Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deviate From the Average

Blue Bean
Originally uploaded by Fixed Image

Wikipedia says, "normal refers to a lack of significant deviation from the average." Very few want to be seen as abnormal. To be normal is, well, the norm.

Most of us strive to be normal. We want to lead a normal life. We want a normal job. We want normal food. We want normal relationships. We want normal this and normal that. Then when things are abnormal we feel uncomfortable. We don't like abnormal.

There's nothing wrong with normal. It's just that it is rare we excel in life (any aspect) when we focus all of our energy on being normal. We lack any significant deviation from the average.

  • In 1903 it was normal to travel long distances by train, ship, or that new invention the automobile. It was abnormal for the Wright Brothers to think human flight was possible. They chose to deviate from the average.
  • On December 1, 1955 it was normal for a black passenger on a bus in Alabama to give up their seat to a white passenger when ordered. It was abnormal when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat when the bus driver ordered her to. She chose to deviate from the average.
  • In 1789 it was normal for nations to be ruled by a king who would pass on the throne to their relatives. It was abnormal for the Founding Fathers of the United States to believe they could be successful without a monarchy leading the way. They chose to deviate from the average.
So why do we focus so hard on being normal? Why do we fear the abnormal? It's clear to me that we should be deviating from the average a little more often in our lives.

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