Why do we as a society act as if mediocrity is such a shameful thing? Most people are average—by a huge margin—yet we pretend as if everyone has the potential to become “great”. Children are pushed to maximize their efforts in the pursuit of material bliss only to grow into miserable adults when life comes back mundane.
We Can’t All Be At The Top
The irony in our average-shaming society is that the ones who ascend need the average people in order to maintain position. People who become rich use the money of the average populace to amass wealth. I have always said that the quickest way to wealth Is to find the best way to exploit the ignorant and it is very true of a lot of successful businesses.
Athletes, their coaches, and the team’s owners and general managers make ridiculous salaries because average people pay for season tickets and buy the team’s merchandise. Celebrities need average people to watch their shows and movies, buy their MP3’s, visit the gossip websites and click their ads… you get the picture – one hand washes the other.
What would happen if we were all Oprah Winfrey’s, Michael Jordan’s and Beyonce’s? If the measure of the popularity scale is based on money or talent, how would a new baby get into this fellowship without average people to ascend him/her? We cannot all be “great”, our society does not allow for that.
So Why Shame People Who Are Average?
Day by day I hear people bragging about their positions at work while laughing at others who aren’t making as much as they are – or so they assume. Many white collar professionals are good for this type of thing, we see ourselves striving to be moguls yet unaware that we are just as average as the guy who mows our lawn.
We tell or kids that they must work hard to become the next Kobe Bryant – yet fail to tell them that even if they fall short of Kobe, they can still live a worthwhile and happy average life. We project our unhappiness at being average unto other average people who we feel better than due to salary and position and we do this freely without acknowledging the fact that everyone has a role.
Every king needs vassals, every pro athlete needs fans, every broker needs clients… you cannot have an elite class without a standard and lower class to keep it afloat. This is why it is an ignorant and immature practice to sit up in an office—where your average salary is only a fraction of your boss’s take home—laughing at your cousin who manages a McDonald’s. Who are you?
Know Your Role
We all have a role to play and while striving to reach your highest potential is a thing that we all should do, we could do so much better about knocking those who aren’t here with us. Think about this the next time you move to make fun of someone at a job who makes less than you do, or someone who has decided that being average is fine and are happy in their own skin.
Not everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, a millionaire, or a superstar athlete; some people just want to stay under the radar, raise a family, and die painlessly at the end of their years. Who are you and I to tell them that this is bad? Average people make the world go round.