Shawn Achor proposed that if we study only what is average, we will stay average (view full video below). This is a true statement. If we only study what is average, then there is no time or allowance to study the outliers. The outliers are what fall above and below that average.

We talk about averages all time. Don’t believe me? Okay, sports fan, you’ve never looked at a sports stat? Have you never checked a batting average? If you took the ACT, you probably heard about average test scores. We even try to predict future averages using previous averages (Actuaries or Risk assessors).

Average has become synonymous with good enough. If you meet an average, then you pass. We pass people all the time because they meet a certain average we’ve deemed adequate. If you score at least a 70% on your driver’s license in some states, you still pass. The difference between 100 and 70 is 30, which is not a small number. Leaving a more expansive room for error.

If we studied the outliers too, we could identify patterns that help them succeed in the future. While also seeing what makes people fall short and help develop and give them the tools to succeed. We’d be helping each other reach our full potential instead of just being okay with moving the average and above. We wonder why people feel isolated or excluded. Stop being complacent with the average. It’s boring!