Fanfare for the Average Joe
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
For many of you, these last few months of the year are not only filled with the annual anxiety about what gifts Santa will be bringing but maybe even more so about what gifts your boss will be bringing in the form of your year-end appraisal. This really is a wonderful time.
The end result is the same no matter where you work.
A select few will receive a glowing review. You significantly exceeded your goals and the expectations of your boss and the firm. You are the shit and are well on your way to the corner office. Congratulations.
There is also a select few who are not as fortunate. You missed the mark and must do better next year. You are definitely not the shit so let’s put together a performance plan so we can monitor your progress. (Yes, you are documenting everything for better or for worse). Best of luck to you.
And then there is the rest of you. “Nice Job.” “Keep doing what you’re doing.” “It’s all good.” “You’re good.” “Sorry but I have to cut this a little short to get to a holiday lunch.”
This post is for you.
Chances are you might not be that thrilled about that message. You’re average. Middle of the pack. Sure, you don’t suck but you’re also not the shit. You’re just – good.
But really, why are you a little pissed off? What’s wrong with being good? Now, if you did not try your best then that’s one thing and you should be pissed at yourself, but let’s just say for the sake of this post that you honestly put in your best effort all the time. And your best effort was good.
Take a look around at all of your colleagues who are also, most likely, good. I’m sure you will probably see you are in “good” company.
In 2018, the United States population totaled 327.2 million people. Of that there is the often admired and often berated top 1% (3,272,000). There is also the unfortunate 11.8% who live below the poverty line (38,609,000). That leaves a hell of a lot of folks somewhere in the middle.
So, to look at it another way, for 3.3 million people, life is freaking awesome. For 38.6 million people, life is damn hard. And for the rest (285 million), life is for the most part……. good.
So maybe being good is not all that bad after all. The vast majority of us are……. good.
The problem is that we have been conditioned that being good is just not good enough. It really starts from the moment we pop out of the womb when our ever-loving parents tell us that we can do anything we want to do (and we told the same thing to our kids by the way). My mom repeatedly told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But no matter how much I tried and wanted it; I was never going to throw a fastball 95 miles per hour. Thanks anyway mom but I guess you lied. (My phone is going to be ringing soon).
And therefore, the problem with aforementioned problem is that we then constantly compare ourselves to others. He got drafted because his fastball is faster than mine. She got the promotion and I didn’t. They have a nicer house. Their kids go to a fancy school. The neighbor’s grass is greener. Blah, Blah, Blah. That constant comparison blinding us to how good we actually are.
I want to reiterate; you should always do your best and aspire to greatness, and you should encourage others to greatness. Just make sure that your definition of greatness is the greatest version of you. Not someone else’s definition of great. You are not them and they are not you. And you should know that they are also comparing themselves to others (maybe even you) for things they are not great at. You may be a better cook, more artistic, more musical, more athletic, etc., etc. Shit, I’m certainly no Stephen King but I think this little pastime I’ve started is pretty good. And I’m happy with that.
The next time you begin to compare yourself to someone else, I hope after reading this you will first look in the mirror and compare yourself to you. Do your best. Appreciate your best. And you might just appreciate yourself and your life a little more.
And while you are realizing that your average and overall good existence is actually quite great, take a listen to this instrumental, “Fanfare_For_The_Common_Man” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They covered the original masterpiece by Aaron Copland. It may not rise to the same legendary level of Mr. Copland’s, but it’s good.