34: Off average

A Thousand Things to Talk About
34: Off average

Today, we’re talking about being off average.

Specifically, when did you realize you were different?

Show notes and links:
50 Facts about the Average American (American Consumers)

XKCD: TornadoGuard

Full episode text

Statistically speaking, you’re weird. I say this with absolutely no negative judgement, and in fact with a rather bit of excitement. After all, the truly “average” person would be a study in contradictions, since “averages” are statistical anomalies. After all, you find the average by finding what’s in the middle, and even a beautiful “average” bell curve will have a standard distribution.

Which is a really nerdy way of saying, nobody is “average” — which means everybody has something “different” about them. The question for many is when you figure out your difference, and how deeply it will impact your everyday life.

In a Tedx talk titled “The Myth of Average”, Todd Rose outlines exactly how much the idea of “average” can hurt us. Designing for the “average” usually means, in short, you’re designing for nobody, and worse, effectively cutting almost everybody out.

One of the biggest parts of defining yourself, in many ways, comes down to figuring out not only how you fit into society, but what’s individual to you and important to you. How you’re “different” means defining how you are an individual.

Yet it can often feel like we’re a square peg in a round hole, because the “average” — real or perceived — isn’t what we are. So our perceived difference also becomes a pain point. Which makes finding one’s “tribe” — a group that embraces your differences — as much a part of the defining yourself as defining your family.