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Are You Average?

Average. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. How about you?

Where in your life ARE you "set" on average (statistically speaking)? Where are you not?

Where in your life would you LIKE to be average (statistically speaking)? Where would you not?

It's this last category that fascinates me the most. The parts of my life in which I would most definitely not prefer to be addicted to "average." For instance...

* Average number of children per family. In North Dakota, where I live, the year 2000 US Census says that the "average" family has .92 children. Ok, it's interesting to look down the list of states and see that families are a little larger here compared with some other places. But who wants to look across the table and say "good morning" to .92 of a kid? Really, what important part do they leave off?

* Fitness. Several years ago, I took a cardiac stress test (and passed, thank goodness). At the time, I was heavily involved in practicing karate -- ten to twelve hours a week. The stress test technician said my results were "above average." Well, I should hope so!

* Health. Imagine that despite your best efforts, you develop a serious health condition. You look at the statistics and learn that the "average" person with your same condition has a 55.8% chance of not surviving the next 5 years. Do you want to be average? Of course not! You want to know who's in the 44.2% that thrives, find out what they do, and learn to do the same things yourself.

(By the way, I have the pleasure of knowing a fantastic lady who, some 20 years ago, was told she had a 97% chance of not recovering from her condition. She's a solid 3-percenter, all right!)

* Marital relationships. Let's say you live in a community of about 40,000, here in beautiful North Dakota. Well, chances are that 120 of your fellow community members are going to get divorced next year. It's a rather low statistic, but who wants to be one of the 120? And of course we're not going to mention people who are married, yet dissatisfied with the quality of their relationship. Why not, instead, seek out information about what makes relationships work well and focus on those factors? Why be average?

* Dating. I recently read a statistic that says 85% of men are stonewallers (though it seems I cannot retrace my steps to find the source). Sorry, guys. A lot of women stonewall communication from time to time, too. Stonewalling is a term used by relationship expert Dr. John Gottman to describe a situation of deliberate refusal to communicate. Gottman considers it one of the 4 most destructive emotional patterns between intimate partners.

So back to the date. Let's say the guy or gal across the table from you unexpectedly clams up. Remember, 85% of men are stonewallers. Would you rather throw up your hands and pitch an otherwise appealing companion back into the pool or work together to improve your communication skills?

* Income. Enough said...

* Procrastination. According to procrastination expert, Dr. Piers Steel, 95% of us are occasional procrastinators. Worse yet, 15 - 20% of us procrastinate consistently. Knowing that even occasional procrastination wastes vital energy and depletes a person of their confidence, wouldn't it make sense to get past it?

This is one area of life in which I really do not want to be average! I've seen for myself the "miracles" that occur in my life when I take the one little step after another to remove obstacles to success. I've seen the same in the lives of my coaching clients. The results we've created go way beyond average.

How about you? Are you average? Or are you ready to become spectacular?

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Elizabeth Eckert can help you explore how simple everyday choices create health — or undermine even the best of intentions. With a background that ranges from energy medicine to structural bodywork to developmental psychology, this "Stick-To-It Coach" has the experience to support you in creating the healthiest possible expression of — you!

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Comments (3)

Hi, Elizabeth -- Sometimes I think I have 1.5 dogs, because the terrier is quite smart, and the Shih-tsu, dumb (but loveable). "Average" may not really mean anything, but I think psychologically, we want to know where we stand in relation to everyone else. Which is what keeps statisticians in business, I guess. Anyway, a thought-provoking post!

Ha ha Debra. :-) Sometimes I think I have 1.5 dogs because little Max is so full of spit & vinegar he seems like more than one!

Sometimes, though, I think we tend to hide behind statistical averages when life could become so much better!

Great article. I would like to think that everyone has at least one aspect of their life that remarkable, even if other aspects are "average".

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Elizabeth Eckert, Healthy Living & Wellness Coach

Elizabeth Eckert, PhD

I enjoy observing human nature and helping people be healthy. I'm author of Word Cures and creator of the WordCures.com healthy living website. (more)

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Note: The information and ideas offered here are personal opinions of a general nature. No opinion posted here constitutes medical advice, either general or personal. If you have a health concern, please consult with your medical doctor and follow his or her advice. The author disclaims responsibility for any misuse or misinterpretation of any opinion posted here.

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