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William S. Cottringer

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Being Okay With Being Average
By William S. Cottringer
Last edited: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

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Recent articles by
William S. Cottringer

• 20 Writing Tips for Better Results
• Elements of Critical Thinking
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This article gives some sound advice about dealing with being average in a way that can help eliminate the negatives.


Bill Cottringer
Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common. ~Satchel Page.
    In reality, the great majority of people fall within the “average” range of the so-called Bell Curve. Most people are average in all the many things we seem to need to have to succeed past life’s challenges and get to the finish line with a prize—intelligence, aptitudes, motivation, self-confidence, energy, creativity, personality, good looks, moral development, wealth, health, happiness and a slew of other characteristics and skills.
     Although most people are in fact just average, many struggle with accepting and dealing with that bleak reality given the over-glamorized, unrealistically ideal image and results loudly packaged by the mass-marketing media machine (4-M). For many average people, the gap between where they are and where they would like to be, with a little influence from 4-M, is too huge to want to do anything about it. In too many cases the result is a sad, quiet life of desperation going unsung.
     So, how can just average people learn to better accept and deal with these average cards they are dealt with, so that they can feel just as happy, successful, worthwhile and contented as the ideal shadow-makers that set the high-in-the-sky standard? Here are a few solid tips from the unglamorous, average, in-between trenches of the Bell Curve:
1. First, it is generally a good idea to understand and accept the reality that growing your acceptance and patience with time is probably the main test in life that puts all humans together in the same boat. This is true no matter how high up on the Totem Pole the IQ, happiness thermometer, work success, achievements, good looks, bank accounts or anything else are. If there is one thing we can all call the same common monkey on our back, it is in having to face unacceptable things that we all have to eventually learn to accept and be more patient with. Of course, death goes a long way to make a level playing field.
2. The greatest gifts we are all given equally at birth are opportunity, choices and time. Even average people have the very same and equal opportunity and time to make all the right choices to get somewhere good in life. The thing to accept here is that it just might take a little longer, be a harder road to travel on and require more effort, than is advertised by the 4-M. But my personal experience has been that the longer I had to wait for something good to happen and the more effort I made in trying to make it happen, the more I enjoyed what I ended up with, even with just an “average” prize.
3. Each person in the Bell Curve, from the middle to both ends, is given a unique mission in life and a special gift to accomplish that personal purpose. Success equally eludes anyone—no matter where he or she is under the Bell Curve—until that unique purpose is discovered and the gift is developed and used to get results in helping us all unravel the self-imposed limitations of this monstrous, hostage-taking Bell Curve.
4. We invented the Bell Curve as a short cut to predict important things like achievement potential in school and work, so we could see the end before it happened. In doing so, we crammed a lot of untrue realities in the middle of this Bell Curve that have had very unhappy endings for too many good people. Of course what we “invented” we can just as easily un-invent, especially when it becomes obsolete, like all the seemingly best things usually do sooner or later. This is what popular new “theories” do, like The Secret or Positive Psychology—trying to make us more aware of the reality of unlimited human potential to go beyond average in ways we never imagined.
Opportunity, choices and time are really all equally distributed, no matter what your present perception may be. And “Average” is just a word used by people who don’t want their particular spot on the Bell Curve too crowded. In the end, the Bell Curve is just a pencil line that can be easily erased. It never really existed anyway.
William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Passwords to The Prosperity Zone, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, Reality Repair Rx and reality Repaircoming shortly from Global Vision Press. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or

Web Site The Prosperity Zone

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Reviewed by Cynth'ya 11/21/2009
William, this is a story that should be shared in every single public, and private school and corporate newsletter. It's one thing to settle for being lazy...which is a sin and a shame to our God Given uniqueness and greatness. My recently departed spirit of my Grandmother Ruby used to tell me while she was with us, "Never think of yourself as better than anyone else, but always think of yourself as just as good."

When the world's "experts and critics" spend less time trying to normalize everyone, and more time just accepting and encouraging and yes, being patient with everyone who wants to excel because it's what the person wants--not what others expect--then we can take that freakin' Bell Curve publication (a book which even I have in my personal library for future fireplace fuel) and categorize it for what it truly is: an opinion of people who think they are better because they have education, but no knowledge nor wisdom.

Thank you Will.
Reviewed by William Cottringer 11/21/2009
Thank you for your acceptance of the article Elizabeth. Check out Reality Repair and tell me what you think.
Reviewed by Erin Kelly-Moen 11/14/2009
Wonderfully soothing and helpful, William, thank you for your words.

Love this passage: "the Bell Curve is just a pencil line that can be easily erased. It never really existed anyway."

Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen

Books by
William S. Cottringer

Reality Repair

Reality Repair Rx: Knowing What's Up and What's Not

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Do What Matters Most

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P Point Management

The Bow-Wow Secrets

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You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too.

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Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

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