Posted January 18, 2010

Nobody's Perfect. No one's Normal Either!!

I have a few clients that when faced with a challenge will always say that their performance wasn’t “good enough.” No matter what they do, it never seems to measure up to their own expectations of what they thought they should be able to do. Let’s say they are doing a balance exercise and they lose their balance once in a while. The point of the exercise is to improve balance, so realistically if their balance needs exercising, shouldn’t it make sense that they fall once in a while? Somehow, this thought process seems to not apply to them, as they have apparently risen out of their human form and ascended to some form of pure energy that has no faults or fallability that would cause them to struggle with something as simple as an exercise that is designed to make them struggle with their balance!!

Other clients seem to obsess about what would be “normal.” Whatever the task may be, they want to know that their efforts somehow are in line withthose of the rest of the population.  They constantly need validation that they are measuring up to the rest of the pack and that they are not “below normal” in any way possible, because then the floor would open up and swallow them whole and their world would end.

Western society seems to be obsessed with ranking, standardization, and “fitting in” to a pre-determined mold that makes us feel like we are going to be more successfull if we are “above average.” Let’s all face it. We are all imperfect, and we all have things that we are above normal at, and below normal at. It is these diffferences that make us each unique and that allows us to appreciate the spectacular. Additionally, standardized testing does not prove anything. To give an example, Wayne Gretzky failed miserably at the bench press test for the NHL standards (I don’t think he even got one off his chest!!), yet was the greatest hockey player of all time. Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players ever, was 6’9″ tall, and has only dunked in a game once. He proved the stereotype that white men can’t jump.

Normal doesn’t matter, and perfect doesn’t exist. For whatever reason we all want to be normal, but one thing I have found is that normal doesn’t get any attention. Some other words to decribe normal are “plain, usual, ordinary, and basic.” Who wants to be that!!?! That doesn’t sound exciting, enjoyable, or worthwhile!! There’s a famous saying in business that says “see what your competitors are doing, and do the exact opposite.” While that may be quite extreme if taken literally, I have always believed that standing out in a crowd has it’s benefits, be it professionally or personally.Success at any level is determined by those who are different from the rest, not necessarily better. In most instances, it is best to remember that we are all someone elses weirdo, and embrace that which makes us better, worse, and entirely different from those around us.