Are you average? Could it be you are above average? Or, is it possible you are in a category labeled as below average? Now, before you think too seriously about responding to these questions, you need to ask in return, "Am I average, above average or below average in WHAT? Ahhh... therein lies the important question.
This column was triggered when I read an article by Jacquelyn Mitchard titled "The Search for the Perfect Apple." I've written a couple of columns about apples and for a long time have been intrigued by the many varieties now available. Mitchard said, "As this apple-picking season begins, the bustle to breed the best bushel is as brisk as the race to create the perfect hybrid car." I don't know exactly how many different kinds of apples are out there, but Cornell University's Experimental Research Station has bred and named 62 varieties.
But, let's get back to the "average" question. Something that jumped out from Mitchard's article is, "The average American eats 17.8 pounds of apples each year." Now, first of all, how in the world do you go about determining an "average American," especially during this day and time? Secondly, if we could agree upon what an average American is, this figure of 17.8 pounds reveals to me that many average Americans never touch an apple. I say this because for many years I have eaten at least one apple a day. The "average" apple from my apple bowl weighs 5.4 ounces. According to my math (in which I am sure I am not above average), this means I eat approximately 123 pounds of apples annually. This doesn't count the dishes we sometimes have, such as fried apples, fruit salad and the apple pies Jean is coerced into making every now and then.
So, if you ask me if I am "above average," I can truthfully answer, "I am way above average. I eat 123 pounds of apples annually!" In turn, you may say that is not the type of average to which you are referring. Then when I ask you to explain your definition of average you may have some difficulty in doing so. That's one of the reasons I dislike hearing phrases that declare someone as an average, above average or below average teenager, student, athlete, musician, employee, patient, customer, boss... You get the idea. I dislike declaring an individual's "averagability" in very broad categories.
And that is the whole point of this column - people are individuals. When I presented "A Strategy For Winning" at the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) leadership conference for at-risk students in July, I emphasized, "Everyone in this room has strengths and weaknesses. The challenge is to discover, develop and wisely use what we have. While cultivating and building on our strengths, we can also use them to help us improve in our areas of weakness. And that is what today's seminar is all about."
One of the students (a very good apple, if I may say so) stood at the podium, looked the attendees in the eyes, and challenged everyone to not mess around, to get with the program, to overcome obstacles (she didn't know her father, and her mother is a prosecuted drug addict). She closed her challenge, as I close this column, sharing a short poem from my "Winning Thoughts" book titled Be You:
"Drama, music, sports? Maybe business, math or art? What are your talents, likes - dislikes? How can you do your part? Teaching, writing, medicine? Helping others who have lost the way? Finding a niche and doing your thing... This makes a happy day!"
About our guest Blogger:
© Carl Mays, father of ClaimCare CEO Carl Mays II, is an author and speaker at over 3,500 events. Contact Carl at email@example.com or 865-436-7478. His motivational speaking and book information can be found on http://www.carlmays.com/. The Student Mentoring site MyMerlin.Net for students and others is based on his book and program, "A Strategy For Winning."