We can't all be superior, all the time. The bell curve is alive and well in the workplace.
How would you rank your abilities as a lawyer? As a professional? Most likely, in an age of self-esteem gone mad, you probably wouldn’t rate yourself as average.
“Average” has become a derogatory word.
Yet average is most likely to occur. It is the average of all performances, measures and observations. However, people now expect exceptional as the new normal, which is statistically impossible.
Proponents of exceptional behaviours often use examples like the four-minute mile. Originally thought to be unachievable, it was broken in 1954. The new record became perceived as the ultimate limit, only to be surpassed yet again.
A shift in the tail ends of the bell curve does not mean that the middle of the curve moves. Just because a tiny percentage of people can now run faster at certain time does not mean that the average time for all of humanity has improved. And what about people at the other end?
Consider your IQ, if you know it. Is it really so far above average that you have a globally superior intelligence? What about your height, weight, resting heart rate, cholesterol, writing and math skills, leadership and verbal communication? It is more than likely that most of your skills and abilities are not above average, that you look more like a bell curve – some bits are better than others, some worse and other bits the same.