To be a millennial in 2018 is an interesting time. I constantly feel as if I am surrounded by individuals who believe that being average makes them ok. When I was growing up my mother would push us to go beyond what was expected of us. Just going to school and being average was not ok. Simply striving to just get a 9-5 was not ok. The expectation was set on us from an early age that we would be more than what society expected of us. This was especially important being African-American in a country that despite its’ progress still saw me as a potential statistic. Everything that I did was done with the intent that I was going to prove that I was the exception to the rule. I tried to surround myself with people who had similar aspirations as myself and who believed in being better than average. I did not want settle for average friends who did not mind doing just enough to get by. I wanted friends who wanted to stand out and be different in a world of followers. It felt good to say all my girls had degrees, their own place, or their own business, or their own achievements. The reason I chose to surround myself around these folks is because my mindset was that, people who are constantly progressing forward will never attempt to pull you backwards because they are moving just as you are. All too often average folks want you to be average just like them and that was not good enough for me. This does not mean I completely distanced myself from those “average” folks. Everyone deserves a chance to grow and sometimes they just need a push toward being great. At Hampton University, they teach all incoming freshman the phrase, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.” Up until this point, if I have offended anyone, I apologize because my intent is not to put down those who are considered “average” but to say that we should never settle for just being “Average”.
See the thing is, we define what average is to us. For myself average is not using every minute of everyday to gradually improve myself and those around me. Average is not striving to be better than I was the day before. Average is doing what others tell me is the right thing to do instead of figuring out what the right thing to do is. Average is not being with the person I love because society deems it unacceptable. Average is going to a job everyday that I hate because I refuse to make the effort to start the business I love. Average is getting a “C” on a test knowing I was capable of an “A” but just didn’t care enough to put in the extra study time. Average is knowing that I have an opinion but never voicing it. I refuse to be average. I refuse to just do enough to get by. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck and be ok as long as the lights are on. I refuse to be successful on the level that society deems “I have made it” if I don’t feel that I have made it. I refuse to let others around me fall short of great because being average makes them feel content. When is just being average going to not be enough? When I spend to much of my day not being productive I feel I have wasted time. It is ok to sit back and enjoy life but that doesn’t mean be “average” while doing it. Too many people who came before me worked too damn hard for me to just accept being “average”.