Being mediocre used to be one of my biggest fears and it kept me from trying a lot of things. There was always an inner voice in me fighting this fear with a “so what?” that I kept crushing. We are influenced by our environment so much that often times we act without even fully realizing what we’re doing and why, and that is why it is so important to question our thoughts and actions – even the ones that come so naturally to us.
For example, I felt that I had to do well in school and get good grades in everything and if I didn’t do well in something I would not take that course again. I enjoyed doing the things that came easy to me and gave up on the ones that didn’t. Since high school, I took the courses I could ace easily like English, Arts and Philosophy and decided not to take a science course after the mandatory grade 10 course (which I later regretted). I could blame it on my really boring science teacher, lack of my maturity or my interest in all things artsy . Unfortunately, life doesn’t always give us do-overs, but I have learnt my lesson.
My personal growth has come from starting to accept and appreciate that we’re all different but equal and really the same at the end of the day, flaws and all. Others struggle just like I do. Others also feel scared, alone, unhappy, doubtful, proud and unique just like me. Once we accept our differences, we become open to accepting ourselves and others. A lot of my writing involves the use of “we” instead of “I” or “you” (wherever appropriate) for the same reason. We’re all a lot more similar than we are different. Racism, sexism, religious or anti-religious hate, ageism, mentalism, IQ-based discrimination (is there a word for it yet?) etc. all stem from thinking about “I vs them”. However, science tells us that there is more DNA variation within a race than there is between two or more different races, and the same rule applies to other differences as well. Hence, we are more similar than we are different.
On my journey to become happy with being just normal (or my version of it), I started to put myself out there. I realized the advantage of taking risks and letting people see me even when I am not at my best. The Genius in All of Us taught me we can go from “normal” to “great” with practice and hard work, but we can’t get to greatness from nothing if we don’t even start because we are too afraid to try. So today, I am practicing writing, knowing fully well it’s barely at a mediocre level, but with practice and hard work, I hope to be better one day.
Don’t be afraid to be your version of normal.