December 4, 2016

Average is Easy...And It's Ruining Your Life: 3 Ways to Take Action

Can you name what separates the success from the average person? Can you put your finger on exactly why certain companies continue to thrive despite economic turmoil, change in customer demand, or an overhaul of their executives, while competing companies fold under the same circumstances? When you look at a friend, colleague, or family member who continues to receive promotions at work, they are involved in non-profit organizations, are respected throughout the community, or have founded their own business before the age of 30, what do you attribute to their high levels of success? In a nutshell, what is it that makes success people and organizations different from everyone else?

You could argue that leadership plays a large part in success, and I would not argue against that statement. You could also push for determination, ingenuity, creativity, or developing a grand vision as opposed to just "winging it". In terms of your life, can you honestly state that you have accomplished what you dream of accomplishing? All of those big goals that filled your head when you were a child, have they become reality? Or have they been pushed to the back of your memories, stuffed away and covered in moth balls? Have you just settled into an average life?

Back in August, I wrote a blog post titled "Overcoming Average" that discussed how so many people seem to slip into a life of routine without ever seeking to break away from the monotony. In this post, I want to talk more about why some people are able to achieve greatness and leave average behind, and how you can take the same action in your life.

In my very humble opinion, those that achieve greatness can attribute a large portion of their success to an inner drive for improvement. It's the itch to constantly grow, learn, and innovate that makes successful individuals and long-lasting companies reach the highest peaks. Historic names such as Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Andrew Carnegie...All of these individuals did not accept the life that was given to them. They did not have a dream, look at the difficulties that were associated with that dream, and then give up. They built a legacy of hard work, strength, bravery, and a burning desire to improve either the lives of others.

If you're someone who is tired of being average, you'll be surprised to hear that it's relatively easy to start improving your life. If you're surrounded by men and women who are holding you back, have no inner drive for success, and can't seem to see the big picture, you can make small improvements in your own life to leave average behind. It won't happen overnight, but I promise that you will start to see a huge improvement in how you think, the overall quality of your work, and the ideas that come to you.

Here are some of the steps I've taken to help fuel my desire for success:

#1: Read More Books

I've mentioned this tip in numerous blog posts in the past, but it is truly one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your thinking. Think of your brain like a car. If you put low-quality fuel and oil into it day after day, you will receive poor results. But if you choose to input the best available, your car will perform at a higher level. In the same way, if you read books on personal development, leadership, and great businesses and their founders, you will begin to understand what it takes to achieve high levels of success.

This process takes time. One book will not make you an expert, just like one oil change does not remove all of the years of built up gunk and debris in your car's engine. But work the process and build a library of knowledge. If you can't afford to purchase a lot of books, go to your local library. They will have thousands of books available to you at no cost to you.

#2: Audit Your Inner Circle

Life coach and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." When you hear that statement, what thoughts come to your mind? Are you happy with the people you're surrounding yourself with? Are they making you better? Improving you in any way? Are they successful, and in turn fueling your own success?

If you're living a life less than one than what you desire, chances are the people you're spending time with are underachieving as well. They might be coworkers who spend their evenings drinking beer or watching 3-5 hours of television. They might be friends who work 40-50 hours a week, go home and sit on the couch, and then complain when Monday roles around again because they have to go back to a job they hate. Or they might be people who have fallen into a routine of average. They haven't picked up a book since high school. They have been at the same job for 15 years without progressing.

Take a look at the people closest to you and decide of they are making you better. If they're not, replace them with someone that you admire. Find a new job if you have to. Go back to school and surround yourself with fellow students who are seeking improvement. Volunteer at a non-profit in your community. Talk with the Chamber of Commerce about getting involved in local donation or volunteer groups. Doing things like this will help you find new mentors and individuals to surround yourself with. And once you do this, those people will begin to rub off onto you. It's inevitable. Just as laziness is contagious, so is greatness. The only difference is which you choose to aspire for.

#3: Have a Measurable Goal

Recognizing that you want more than an average life is the first step to improvement. The next is identifying what it is that you want to accomplish. And this does not have to be a huge, audacious dream. You don't need to start the next Fortune 500 company in order to be considered "successful". Just choose a goal that you feel utilizes your skills and knowledge to the fullest potential. If you're a people person, maybe consider finding a job in sales. Then set a sales goal each quarter and work towards it. If you find a non-profit that you enjoy, work to raise awareness by creating a fundraising event. Set a goal in terms of how many people you want to attend or how much money you want to raise.

Whatever your goal, it needs to be measured by the day/week/month. The reason for this is because you need different parameters to view your goal through. If you only measure it weekly, you may have drastic ups and downs, and your determination of success will be drastically altered. During the highs, you'll think you have "made it", while the lows may discourage you. So measuring your goals in different time frames will help you keep an cool head as you continue your work.

These are only three helpful ideas that you can take to improve the quality of your life, and there are dozens more. The purpose should be to achieve more than you ever thought possible. You have greatness inside of you. You just need to have the discipline to unleash it.

Average is a trap that millions of people fall into each year, and if you are not careful, everyone else will pull you down into a life of average.

It's like the story of the crabs in a bucket. If you place one crab in a bucket, the first thing that it will do is try to claw it's way up and out the top of the bucket. But once you put two or three additional crabs in that bucket, the other crabs will begin pulling the first crab back down. They will not work to escape, but to keep the crab that is attempting to leave the bucket inside. They will even go as far as breaking that crab's leg in order to keep him in with them.

This is how average people work. They won't go as far as to break your leg, but they will keep you locked into a life of average if you let them. Don't fall into that trap. Be great.

Daniel Moffett