5 min read ⌚
Quick Summary: Todd delivers an interesting analogy that seems to unpack the concept of sameness that seems to prevail in this world. Is it hard to stand out? He points out what it takes to tackle this mediocrity and reach full potential.
Are you frustrated because you do not fit the average?
Don’t worry, none of us do!
Read on to find out more about averages and why you should stop thinking of them as relevant.
Who Should Read “The End of Average” and Why?
“The End of Average” explains where averaging comes from, and all the problems related to it.
It shows the way this world must change, in order to become a better place to live to all individuals out there.
We recommend it to all graduates who are looking for that job that would really look good in their resume, for the women who want to fit the average weight, and for everyone who just compares him or herself to some image imposed by society, that squeezes out his or her individualism.
Stop trying to fit in. Instead, shine.
About Todd Rose
Todd Rose is a high school dropout that eventually became a Harvard Graduate.
He is an author and is the director of Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Education Program.
The End of Average Summary
Every day we are fed different kinds of statistical data about the “average” opinion, character, body, skills, or conduct.
You probably spent school trying to get grades above average, you look at your love life, and base it on the average, et cetera.
Every day we get compared to this average, and based on in we feel like we fit in or not.
It has become so usual that we do not even question the meaning and value of these statements anymore.
However, it is time to change it!
Coming up with averages undermines what most humans fight for: individuality.
But if humans want individuality, why and how did this system start?
Averages began with astronomer Adolphe Quetelet, who in the nineteenth century tried to use averages to explain different human characteristics.
He did it because averages were quite useful when measuring astronomical characteristics, so he tried to apply it to human beings as well.
So, what did he do?
He gathered a large group of people and measured their psychological and physical characteristics, trying to find what he considered the “Average Man.”
However, averages cannot be successfully applied to people.
Most people possess different characteristics than the average, so the whole system is flawed.
Take for example human size.
We use multiple measurements to show it: we measure weight, hight as well as the size of all the different parts of the body.
If we average them, we will find that not many human beings fit into the average, since someone’s weight is not relevant to someone’s hight et cetera.
A person’s body has too many variables. And so does a human character.
However, the mind has also undergone the study of averages, and as a result, gives people an idea about the traits that are related to intelligence.
Needless to say that this idea is a wrong one, and is a source of many prejudices about people like: “nerds are not pretty” or “nerds are not sporty.”
However, the characteristics we have physically, have nothing to do with our mental ones.
Also, the speed of learning has nothing to do with intelligence and knowledge.
Furthermore, people have come up with different “best practices” to facilitate learning.
According to society, there is just one right way: start early, and proceed through a number of stages to reach a good knowledge level.
However, the deviation from this path is possible and may be done without any consequences.
In reality, there are many different ways to come to a certain outcome, and the success of these ways depends on the individual characteristics of each person.
The problem lies in the fact that anything that is not average is thought of abnormal.
Trying to fit in people have developed various fixed character traits that they show according to the context they are in.
However, that is not the way to shine.
Instead, everyone should just pay attention to and develop what he or she is good at, and try to strengthen their individuality.
Companies need to open up as well.
By searching for employees with strict characteristics that fit their company on paper, they re missing out on valuable talent with unique abilities.
But, if education is not the best way to evaluate a person’s capability, then what is?
Well, companies need to look closer, and look for their employees’ individuality and not “intelligence.”
Changing the practice of averages can change the world and make it a better place where everyone will feel like he or she knows their place.
This world needs to embrace individualism, and start offering education in specific skills, and not in broadly designed majors.
This would shorten the educational process and would make people more skilled in one area, giving them all the knowledge they would need when they start working the job they have chosen.
The fact is that averages keep us from reaching our full potential.
So, forget about statistics for a while and don’t worry if you do not fit the standard. Instead, allow yourself to shine.
Key Lessons from “The End of Average”
1. The Average Human Body is a Myth
2. There is Not Only One Path to Learning
3. Accept Your Individualism
The Average Human Body is a Myth
Representing anatomic characteristics with just one word is impossible.
Instead, when we describe more features, we must use different measurements and evaluations.
Just by knowing someone’s weight we do not know his or her height et cetera.
So, do not try to get to fit the average body standard: it does not exist.
There is Not Only One Path to Learning
Although we have grown in a society which believes that the only way to learning is starting education from a young age, studies have shown that that is not true.
Even children that did not go through the “average” learning process have developed normally.
This takes us to the conclusion that there is no right age and the right way to learn.
It all depends on the individual.
Accept Your Individualism
You have to start accepting your individualism, and companies should do as well.
People’s behavior changes constantly affected by the experiences they have as they live, as well as the context in which they function.
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The End of Average QuotesThe hardest part of learning something new is not embracing new ideas, but letting go of old ones. Click To Tweet Our modern conception of the average person is not a mathematical truth but a human invention, created a century and a half ago by two European scientists to solve the social problems of their era. Click To Tweet You no longer need to fly a World War II aircraft in an age of jet fighters, and you no longer need to weigh yourself against a non-existent Norma. Click To Tweet Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all ten dimensions. Click To Tweet From the cradle to the grave, you are measured against the ever-present yardstick of the average, judged according to how closely you approximate it or how far you are able to exceed it. Click To Tweet
“The End of Average” offers a fresh way to look at things, and at our society ruled by averages.
It is a great book that will open your eyes to all the stereotypes we believe in. Take a look at this book and find the path toward your own individuality.