You’re fluent in Spanish and proficient in Adobe Suite. Like, wow.
You went to that school? Pretty impressive. And you studied abroad in Paris for a summer — you must be cultured, too.
To top it off, you’re just a nice person. I mean, really, truly, kind. You have that contagious, outgoing personality, and that smile — that smile. Who wouldn’t want to hire you? Date you? Put you on their reality show?
A lot of people, actually.
Don’t fret; I’m in your boat. It’s not my fault I want it all (now). It’s my freaking mother’s. And my encouraging fourth grade teacher’s (that bastard).
Millennials shouldn’t take the blame for thinking they have something special, something unique, something to offer that stands out from the millions of others who walk, talk and think like them. We were told “you can do anything you set your mind to” as we drank chocolate milk from straws and watched Harriet the Spy be a badass.
So it’s not surprising we think we’re above average. It’s called the Above Average Effect (naturally), and if you were born between 1985-TBD, you’ve probably got it real badly. To those of you who couldn’t put two and two together, the Above Average Effect essentially means most of us have the inclination to see ourselves as better, smarter — more whatever — than the rest.
I mean, I get it.
You graduated with a 3.9. A Three. Point. Nine.
You had an internship doing (something cool) in (cool city).
You were, hands down, the funniest guy/gal from floor (#) of (name of college dorm).
And if I don’t believe you, you have an army of bomb-ass friends and family members who can attest to your above-average-ness (not to mention an ACT score that literally states you’re better than X percent of your peers).
You’re a result of years of parental adoration and self esteem building via Sesame Street. Elle Woods could have it all, so why can’t you? It just takes time to seize your dream job, your soulmate, the perfect life you’ve always wanted. Right?
I’m not trying to say I’ve figured it all out. I’m eating Wheat Thins in my boxers and am about 100% sure I won’t be able to pay rent on time this month. But, I have figured out one thing that will undoubtedly set me up for success in the months to come:
I’ve realized I am average. And you are too.
Say it! Scream it! Open your window and belt it out for the world to hear.
I know it’s sort of difficult to admit, because it means you’ve been wrong for the past however many years. But the truth will set you free.
Here’s why this matters.
If you think you deserve better things (i.e. a good job, a great boyfriend, an enviable apartment), chances are you won’t get them. If you just assume success is waiting around the corner because of the name of the university on your diploma, or how drop dead gorgeous you are, or how far above average you sit on the totem pole of people, you’re dead wrong. The sooner you realize you’re more like the rest of us than you think, the faster you will get that dream job. That perfect boyfriend. This place to live.
If you’re willing to admit you put your pants on one leg at a time, you’ve got a shot. You’ll have to work your ass off, get stepped on, swallow your pride, and still be able to turn the other cheek. You’ll have to take crappy jobs, listen to less informed people bark orders at you, and continue to grow through all the madness.
And then once you realize you’re pretty much average, you’ll discover what makes you above average.
We all have at least one thing we do really well. Ride a bike, solve math problems, paint fingernails, give advice. Maybe you have a huge heart (yes, that’s a strength), or maybe you can rap faster than Eminem. Whatever it is, find it, and make it work for you. Like right now, I’m really good at eating Wheat Thins, and I’m making it work for me.
If you think you’re entitled to success because you’re you, you’ll never find out what truly makes you special. You have to find your humility before you can find your superpower.
“I am not more gifted than the average human being. If you know anything about history, you would know that is so — what hard times I had in studying and the fact that I do not have a memory like some other people do… I am just more curious than the average person and I will not give up on a problem until I have found the proper solution.”