I assume I'm below average


96% of cancer patients in a hospital claim to be in better health than the average cancer patient.

93% of motorists consider themselves to be safer-than-average drivers.

90% students see themselves as more intelligent than the average student.

94% of college professors said they are better-than-average teachers.

Ironically, 92% said they are less biased than average, too.

The psychology term for this is illusory superiority.

To me, this was like finding out I'm a cylon, or this is the Matrix. Hard to accept facts.

At first, like almost everybody, I thought, “Yes, but I really am above average!” Then I realized I was doing it again.

So I decided to gamble on the opposite:

I now just assume I'm below average.

It serves me well.

I listen more. I ask a lot of questions.

I've stopped thinking others are stupid. I assume most people are smarter than me.

To assume you're below average is to admit you're a beginner. It puts you in student mind. It keeps your focus on present practice and future possibilities, and away from any past accomplishments.

Most people are so worried about looking good that they never do anything great.

Most people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all.

You destroy that paralysis when you think of yourself as such a beginner that just doing anything is an accomplishment.

(Or even better, an experiment.)


© 2010 Derek Sivers


  1. Yazan (2010-07-01) #

    On the contrary for me, I feel like it's important to know I am (or at least have the potential to be) above average. It's an issue of confidence -- I find I get a lot more done when I know that my ideas are good enough to be heard by others. This isn't arrogance, but rather a way to combat insecurity and low self-esteem.
    I totally agree. We all go through different phases. For most of my life, feeling above-average served me well. Right now, feeling below-average is working better. Maybe it's a focus of doing versus learning? -- Derek

  2. Chris (2010-07-01) #

    Best article in awhile, maybe ever. Zen, baby.

  3. djphillips (2010-07-01) #spacer

    But maybe you really are a cylon and this is just your way of bringing down the average...

    I'm watching you, Sivers.

  4. Rhonda Niden (2010-07-01) #

    YES! ... ;)...... and how many actually "get" it? .... well said...

  5. Kent Arnsbarger (2010-07-01) #

    Oh I know I'm dumb, that's why I try to surround myself with brillant friends, people and spouse!! I learn SO much all the time.

    Nice to be reminded of the fact though.... ;^)

  6. Andrei Cesmegi (2010-07-01) #

    I think you just made it man! I've being thinking of something like this. My question was: What I really am?
    And not what I think I am...

    I guess I will re-read it 11 more times...

    Thanks Derek, you helped 1 so far!

  7. Ed Teja (2010-07-01) #

    A good perspective DS. It is a trap I fall into constantly and could benefit from avoiding.

  8. Natalie Gelman (2010-07-01) #spacer

    Beautiful post and concept. I'm going to try to open myself up to being a student again. Seems like that's the best way to grow.

    I'm starting to work on my next album and because I want so much for it to be great I have felt that paralysis a lot over the past few weeks. I knew why I was feeling it and was trying to put less pressure on myself but I couldn't replace the worry and goals with something a little more inviting.

    Thanks for this! Each little line and melody will deserve its own celebration now. spacer That's what makes it fun anyways.

  9. Sadehu (2010-07-01) #

    Top of the World

    I'm on the top of the world lying flat on my face, a perfect creation, a total disgrace
    I'm incredibly wise and know nothing at all, I'm larger than life and pathetically small

    I'm as strong as an ox, I only seem lazy, but if others can work I would have to be crazy
    I would much rather sing or relax in the sun, I say somebody out there has got to have fun

    Some think I'm a sinner, some think I'm a saint
    But if they really knew me they'd probably all faint
    I'd say they're all in for a major surprise
    Once I take off my mask and reveal my disguise...

    I'm a family man, loyal to my dear wife since the last time she caught me and threatened my life
    With my foot in my mouth and my head in the clouds I repulse many people and attract major crowds

    With impeccable tact and despicable nerve, I take only that which I feel I deserve
    Which is nothing at all and is all that I see cause it wouldn't be there if it wasn't for me

    I hope I don't come across sounding conceited, I just think that I'm great and demand to be treated like an old pile of crap or an All Powerful King, just as long as you listen to me while I sing

  10. Dmitri Matheny (2010-07-01) #


    My duo partner Darrell Grant and I (both fans of your writing and insights) were just talking about this phenomenon last week.

    Related: are you familiar with the Dunning-Kruger study? It can be downloaded as a PDF from Wikipedia. Worth the read:


  11. Marilyn Harris (2010-07-01) #

    Sometimes (rarely) you are SO goody-two-shoes I wanna scream, Derek. What's the matter with not comparing yourself to ANYONE, just being who you are with whatever set of challenges you've got - you know: REALITY!? I think comparing yourself to anyone else is a waste of time. Better....worse...= no difference in REALITY!

  12. Jody Whitesides (2010-07-01) #

    Probably why I like to try new things so often. Such as: yoga. Today was my second time ever, first time was last Sunday. Yet both times the instructor told me I did extremely well, while in my head I'm saying, I've got a long way to go before I feel like I've got it.

    There's always something to learn, even if you are tops in a field you know a lot about. When I stop learning in something I do, that's when I want to quit doing it. So yes, it's alright to think below average.

  13. Seth Davis (2010-07-01) #

    a great excercise, @ least...powerful life skill @ best. i understand what yazan means, but am sure you're not suggesting we think lowly of ourselves, or stupid or any such negative thing...just ABLE to learn more.

    thanks, derek.

  14. Robin O'Herin (2010-07-01) #

    I try not to measure ability or talent, especially in superlatives. I consider myself a motivated beginner at just about everything, but especially music. Some people have been offended by that--because they think I am a "really good player", but I know I've barely scratched the surface...and comparisons are odious. As long as I am trying my hardest to do my best I'm ok with that.

  15. Clay Vernon (2010-07-01) #

    What study are you referencing here, Derek? Where to the percentages come from?
    Many of those percentages are from the book Stumbling on Happiness, though I don't know where he got them. Others were from random browsing on this subject. -- Derek

  16. Brandon Modrov (2010-07-01) #

    I decided it was long over due that I leave you a comment to tell you how much I do enjoy reading your blog and the posts that you write.

    I've been reading for a long time but never left a comment and I think it's the least I can do for you for all the thought provoking and often inspiration things you write.

    I would say your last three paragraphs are spot on in describing my thought process and ultimate failures I had with the first few years of starting my business or at least trying to.

    Looking forward to more posts!


  17. frank (2010-07-01) #

    how true how true thats all I can say. Great article Derek just absolutely great. Thanks for reminding us to be humble, as how can anyone be wrong if everyone is right.

  18. Rock Moran (2010-07-01) #

    I've always suffered from low self esteem.... after thousands of dollars of therapy, acting below average is not a safe place to go.

  19. Sarah Kim (2010-07-01) #

    I agree with both the article and comment by Yazan--it's a balance of roles. I personally feel the two mindsets competing with each other esp when I'm in a new setting or state, like walking two dogs on leashes. But it's what keeps thoughts and feelings fresh. Keeping mind and eyes open with humbleness while maintaining the self-confidence from experiences to know what you want to do and where you want to go.

    btw, love your blog!

  20. Casey Dilworth (2010-07-01) #

    The greatest obstacle to learning is what you think you all ready know.

  21. Michael Ososki (2010-07-01) #

    Move beyond comparisons, into each moment of Now, where all experience may be interpreted to optimize our being.

  22. Peter Klasky (2010-07-01) #

    Are you psychic?This is an issue with me now. Can being TOO humble create a lack of confidence.. Many very great people were arrogant.ie: Mozart -Tesla-Frank lloyd Wright.People in entertainment that are hams , are the ones the usually succeed..so I dont know.

  23. George Leger III (2010-07-01) #

    I have always felt less than, and it has helped me to become one of the best at what I do (tech work). I read all the time, I do my best to be willing to learn (though I still have issues learning from people much younger than I), and also practice saying "I'm not sure, lets try it and see" as often as I can.

    Glad to see you still have great things to offer in regards to making me take a look at things. With all the "stuff" going on right now, I really need to go to a calmer, and more spiritual place, and your article took me there.



  24. Arthur Gould (2010-07-01) #

    Got humility? Humility is inversely proportional to judgement, whether you call yourself below or above average. Going into life with a humble, neutral approach (for me) provides me with an open and accepting mind, like the beginners mind, but without the labels.

  25. Mono Veissid (2010-07-01) #

    I am exactly average. :]

  26. John Chiasson (2010-07-01) #

    I know one thing I'm Not good at... Being the first person to reply to your blog Derek.
    Thanks for your wisdom!
    Johnny C

  27. J.J. Vicars (2010-07-01) #

    "Average" is somebody else's opinion and therefore bunk. Average by whose standards? I have my own standards, the Dude abides, the artist competes only with himself.

  28. Rohin (2010-07-01) #

    Great article, Derek! A lesson that I can't be reminded of enough. Humility most certainly begins with the self, and it makes us more "receptive" to the world around us. We forget to do this because everything around us these days tells us to "speak up and be heard" to survive.

  29. Matt Hart (2010-07-01) #spacer

    I think this could use more flushing out. It's an interesting idea, but not a wholly original one. I would really like to hear some more examples of this being a beneficial point of being, or some examples of times in your past where NOT thinking this way was detrimental. Basically, you had me interested but then the article ended.
    Different thoughts, different days. One idea at a time. spacer -- Derek

  30. Mikal (2010-07-01) #

    Yes, but what about the portion of those statistics that really ARE better than the average? Should they also be lead to believe that they're below average?

  31. Robert Terlikowski (2010-07-01) #

    Awesome article Derek.
    I've been a martial artist since childhood and I am always taught to keep "beginners mind". Only few people are able to keep it while going up the ranks. When you loose it, you drastically slow down the growing/learning/advancing process, people who do keep it though, they are the ones, who truly learn the most, and always stay on top or as you've said "above average" or "above the rest"

  32. Solitoode (2010-07-01) #

    This definitely explains a lot! Everybody is King or Queen in their own little world, meanwhile they are all following the sheep in front of them over the cliff.



  33. Mario Biferali (2010-07-01) #

    You nailed it! Being or feeling average or below average keeps you on your toes. It makes you work harder, it allows you to always keep an open mind. It gives you that edge and the hunger to learn from people, books, blogs etc...

  34. Kevin Conaway (2010-07-01) #

    Excellent job again.

  35. Balarko Banerjee (2010-07-01) #

    Agreed 101 %

    Modesty and humility goes to great success in future.....it is very simple to be humble still a lot of the people are not

  36. Michael Birnholz (2010-07-01) #

    Awesome! While I was reading it I was saying to myself, "Most of the people will not be able to digest this here in LA..." How perfectly poetic.

    This also reminds me of something else I'd love to pass on to others. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE is as afraid of you as you are of them. This is just part of the human condition. If you think hard about this, you'll see how funny it really is. Imagine that everyone you looked at in a given day was as afraid of you as you were of them.

    Not so scary after-all, right?

    Say Hello next time and see what I mean.

  37. Jerry Herrera (2010-07-01) #spacer

    Speaking as a believer in Christ Jesus along with countless other believers who also can testify to this:"God does not judge a person from the outward appearance but from the inward heart of man/woman,
    as God is no respecter of persons;
    so in essence we as Christians are not to esteem one person higher than another because of their wealth or position etc."


  38. Cindy Harris (2010-07-01) #

    That idea of constantly experimenting is the most important idea there is. At a music festival last week I happened to lead a jam that developed from a core of extremely capable and creative musicians. As more were attracted to the music and came to join, I noticed that a lot of people were passing on their turn to lead. Such a shame! There they were with a completely respectful group of sophisticated musicians but they were so afraid of "making a mistake" that they missed a chance to find out what it was like to have folks like that listening and playing along respectfully to THEM.

    Later I had a chance to chat with some who passed on their turn. They told me they were afraid that they didn't have anything to contribute. Yet some of these folks were good enough musicians to lead a session themselves at home. They were just suffering from what I call "fear of foolishness." By nature we just don't like feeling that we're not good enough to be a leader, so we don't expose ourselves to that possibility.

    Of course if you don't get out there and make a mistake, there's really no way to get any better than you already are...

  39. Lynn Fishman (2010-07-01) #

    I find that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.

    There is so much information and so many smart people out there.

    I do believe that we all have something to contribute. We might not have as much knowledge as the next person, but with time what we bring to the table is our experience.

    So in comparing the two, which do you think is more valuable; information or experience?

  40. Andy Harrison (2010-07-01) #

    Isn't this really about getting to a state of non judgement? Opening yourself to perceiving the world without the burden of filters that could limit your experience or potential? It seams that while viewing yourself as below average could have the advantages of freeing you from the limitations of arrogance, it would also have it's own limiting qualities such as lack of confidence, expecting less than your own personal best, etc.. Wouldn't it be better to simply be open to every new situation without having to run it and yourself through the "how do I match up" mental filtering process?
    Could it be that all judgements produce some form of limitation?

  41. Wafa Khalid (2010-07-01) #spacer

    nice ,,

    I love the eternal student state of mind .
    It sute me right.

  42. Beth Isbell (2010-07-01) #

    I feel that way too Derek ... I always consider myself not quite as good as everyone around me ... and while it does make me work hard to try to get better & ask a lot of questions ...

    I do sort of wonder ... if it's making everybody else see me as not as good as them either, which is not good for them extending me meaningful opportunities ... seems while folks dislike bragging, they do seem to respect & admire confidence, and even seem more willing to overlook their mistakes or lack of true ability at times ...

    I suppose the best combination is to be humble and yet portray a quiet confidence based on your work. Work hard to be great, but remember, there is always someone (or even a lot of someones) who is better.

    You don't seem to lack confidence from the times I've actually met you Derek, so this combination works well for you. But for someone who truly does, it's a precarious mix that may not yield the same results.
    Great point, Beth! Thank you. -- Derek

  43. danjolell (2010-07-01) #

    Yes as I get older I am more interested to listen and ask questions. I still find myself complaining about the idiot driving in front of me and the average American is that idiot and then think of all the people that are below average. Then I am reminded that we're either all a bunch of dumb monkeys or the fools that were left behind from the spaceship to procreate and share stories of the great creator that touches and links everything together. Oh to be humble

  44. Frank Singer (2010-07-01) #

    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

  45. Gareth Ballester (2010-07-01) #

    Great article Derek, one of my favorites so far. Inspiring to me as I think about how to accomplish my dreams.

  46. jonathan (2010-07-01) #

    I tried this exact thing based on the same data and it totally backfired. I lost my confidence, and once you're acting rationally it's hard to get back into an irrational state of mind. Keep reading the research and you'll find that people who have an overblown self image oftentimes do end up doing better simply because they don't know they can't.

    There's a great tech startup saying that goes something like this: Most venture capital goes to people in their twenties. This isn't because VC's prefer young people, it's because nobody over 30 is stupid enough to take venture capital.

    If you want to do something great your best bet is to have an irrational level of confidence. If you want to do something pretty good and live a pretty good life you may be better off getting realistic, but it can be a little depressing. If you can afford it, stay foolish.

  47. Bobby Manriquez (2010-07-01) #

    a biggy, derek, and you're right on. basic humility and remaining teachable are 2 major ingredients in life and music. thinking of one's self as on a pedestal while relating is like looking straight out at an audience of air; the peeps are down on the floor expecting something real.

  48. Jimi (2010-07-01) #

    A favorite quote is "when you stop learning, you are dead."
    It's attributed to too many people though, so it must be truth.

  49. Craig Einhorn (2010-07-01) #

    Humility as an admirable personality trait seems less popular than it should be. When I used to teach guitar lessons there were many people who could not call them "lessons". Some parents couldn't even use the word lessons when talking about setting up the appointments (lessons) for their kids. I imagine that karate instructors don't get this kind of disrespect due to the obvious physical ability they have over their STUDENTS.

  50. Randy Handley (2010-07-01) #

    If you have to be concerned about where you are vis a vis the rest of humanity,compare yourself to Mozart Einstein Gandhi, Piccaso and the other giants.If that's too daunting, well, there is a lot of average stuff that needs doing, and there is honor and satisfaction in that, too.

  51. Zach Will (2010-07-01) #

    I completely agree with this. You can never tell if you're above average in many things. People may simply not care or try as much as you, or you simply may think you're smarter by judging off of people that are way below average on intelligence. You may think you're an above average driver because you see people doing stupid things all the time, but you don't take into account all the people driving well. (Going to the forums on you tube gives me an ego boost all the time, but the simple fact is most of the people that comment on that site are below average. However, you should take into account that some people have confidence issues, and thinking they're above average may help them. I always like to know the facts though, and I know exactly what I'm good at and what I'm bad at. I can normally gauge pretty well just by facts and logic what I'm good at and what I"m bad at. You can't just compare yourself to the people that are below average you ahve to compare yourself to everyone and make it almost a statistic, and take into account the variables.

  52. Charlie Hamilton (2010-07-01) #

    it can also help maintain a gritty determination to succeed and keeps ya humble


  53. Jackie Henrion (2010-07-01) #

    With all my coaches, I began by explaining why I did something the way I did. It wasn't until I stopped acting like I knew what I was doing that I started to really learn. So I understand exactly what you are saying. I also find it a waste of energy to compare myself to others. It's like saying an oak tree is better than a maple.

  54. wil (2010-07-01) #

    also consider the below average effect:


    your response to the first commenter is apt i think. it's all about having the right frame for the present circumstances. we can run into difficulties when we have the wrong frame. sometimes this happens by failing to understand that one's frame needs to be updated due to changed circumstances.

    that's from the best counselling session I ever had spacer

    I think your point "Most people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all."

    was splendid. I am stuck like this right now, have been all week. I knew it, but it's nice to hear it from someone else too.


  55. Mark (2010-07-01) #

    Realistic self-esteem can be a difficult balance to find.

    I think what you might be heading toward, Derek, is that we must all give ourselves the freedom to be a beginner in every situation. It gives us the freedom to make mistakes and mistakes are often the best teachers.

  56. Adam Smith (2010-07-01) #

    I totally get it. Thanks!

  57. Toggo (2010-07-01) #

    Each one of us is truly the best in the world at being who we are, and expressing our unique gift to the world. Very few of us do it. Perhaps these statistics show a reflection of the frustration most people are feeling over not fully expressing who they are.

    It would be interesting to see this study split up in two groups: 1. Working people who don't necessarily do what they love (i.e. most people).
    2. Hugely successful people who are highly satisfied with their lives.

    I have a feeling there would be a huge difference in those percentages.

  58. Hsia-Jung Chang (2010-07-01) #

    I've never understood the need to average, nor do I understand the concept of fitting in. But I think it may have something to do with the watering and mowing of lawns.

  59. Andrea Baxter (2010-07-01) #

    This is one of the best articles in a while Derek. I always thought I had room to learn and grow. However, I did compare myself to others in the past. A lot has now changed however. I'm focusing on how can I do better by focusing on my own strengths and weaknesses. I'm a bit concerned with going to far in thinking you are under average because a lot of people, especially women suffer from low self-esteem. However, with the mindset of assuming you are below average, I would agree that it helps you listen and learn more without the distraction of your ego. Great Post!

  60. jeff gardner (2010-07-01) #spacer


    Beautifully put although I'm wondering if cultivating a beginners mind can be done without reference to a scorecard but rather with the presence to turn up, pay attention and be grateful for what one encounters, learning a we go.

  61. wil (2010-07-01) #


    also consider this list of cognitive biases. it's amazing how many there are. also amazing to think how much our lives would be improved if only we applied the knowledge gained from all of these studies. so often i get frustrated with there not being enough applied psychologists.

    without wanting to be overly approving i think it's nice to see you posting psych studies every now and again and applying them to personal issues. there is so much to gain from doing this. just think of all the enlightenment that could come from pouring through all the dusty old psych journals sitting on library shelves around the world. studies that took blood sweat tears and PTSD to produce, only to be appreciated by other researchers looking to find a citation to back up their assertions or fill out a literature review. the project of psychology is not complete without regular people regularly using psych studies to improve their lives as well.

    let that be a judgement of all those pure research psychologists out there who look down their noses at applied scientists. then again it's probably a good idea not to be too keen about applying much of it yet as its still such a disorganised, unintegrated field.


  62. KevBurnsJr (2010-07-01) #spacer

    Each of us can claim 100th percentile when it comes to being who we are.

    Don't forget to focus on your strengths spacer

  63. Derrik Jordan (2010-07-01) #

    As my 7th grade English teacher used to say "To know that you know what you know and that you do not know what you do not know, that is true knowledge."

  64. Jack Walker (2010-07-01) #

    I think Jackie nailed it. It's a waste of energy to compare yourself to someone else. You either believe in yourself or you don't. I hate the curve that we are judged on in college. Who cares. You either learn or you don't. You either excell or you don't, but in the end what sets you apart is what you did to be incomparable.

  65. Steve Bruce (2010-07-02) #

    Good one Derek! It is excellent because most of us occasionally compare and label too much. Actually, when one lets go of labels and comparisons... we can let go of judgement as well.

    Then as it has happened to myself a few times, I see the truth in that each person is great and believe it or not... perfect.

    One can certainly learn a lot when one arrives at that kind of clarity.

    Steve Bruce

  66. Anuj Tyagi (2010-07-02) #spacer

    It's a great start for a beautiful morning. thnx

  67. Rodney DeCroo (2010-07-02) #

    I think you should change your name to

    Polonius Bolonius.

    Don't you ever get tired of yourself?

  68. anand murthy (2010-07-02) #

    Superb read derek. I guess the key here is to do it day in & day out and make it a habit.

    In an organizational context, where employees/people constantly get measured [performance, inter personal skills, etc etc], - this could become a challenge as there is measure after measure on how good you are & therefor get conditioned to get better than the others....but if we can get the managers to look at life this way -things will change for the good..thanks derek..anand

  69. Steve Soucy (2010-07-02) #spacer

    I assume I am naive. I assume other people know more than I do.

    I also assume I have more confidence in my abilities than I had yesterday.

    Therefore I win. AND so do you!

  70. Joe Leonard (2010-07-02) #

    I think this is also called the "3rd Party" phenomenon. That is, for any given problem or issue, a 3rd party is almost always to blame. People will never take personal responsibility.

    Have you been reading ZEN MIND BEGINNER'S MIND, Derek?


  71. Rejyna Douglass-Whitman (2010-07-02) #

    As a talk show dude taught me from early on; 'there are no extraordinary people, only ordinary people who do extraordinary things' he cited examples like Disney, Ben Franklin, etc.

    I've had this attitude from the onset of my 20's, mostly because I am autodidact at everything people think I was trained in. But also because of Kung Fu's impact on my teen years, that show often proved this very point exactly. Laugh at the Grasshopper metaphor if you will...

    But I don't focus on it, nor bring attention to it except when others try to elevate me, or, try to put themselves down. In the first case I quickly explain that they could easily do what they are praising me for if they put in the hours I have. In the latter case, I am the one person who will not accept others feeling this way about themselves unless they can grasp the seredipity intact.

    It's even simpler, six bullets:

    1. I am here to edify through art
    2. I do not own my inspirations, those belong to my influences
    3. I only own my effort and tenacity
    4. If I do something great, it is just as much an accident as if I do something mediocre
    5. I cannot edify others if I adulate myself in front of them
    6. I allow myself to secretly freak out over my accomplishments because COMPLETION is my aim, not perfection, not popularity, not money. I don't freak out becuase I believe I am great, I freak out because I surprise myself if one of my experiments actually ends up palatable, actually gets finished.

    Our band has a song about this on our recent CD where I speak through a cyclon-ish Korg Vocoder about how 'there are no superstars among us' etc.

    Not to boast, brag or go BTL but here is the link to that very average song on our very average CD that is only above-average because it exists...not because I did it.

    And it is so average, we give it away free to those who need reminded that average is 'the new awesome'...

    [Vocoder Citadel Manifesto]

    After you grasp this concept, turn your focus from it and simply

    BE & DO -

    - anything, caliber be damned...

  72. David (2010-07-02) #

    I disagree- why not assume you're great, and also have beginner's mind. Too much of this culture is either or...assuming you're great means arrogance, and assuming you're not means you must suffer, always be lesser. Your great if you believe your great as a person, but ALWAYS be curious.

  73. Otis Funkmeyer (2010-07-02) #spacer

    dude you are seriously awesome for a below average individual....

  74. Gregory Hyde (2010-07-02) #

    Well stated.

    I grew by leaps and bounds when I came to the realization that humility and confidence are not mutually exclusive.

    Some of the most profound things I've learned were lessons (sometimes uknowingly) taught by those who thought they knew less about a matter than I.

  75. Stacey Knights (2010-07-02) #

    My conclusion at my current stage of life: "beginners mind" is a hard-won state when we reach adulthood. I have decided to cherish and nurture it daily.

    To have "beginners mind" is to be empty of "ego". I would define ego as the "face of fear" in oneself. It blocks learning, and creativity and closes channels of growth. I discovered a pleasure in silencing ego so I might truly listen to others and my creative self. It is freedom to decide you don't have to know everything all the time.

    Thanks for your wonderful and inspiring blogs, I'd join your "below-average" club
    any day!

  76. Mike Whiting (2010-07-02) #

    This reminds me of the saying "the enemy of learning is knowing". As a matter of fact, didn't I get that from you as well ??

  77. Jeff Michael (2010-07-02) #

    In my case I always think that I am dumbest
    piece of shit alive. I maybe extreme but I think that most artists are insecure. They may say they know everything but this just insecurity. Moderation is always key. If your too confident you think you know everything. If your too unconfident like myself you are great at self sabotage. Middle ground is best.

  78. Joseph Doughty (2010-07-02) #spacer

    To the degree you value that which you compare is proportional to self esteem related to that skill.

    Measuring ones performance in any skill is the hard part for our ego, agreed.

    I'm familiar with a principle: [paraphrased]

    "Never fool yourself. Always be honest and look at the facts.It will get you farther in life."

    Doesn't mean you must accept facts as absolute. But, they can guide you on your journey.

    Just read today it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. And the time taken would seem to depend on the skill(s) of course.

    But, how does one define "mastering"? I think people confuse "mastering" something with the rudimentary skills of performing said skill.

    If we continually commit to "mastering" a skill then one day we just may be a "master" within our abilities and surprise ourselves and others.

    Ran into a guy a couple days ago whose brother has been a dedicated writer for over 20 years, published and all. He was happy to receive some accolades for his efforts in the way on a Nobel Piece Prize nomination for one of his books.

    But, would he keep writing without the nomination? Most definately. He writes for purpose, not awards. How many people strive to work with purpose? I'd say a majority do not.

    Comparing oneself to past measured performance seems a better gauge than comparing oneself to others, damned be where we fall on the bell curve.

    Enjoyed this post, thanks.

  79. jonathan Currie (2010-07-02) #

    "Statistically,life expectancy of untreated cancer patients is greater than treated ones"Hardin Jones,MD,Former President of the American Cancer Society.
    Hardin obviously had the proof,but as the ancient proverb goes,"He who speaks the truth needs a fast horse".

  80. Ken Randall (2010-07-02) #

    Mmmm I could say so much on this one but will keep it short. My parents always said everyone was better than us and I never used to win or be tops at anything. After going out to work I found it was a lot of people just thought or portrayed they were better than us. So much is in mind thought on how we are and show ourselves.. I have seen some extreem accademics that can pass any exam but they cant even put a nut on a bolt. Anyway loved the topic you set today Derek. Becoming a student of life I totaly agree its soooo good to be able to drop down from thinking your good and listen and learn instead.. My kid is just like I once used to be thinks he knows it all till he goes to do it... Finds it different then.

  81. Fred Gosbee (2010-07-02)
gipoco.com is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.