation for all of us at any age.
Knowing there are options is invaluable to our quality of life. Whining about paying a higher absolute dollar amount in taxes when most of your income is probably taxed at the capital gains rate? Having to send your kid to private school in a cab? My heart just bleeds. Great article. I love the thought of striving to be average. Most people are right there. This choice is not a moral choice. Nothing good or bad about being average. I embrace being average. I just hope people who settle for average take a fling or two at their passions. Being average does not mean one does not have passions.
This may be what being average is. No, for me, there is nothing wrong. This is one of the greatest wrong teachings ever and it causes more harm than good. Does it mean being rich, lucky, comfortable, free from problems and all? The friend pointed to the Beatitudes. Another misconception is the parable of the talents. But NO. Theologians and experts who study this say that it has nothing to do with personal talents. The joy of being average is in my opinion being able to lead a balanced life and enjoy a little bit of everything that life has to offer.
Balanced life again like everything else is subjective as everyone would define it differently. I lead an average life and I am happy. I have almost always been average at slightly above. Time is all there is and there are various avenues in which you can strive to be better than most and while you pursue that, you lose time for other things.
You can be good at something and still be average. The balance of having a job that pays well enough to pursue my interests while giving me enough time to to cater to my emotional and physical needs is all I strive for. I totally cherish the joys of being average. Enjoyed your article. Your email address will not be published. Author: Sam Dogen Sam spent 13 years working on Wall Street in the equities department at a couple bulge bracket firms before deciding to focus full time on Financial Samurai , a personal finance site that helps you slice through money's mysteries.
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Like What You've Read? There are 94 reader responses to "The joy of being average". Three cheers for the average man! Hip Hip Hooray! Congrats on your averageness my man! Cheers to you as well. I think we really need to look at whose standards we feel we have to live up to and why.
Insightful and thematically relevant! Well done Linda! Cheers Rose! Nice to meet dual readers of both sites. Make the choice! You sure about that? If I did nothing and eat what the average person eat, I would be obese now. Fight on, and never surrender! I think you should give your best effort in whatever you do. Even if it ends up being average! Your story definitely describes the dangers of always trying to be the best: burnout.
It does become a struggle to find your own way. Nicole and Maggie— I got a when I tried your link. You are most welcome to : We move in on Saturday! Do I become the best at a very defined area at work, or good at being a generalist? HS football all the way! I would not agree that the College of William and Mary is average…. You need to decide for yourself what "success" is for YOU - outside of all that external crap.
Your girlfriend is with YOU for a reason. You're doing great! You may also like this article from The American Scholar. You may also like the blog Mr. Money Mustache Feel free to memail me anytime you want.
When I was 22, I was lazy as shit. Having a skilled trade like truck driving would have not even been in my realm of possibility at that time. Since then, I have experienced so many amazing things, changed careers twice, traveled, been in relationships, and completely transformed the way I live.
I was in an extremely competitive graduate program, and left because the competitive aspects got in the way of actual work. I took up running, enjoyed it, and eventually had to quit because it was destroying my knees. I took up cycling, which I loved. One of the things I learned from cycling is that there is always someone on the road who is slower than you, and there is always someone on the road who is faster than you. There is no absolute standard.
Furthermore, on any given day, there will be different people who are slower or faster, depending on conditions that day, the distance they have ridden previously, injuries, how they feel, etc. Even Chris Froome will have people who are faster than him, depending on the day; and the person who wins a grand tour may not ever win a sprint. Bruce Lee was amazing. But he also died too young. There may be other things that you will do in your life that will not be amazing in the sense that they will be captured on film and watched by millions, but they will still be important.
You have concrete interests in an area- pursue them. If you have interests in the Middle East and Central Asia, then try studying a language from that region. You never know where it will take you. If it turns out that you don't enjoy it, or it's just not for you, it's OK to stop. It's still an experience.
How to be mediocre and be happy with yourself - BBC News
As you proceed, you will also figure out the difference between leaving something because it isn't for you, or leaving something because it is difficult. Both are actually valid choices, particularly in light of whatever situation you are in at the time you make the choice , but being able to identify the motives behind making a decision of this nature will help you with future choices.
Any time you evaluate a choice you have made, you must evaluate it in the context in which it was made. That includes where your head is, at that particular time. To draw on another experience of mine that involves cycling, I only really got into the sport recently within the last five years. I am now pretty knowledgeable about professional road cycling, and seemingly without much effort.
In reality, it was probably no more or less effort than I had put towards other things, but because I found it particularly engaging, it didn't seem like it. I'm still kind of a shit cyclist, but I know a heck of a lot about the history of cycling and cycling technology, and mid-century professional cyclists. In the mean time, I did other things to keep mind and body together, and some of the opportunities I've had were in part the result of things I had done before, which at the time I thought would have no bearing on my later life. My life certainly hasn't worked out the way I thought it would when I was 22, but it's been pretty good.
Have you ever read the book Outliers? There will always be someone better than you at something. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to exist. Not all of us will receive Nobel or Pullizers or whatever prizes, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying to enrich the lives of people around us. Be understanding. Be helpful. Including to yourself. To say nothing of all the people's lives at stake if a driver is a knucklehead, which few are. There were a lot of BS movies and country songs that set some people's image of truck drivers; it has nothing to do with reality or their image among people in industries where they actually work.
My job is considered a managerial or executive position and some drivers make more than I do. More importantly, my grand-dad was a truck driver, and he was the best guy in the damn world. So please stop selling yourself short. More generally - geez you're You have time to be anything you want to be.
What use is anybody? In four billion years the sun is going to engulf the Earth, and it's really not going to matter who the best pole vaulter or whatever was. Be kind to people and enjoy yourself. It's natural to try to be "the best" at something that you love. Trying to perform any task perfectly can be a useful motivating factor to keep you improving, but it can also be a limiting factor. If you can't accept anything short of perfection, then you won't feel any sense of accomplishment when you improve incrementally, so you will have no motivation to slog through the hours or practice and failure that are required to get good at something.
So what? Everyone in this country cannot be a doctor, lawyer, history major or scientist. Every job has an importance and every job is respectable. If everyone was a doctor, who would take out our trash? Just because a bunch of people don't envy the expensive piece of paper you got from an ivy league school, doesn't make you worthless. Your life is for you, and live it how you want. I will say that it's pretty common to put stock into what people think about you when you're in your early twenties but there will come a time when you will stop giving a shit.
And you'll regret putting so much stock into something that is truly worthless. You might appreciate this person's musings on trying to find a purpose in life: How to Be Happy Many people will say that you need to find your own meaning, make your own purpose. But I think those who succeed always come down to the same one: The meaning of life is making other people's lives better.
AKA compassion, generosity, kindness. Because that's how we're wired.
Because that's how we evolved, as social animals. Making other people's lives better releases the happy chemicals in our brains. More reliably and sustainably than anything else. As part of my graduate program which I am pursuing in my 40's , I am currently reading Man's Search for Meaning. I highly recommend it. Seconding oceano's recommendation of the book "Outliers". As a truck driver, you probably have more job stability than your girlfriend with the fancy degree.
Until we figure out how to teleport things, said things still need to be moved from one place to another. This job cannot be done outside the country and its licensing requirements are such that not just anyone can be a truck driver. Every piece of fruit I buy at the grocery store, every bag of cat litter that comes to my doorstep and every birthday card in my mailbox was made possible by a trucker. I repeat myself a lot but whenever I get like this I remind myself of one thing: There is no "wrong" way to live. As long as you're alive; it is never too late.
I drove semi-trucks cross country for a few years. I started out hauling produce from the west coast to markets mostly in the Manhatten area--Hunt's Point, Oak Point. Sometimes to other markets in the general area. For backloads we hauled everything from North Carolina furniture to nameless masses of dry goods got off the ships at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. We made four trips each month, about 65 hours each way, driving as a team, I and the woman who taught me to drive, by keeping the truck moving for twenty hours a day.
I had as many as 72 hours off duty at a time, but only a couple times each month. I did this at a time when my life was in flux, and I had to make some decisions. The rigor and discipline of living on the road is balanced by a sort of philosophical warping of time and space. You get to set part of your mind free to absorb the span of our country, east to west, and the roads that link it in a way that reminds me more of capillaries than it does, say, traffic arteries.
The seasons move in waves, south to north, north to south. The cities are synapses of activities, all with a sameness, but each with its own visage. Your universe comes to you via the radio, or telephone communications, your life is linked by truck stops; your world is populated with dispatchers, lumpers, traffic cops, dangerous drivers, and outrages on the road.
Scenery is a wondrous, moving theory of places you'll never step out of the cab of your tractor to see. You live on truck time, set to the time zone where your log originates. You translate everything into the cabin of your truck. The rest is theory. You last six months and you'll finally be a decent driver. You last a year and you'll be a good driver. Right now the word good doesn't mean anything to you--you don't yet know what a good driver actually is.
In a year you will, but first you shall have to earn the experience required for all this to make sense. This will be one of the first of firsts. Looks like some of your other firsts have been squandered, but that's what young folks do, and that's why oldfarts like me make those funny faces when trying to talk about it. So here's the core advice suggested by my life's experience with trucks: If you can't take pride in being a good driver by then in a year , you will have squandered the Zen vision being offered you now.
You can't think it. You have to do it. See, it might not be trucks that rings that bell, but I don't want to muddy the water any more than necessary, All this, but you seem to be a lot smarter than I was when I was your age. Thing is, you are still a youngster. You'll know excellence in your life, but you have to earn it one day at a time. One day I just decided to get off the road, so I pulled my tractor into the dispatch yard in City of Industry, and walked away from it. I went back to my first love: horses and mules, and figured that was what I was all about posted by mule98J at PM on August 11, [ 7 favorites ].
There's a lot of good advice here. But what it comes down to is what is important to you , what gives your life meaning for you , what your values are. You're not accountable to anyone else for your life, you have to be true to yourself. And you can keep being there. It doesn't mean you should stop trying to find ways to be useful, or challenge yourself to do different things, aim higher, achieve more—but there are all kinds of usefulness and what seems like a little one to you may seem like a big one to someone else.
Some people aren't happy like that, though. They have a passion, an ambition, a dream, something that drives them to big things. So if that's who you are, think about it. What do you want? What do you hunger for? What are you too scared to take the leap and plunge into? Don't do it because you want other people to acclaim you as "the best", because you want prizes and awards and people patting you on the back for how wonderful you are. Do it because you have no other choice for your own well-being.
If you're not sure, take some time. Sit with yourself, challenge yourself, listen to yourself. Stop doing things because of how some nebulous other person will see them. Do things because they feel like the right thing to do, and be prepared to suck at it at first.
Anything worth pursuing will take time to develop skill, as others have already commented. I went back and read through your previous questions and wanted to point out a comment that I think was really important: What I am saying is that, I think you know you are capable of doing better than you have so far, and you will therefore have a certain amount of dissatisfaction about that until you start to get a handle on things and your ability to achieve.
I know this kind of dissatisfaction too, and I understand -- you are going to feel this way until you have achieved something you feel proud of. It's a divine dissatisfaction. And no amount of people saying it's fine to be average and degrees aren't important and blah blah is going to make any difference. So I think you should pursue what you really, really want. And then you won't feel average. You'll feel awesome. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. You got people that love you, you got people to love, that's a hell of a place to start. Keep in mind that being special or talented can cause other people to look at you not only with admiration, but with envy and resentment.
There is nothing wrong with being successful, of course, but just keep in mind that it does not earn you universal love and positive regard. Behind every great artist, actor, writer, photographer, CEO, Olympic athlete, extraordinarily beautiful person, etc. Some people feel that the success or good fortune of others makes them less successful by comparison. They often don't see the hours of practice you put in, or the hard work it took to achieve; and if they do, they may resent that you were "gifted" with the energy and drive to put in the effort.
Part of being successful is learning to deal with the haters. It is not a lot of fun to realize that your happiness is causing someone else to feel crappy about themselves, and to think crappy things about you. Keep in mind also that talent and fame won't in and of themselves make you happy, and that they often bring with them new and different problems of their own. Such as: -People who only like you because you are famous or talented or rich or beautiful, not for who you are on the inside.
They want to want what your money can buy them; or they want to be able to drop your name in conversation with others; or they are sexually attracted to you for shallow reasons but will leave you in a heartbeat should you lose your looks or money or fame. Everybody has problems, and there is a fly in every ointment. And, no matter how successful you get, there will always be someone better than you. You may think you will be happy if only you start winning regional photography competitions on a regular basis. But once that becomes commonplace, you will soon start to look up at the next rung on the ladder and feel much like you do today, that you are not successful enough or special enough.
And even if you climb to the top of the game, your star will eventually fade just as someone else's is rising. Age, time and changes in public taste will see to that. The thing to do is not to lust after specialness or achievement as ends in themselves, for they almost certainly will not bring you the happiness you think they will. Focus on living your life and doing what you love; and if something you love engrosses you so much that you become fabulous at it, the downsides won't be quite as painful as they would have been if your success had been based mainly on a desire to be admired.
How to be mediocre and be happy with yourself
The thing you are doing will bring you joy in and of itself, and the fact that people are noticing won't matter nearly so much, no matter whether they love you or hate you. The disappointing discovery that "charmed lives" are largely a myth. This is another thing to keep in mind, and it might be coming from the same place as one of your earlier questions where you associate having a degree with being personally "Valuable or Successful.
Happiness is sporadic. It comes in moments and that's it. Extract the blood from every moment. This guy, a guy who is one of the most successful actors of the last 50 years, feels that life is essentially a sad slog with a few great moments in between. Now, from my perspective, it's better to be sad and successful than sad and unsuccessful, so one might as well be successful, but not because it will make you happy. What's your goal here?
To finish your degree, make lots of money, be famous? I think you should make a try at those things. But it's not going to make you happy all the time. There are a few people here on MeFi who have talked about being happy and satisfied with what I regard as rather mediocre lives that I could never tolerate, professionally and intellectually speaking. But mediocrity and happiness are not incompatible. And if you're thinking that this "divine dissatisfaction" will be magically relieved just by getting a degree, getting a better job, or being famous, you're really, really wrong.
The process of going through those slogs of accomplishment might give your contentment and satisfaction, but you don't arrive at a destination and realize, "hey, everything is better now and will stay that way! I agree with the other advice you've been given in this thread, and I would add in particular that you need to figure out what you are passionate about--not just "I want to be great at something, anything!
Also, you are I hope this doesn't sound trite or condescending, but oh my god, you have so much life ahead of you. Over the next 20 years alone you will literally see the rise and fall of a number of people success-wise, both professionally and personally. People who appear to be living a charmed life right now will not necessarily be doing so in ten or fifteen years' time; others will surprise you by seeming to come out of nowhere with some wild talent but it won't really be from nowhere, because they will have been cultivating it all along.
But, finally, what I really want to say is that none of this stuff matters. I have some very modest accomplishments in a field I am passionate about. While I like some other people who are in the same field very much, my liking and admiration for them has little to do with their accomplishments the exception being people whose work I admire that I don't know very well.
But one of my favorite people in the world doesn't do any of that stuff; he drives a train for a living and not even a big fancy locomotive--a commuter train. Several other people that I think are the bees' knees are un- or underemployed. I remember your earlier question about not having a degree and I thought you sounded really cool and interesting then and think the same thing now when I read the details you've included in this question.
She opens it in a business-like way. Well, it's nothing special. Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. That's a very good question. Well, there are certain things, I guess, that make it worthwhile. Like what? Ooh, I would say Groucho Marx, to name one thing. And Willie Mays. Louis Armstrong's recording of Potato Head Blues.
Swedish movies, naturally. Sentimental Education by Flaubert. Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Better than Average: E Other editions. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Better than Average by Todd Brockdorf. Get A Copy. Published first published May 9th More Details