I Assume I’m Below Average
The following is taken from Derek Sivers’ blog post, I Assume I’m Below Average.
Ninety-six percent of cancer patients claim to be in better health than the average cancer patient.
Ninety-four percent of professors say they are better-than-average teachers.
Ninety percent of students think they are more intelligent than the average student.
Ninety-three percent of drivers say they are safer-than-average drivers.
When I learned this, it shook my soul. At first, like almost everybody, I thought, “Yes, but I really am above average!” Then I realized I was doing it again.
So I decided to gamble on the opposite. Now I just assume I’m below average.
It serves me well. I listen more. I ask a lot of questions. I’ve stopped thinking others are stupid. I assume most people are smarter than me.
To assume you’re below average is to admit you’re still learning. You focus on what you need to improve, not your past accomplishments.
Many people are so worried about looking good that they never do anything great. Many people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all.
You destroy that paralysis when you think of yourself as just a student, and your current actions as just practice.
Since I’m in an exploring/learning phase right now, this mindset is exactly what I need.
Often, I find ego to be the bottle-neck in learning. I think I know my stuff when I really don’t. Assuming I’m below average removes that bottleneck and allows me to live life as a student.
Life’s more fun that way.