It Has Never Been Easier to Be Average

Jay AcunzoBlog4 Comments

It has never been easier to be average.

When we start to do anything new, it can be a struggle. We don’t have all the answers we need. But today, with just a little bit of effort, we can find them and ascend quickly to “average” status.

Want to learn how to drive more leads? In seconds, 188 million pages are there waiting to tell you. Thinking of picking up a culinary skill? Watch a YouTube video about literally any dish. The world is your oyster. Or your bruschetta. Or quesadilla. Or–brb, I need a snack.

it's never been easier to be average

In the Information Age, we can hack our way to junk and copy our way to passable before we’re just a tiny burst of work away from average. That wasn’t so bad! We’re already there! And — good news! — more of that helpful stuff is poured into the world with each passing second.

Yes, it’s never been easier to be average. But it’s never been harder to be exceptional.

To be exceptional, quite literally, you have to be an exception. You have to do things a little bit differently.

You can’t just follow the list, but the problem is, all those lists are so … ubiquitous…

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They’re so … tempting…

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They’re so … mysterious…

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(It didn’t, by the way.)

So if being exceptional means being an exception, I have good news: Everyone already is. Everyone has a unique combination of experiences, aspirations, hopes, fears, beliefs, and skills.

But not everyone trusts that. Not everyone uses that.

I think it’s time we all did.

I think it’s time to be better than the average. It’s time to break from all the conventional thinking. It’s time to be exceptional, not “good enough,” not “gets the job done,” and certainly not “but I have numbers to hit.”

So how can you do that?

Trust your intuition.

The things that shot you up to average are external. The one thing that gets you to exceptional is you. There are no lists or YouTube tutorials to get you there. You can’t “best practice” your way to extraordinary. In a noisy, increasingly commoditized world, the only real differentiating factors are the individual and the team, in other words, people.

We all have access to the same tools and tips-and-tricks. More than ever, the things that make you an exception matter.

Trust your intuition.

So what does it take to do that and succeed? That’s what we’re exploring with Unthinkable.

Unthinkable is a collective journey to answer that one question. Each Monday, we share a new hypothesis, delivered as an irresistible story. However, rather than end with a 12-step plan or 7 tips-and-tricks, we’re backing up a step from the moment of action to examine the way in which we prepare for it.

How can we be more specific and concrete in the aspirational anchors we throw out to the world? How can we better pull from the right influences to inform and improve our work? How do we create and take advantage of the right experiences in our lives and training in our work, both when they’re directly and indirectly related to the task at hand?

Most people and resources out there want to give us playbooks and prescriptions for exactly how we act. Well, it’s like we each have our own powerful Iron Man suits. What if we learned how all the parts worked to start? Then we could use them however we wanted — each of us in a way that’s an exception to every other person and moment, because every person and moment is an exception.

Yes, it’s never been easier to be average. So maybe it’s time we aspired to do the hard part. Let’s go.

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Thoughts on this? or @jayacunzo on Twitter and Snapchat.

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Our weekly podcast explores this big question, packaged as irresistible stories. Listen here or through the channel links below:

Channel Links: iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play


Jay is an award-winning podcaster and dynamic keynote speaker. Before creating Unthinkable, he was a digital media strategist at Google and head of content at HubSpot. He’s built content marketing strategies from scratch for startups and produced attention-grabbing documentaries for brands. His work has been cited in places ranging from Harvard Business School to the Washington Post.

Today, Jay hosts shows and works with teams who aspire to be the exceptions to all the noise in their niche.

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4 Comments on “It Has Never Been Easier to Be Average”

  1. Hi Jay.

    I love this post. I have now listened to every episode of Unthinkable, and each time I listen, I am reminded about the importance of letting go and creating stuff that really matters. It can be hard to fight against the tide of quick solutions and easy answers.

    The reason that movement is so powerful is because of fear. Fear of digging in and finding your true voice, even if it sounds different than what people expect or different from everything else that is being written.

    And it’s scary to try something without the bumper lanes of other people’s formulas – to throw that ball and know that it will probably end up in the gutter for 90% of the time at first. But when you listen to your intuition and make something different and innovative, it has incredible transformative power – even if it’s just the power to change yourself.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire and transform me. Your work speaks directly to my inner wisdom and my creative muse.

    1. Hey Daniela! Thanks for the comment 🙂 That really is the fuel to my fire to keep going and building Unthinkable. Over the next year, we’ll start sharing some thoughts and stories that very much line up with what you’re talking about. To address some of it now though: I think those “bumpers” from others are actually really valuable. It’s just that they are often void of context. An “expert” often has generalized knowledge, if comprehensive and authoritative. But a mentor is someone who can combine their expertise and get your specific context, then encourage you to pursue the path that makes the most sense for YOU — not just the “right path.”

      Because of that, I think experts and expertise get you to average, but something much more contextualized and personal is needed to move from average to exceptional — a mentor, an insight about your specific audience in this specific moment in time, a trait or bias that you bring to the project as an individual, etc.

      Thanks again, and hope you have an awesome end to your year and holiday season!

  2. Pingback: 5 Business Quotes to Inspire You in 2017 | TrustWorkz

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