My mother was appalled to hear me boast about my averageness at the most recent New Zealand Business Women’s book club brunch.
Why was my mother at book club?
She is visiting from New Zealand and had read the book we were reviewing, so she qualified to join our session.
Why were we talking about being average?
We were summarising the ways we can live life without giving a f*ck according to Martin Mason’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.* His book tells us we need to identity what’s truly important to us and let go of everything else that complicates life.
Under the heading The Tyranny of Exceptionalism Mason makes the point:
Most of us are pretty average at most things we do. Even if you’re exceptional at one thing, chances are you’re average or below average at most other things. That’s just life.
If we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people and the apparent exceptional things they’ve achieving, it’s pretty difficult to be happy. We should not give a f*ck about what other people do. We should value who we are and what we are capable of.
Why was my mother appalled to hear me boast about my averageness?
Growing up she always pushed – or maybe supported is a better word – my sister and me to try new activities, learn new skills and study hard. She is afraid that by accepting my averageness I won’t go on to achieve anything more. To use her words, “We need to keep moving forward”.
I disagree, and that’s why Mason’s point resonated with me. By accepting my averageness I’m accepting who I am and what I’m capable of, warts and all. I’m not comparing myself to family, friends, work colleagues or contemporaries. And, most definitely, I’m not comparing myself to people I read about or see on social media. I believe embracing my averageness is part of the journey to true happiness. And, happiness is something I do give a f*ck about!
So, who do you agree with? My mother or Mason?
* Mark Manson. (2016). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. HarperCollins.