Being average? The battle is still on.

If you end up finding my story relatable, then you and I have endured the same agony of thoughts and fought similar battles within ourselves.

Growing up, I have always been an obedient student and a sincere kid…at least I like to think so, but my parents might beg to differ. I had good attendance, completed all my homework and my teachers had no complaints either with my behaviour or academics. Though I remember all the teachers irrespective of their subjects ending the conversation with similar lines, “Cherish is a consistent performer. She has the potential to get an A* grade with a tad bit more effort and support.” My mum kept on hearing these lines all years until 7th or 8th grade when she interjected, “If she is good and consistent then where is the result? Why is the proof of her hard work not shown in report cards?”

Her question shook me as she never shared these feelings with me. I started believing that I am lagging because I am unable to find the root or as I say the “thing”. 

I observed that being an obedient student will get you into more trouble than being naughty. If you are a determined kid, with good attendance, no complaints and you try to study, people will tend to increase their expectations from you. They will somehow assume that you have the capability to achieve anything – like good grades, winning competitions, etc. Then they will give you false hope about yourself. Now imagine, you are a naughty kid; poor attendance, average performance, and teachers are full of complaints. Certainly, the expectations from you are not very high, just a passing grade is expected. Then, in this case, if you get a decent grade, you become a star; the apple of everyone’s eye. 

I wanted to be that naughty kid.  

My story is not about grades and schools. It is about my observation of being praised that I conclude as: the praises that I got were synonyms to being an average, a mere mediocre and blasé boring student who never did anything that would upset neither the teachers nor any student. While I was sinking the feeling of me being average, my confidence, my personality drowned. I felt lost. All this time I was living a lie, a big façade where I was made to believe that I had the potential to do great things. Well then, why doesn’t my reality match or even touch the words those teachers said all these years? Why? The question persisted. 

No one knew the answers to the questions I had. My father was most perplexed. Where had all the ‘extra-ordinary’ things that I was capable of apparently gone?

The same story, the endless cycle. Average, average, and average!

I read this morning’s quote, “God repeats lessons until it is learned.” if this quote is true even by a fraction, then my whole 15 years of schooling and life is lived by learning a lesson that I have not yet learned. Honestly, it sucked being average. I needed to find ways to defend it. I read books like, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, ‘The Power of the Subconscious Mind’ and many more, but the only author who shared a similar feeling to mine was Mark Manson. His thoughts made me feel calm and okay about being AVERAGE

“There are 7.8 billion people on the planet and about 10,000 or so have a major worldwide influence. That leaves the other 7,799,990,000 of us to come to terms with what limited scope we have. If everyone is extraordinary then by definition, no one would be extraordinary.” How true! I came to terms with the fact that it is alright if I am not a part of those 10,000.

It felt good, can’t deny that. After reading this, my ideology and perspective changed. It comforts me to think that if someone has been a topper or secured the first position in academics or otherwise, it’s just because of me; because I am an average someone is a star; because I am a runner up someone is winning. If I wasn’t an average, no one would have won, we all would share the same platform.

Honestly, the average is the new standard of failure. The world wants all-rounders but they don’t want all-rounders who are good enough in all activities, they want all-rounders who outshine in all areas, who are more than good rather who are excellent. And I am a good all-rounder, not an excellent one!

Students who are like me are torn between whether to accept being average or find that “thing” which lacks or stops or pulls us back from winning/securing the first position. It is the same as between the devil and the deep blue sea (आगे कुआँ पीछे खाई).

If I accept being average would I stop myself from achieving anything great? If I accept that I am mediocre and boring, will it stop my growth in any which way? What is the harm in being an average? Is it just that my ears are not used to hearing this or my mind refuses to accept it? 

Well, my struggle is still on- either to accept the word ‘AVERAGE’ and end my struggle with myself here or to make all those high sounding words said by my teachers come true.  

I think I will fight on…

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