You won’t be normal, because you don’t want to be. You won’t win striving to be normal, you’ll fit in. You’ll be in the pack. The pack is safe. This post is about why “normal” is the wrong attitude in your 20s.
Lots of people are normal. When other people ask them what they do, the inquisitor soon says, “That’s nice, that’s a good job.” What the low-praise compliment means is, “Good, someone who isn’t better than me, this person is normal.”
The 20s will always be the time to hit highs and lows. Somewhere in between the two you will find your personal average, which will be far from normal.
Why do so many people insist on blending in to the world as it is now? After all, no one has ever joined a sport just wanting to be good as everyone else. We join groups to be better and to stand out. Imagining an enthusiastic new surfer, she learns that for a time she will have to join a small wave and let it carry her. Unchanged, the wave will continue a motion, except she’ll be in it. That’s how a huge majority of people approach life. First they learn the ways, then they step in stride, finally the ride carries them until it’s over. But the surfers who love the sports most will say the fun begins when you make the move to slash and ride across the wave. The ones making their mark in the water smile the most even for long after the ride is over.
There are enough people that enter the 20s like it’s a race to be “normal.” They have observed for years how the world works and hold a calculated approach on how to enter and just fit in. But what they won’t calculate is their own average, their own normal. This is what the 20s should be dedicated to because each one is different. That means trying new things, shrugging shoulders in failure, and feeling what’s right. When years pass you by and you eventually normalize, that is, find balance, you won’t be normal, you’ll be better.
Finding your own normal means going far to the left, then far to the right, and normalizing where the two ends balance. There is a “normal” in American society itself, so why shoot for the middle of it? Thinking about it in mathematical terms, continually pulling up the average will actually bring that number down. We want to bring the average achievement of our society up. That means go big when energy and passion are peaking. Choose a highest aspiration, and go for it. That doesn’t mean shoot for celebrity status, make the most outlandish comments, and try to get the most press. That’s not going big, that’s going nuts.
Instead, whatever you want to do, be above average. You’ll be the reason the average ability of auto mechanic has gone up. You will have raised the bar for others to enter. Be the best financial analyst in the world. Raise the bar. We’re in our 20s and we can lift the bar.