Average vs. above-average.

In some things, I think most of us strive for ‘above-average’. We want to get A’s and B’s in school, as a C and below are usually considered quite poor performance. I want 5’s on my AirBnb ratings, I would be horrified if someone rated us at 3, and I wouldn’t stay somewhere with an average of a 3 star rating. And at work, I think most of us want to be rated exceptionally, not average.

Yet, in other areas, average is accepted. If your Vitamin D levels are average, your doctor will tell you you’re good to go. Same for TSH (thyroid) and any number of metrics our doctors monitor. Your physical therapist may be happy that you have average flexibility, even though average is really quite poor and will not allow you to do certain things and could lead to injury.

I realize that there is a clear difference between these sets of metrics. The ‘average’ grade in school isn’t really a C, whereas doctors are considering your metrics based, usually, on the average across the population.

Still, might we learn something by examining the difference?

Are average health metrics really what you want to strive for, or is something else actually better and worth striving for? Do you want to save the average amount for retirement, or live differently in your later years than ‘average’?

There is of course no right answer, as long as we recognize that there is an alternative.

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