Derek Sivers

from the book “”:

I assume I’m below average

2010-07-01

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

93% of drivers say they are safer-than-average drivers.

90% of students think they are more intelligent than the average student.

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

When I learned this, it shook my soul. 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. Now I 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 a student mindset. 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.