Ten Percent Above Average

“You’re not average. You don’t want to be average. So get over it. Move on. And take above-average action. You can do better.” Unknown

Deep down, I’ve always wanted to feel special. But I always found when I was younger that there was nothing special about me. When I was little, I hung out with this group of friends. And one of them, he was great at sports. The other one was great in school. And the third one, the leader of the group, was just great at everything. He was also handsome and smart. Man, I was jealous of all of them. Anyway, so I was the fourth one in the group. And I felt kind of like a donkey in a group of horses. 

And as we got older, they joined a new group of friends. More often than not, I sat alone at the lunch table where we all used to hang out. Occasionally others would join me at the table but they were also donkeys. So I kept to myself. Being left behind was hard and lonely. It reinforced the belief that I wasn’t special. 

A year or two into high school I started to play Chinese Chess, a game called Go. I was not a good player, but I became obsessed with Go. And I started to work at it. I got good and competed in tournaments. I started a Go club in high school and another in university. Then I was asked to teach Go at a Montessori school. Suddenly, people were around me. I was wanted and needed.

When I started to dance, I was average at best. Again, I wasn’t needed and I was ignored. But I continuously worked at it. Then I became an instructor. At first, I was an okay instructor at best. And in recent years I’ve been working to hone my craft, to not coast. 

And the amazing thing is this. Last week, I received a picture. You can see it here. It is a comic strip that a helper made to celebrate me and my teaching style. It is hand-drawn and framed and it is incredible. But the most beautiful and amazing thing was that he sprinkled in analogies that I use in class. These analogies make me unique. You can see some of them in the comic strip like picking strawberries and dropping off the handkerchief. 

And I was looking at the picture feeling very proud. Because the truth is since I was little I’ve always wanted to be a superhero. And superheroes have comic books. And I finally got to the point where I got a comic strip. And then I frowned. Because I thought “Just a comic strip, not a comic book?” 

And I realized that they don’t make comic books about average. And that was the mistake that I made when I was younger. But what I learned is that everyone ignores the average, but you can’t ignore excellence. You can’t deny it. 

And excellence takes work. When I was younger, I never really worked at anything. I never really worked at school, or in sports. I just never pursued it. Effort is needed to achieve excellence. All you need is 10%. If you can put in 10% more effort than most people, you outpace everyone. 

So that’s what I’m trying to do. Put 10% more effort into my health, my relationships, being an instructor and being kind to myself. Ten percent more into everything. If we do this, we can all have comic books celebrating our lives. Because nobody celebrates average. Be 10% above average. You’ll get your comic book. So will I. 

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