The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness

TheEndOfAverage.jpg“Only equal fit creates equal opportunity”. This is the conclusive statement that Todd makes in his book. It takes the concept of equal opportunity for all, to a place of understanding the benefits of how we recognize a person’s potential. Then changing the environments we learn, work and play in, to maximize that potential to everyone’s benefit.

“If the environment is a bad match for our individuality…our performance will always be artificially impaired. If we do get a good fit with our environment – whether that environment is a cockpit, a classroom, or a corner office – we will have the opportunity to show what we are truly capable of.”

In his book Todd explores how, what he calls the Age of Average, is a standard that has been accepted and entrenched in all aspects of our society. Yet, by using this standard, individual talent, skills and potential are missed. This standard has created a conformity that we are measured against and therefore judgements are made about our abilities – below average, average, or above average.

Todd leads the reader through his research as to how the idea of creating this measurement of average developed and how it has become entrenched in all of our institutions, practices and beliefs. Throughout our lives we are compared to this standard (e.g. developmental milestones, grade point averages, personality assessments, standardized test results, performance review ratings) which have influenced how we think about ourselves and each other, our experiences and our life path destination.

Todd examines the principles of individuality by explaining it through three principles: the Jaggedness Principle (talent is never one-dimensional), the Context Principle (traits are a myth) and the Pathways Principle (we all walk the road less traveled). He provides examples of businesses and universities who are already using some of these principles in their hiring, promotion practices and school curriculums/course selection. These examples allow the reader to see that Todd’s ideas, while “out there”, are not impossible to implement if there is a willingness to see things differently and create the change to respond to individuality. In the examples, he explored the changes and attention to individual skills and talents that benefitted the companies as well as the individual person.

“Equal fit is an ideal that can bring our institutions into closer alignment with our values, and give each of us the chance to become the very best we can be, and to pursue a life of excellence, as we define it.”

Find it in the CISS Resource Library: RBE 144 & 197

Susan Spence, ECRT
Intake and Resource Coordinator
Children’s Inclusion Support Services