Can The “Average You” Be Successful?


I had got back home after running The Devil’s Circuit last evening.

Devil’s Circuit is considered to be the BIGGEST obstacle running series in India. A 5 KM run with 15 commando-styled obstacles: bloody logs, torture trenches, barbed wires, swimming icy-cold water, pools of shrill, deadly swings et al.!

I participate in runs occasionally. It is a fun way to test my limits. But this one was different and very rugged!

I was so wasted and yet so happy! (see my family picture right after the run.)

I had brought back with me: a sense of pride, a slight headache and a lot of mud all over me.

After a shower and a failed attempt to wash away the mud from my shoes, I dozed off.Average You


When I woke up, Deepti, my wife, told me that she had been to the chemist to bring some aspirin for me (she’s a sweetheart!). But she looked a bit upset.

The Chemist, Mr. Batra is our neighbor. His son, Raghav and Tanav, our 6 year old son, study in the same grade albeit in different schools (and thankfully so! You’ll agree as you read further).

Deepti told me about the conversation she had with him.

Mr. Batra: “Aren’t you waiting for Tanav’s results, with bated breath?”

Deepti: “Well, kind of. We’re eager to see his teacher and find out how he’s been doing.”

Mr. Batra: “We are so curious to find out if Raghav stood First in the class this time or Second!”

Deepti: “Really? Wow!”

Mr. Batra: “What about Tanav? Does he stand First or Second in his class?” 

(Yes, he had the audacity to ask that!)

Deepti: “Well, they don’t have ranks in his school in junior grades.”

Mr. Batra: “But you would have an idea, won’t you?”

Deepti: “No..”

Now I understood why Deepti was upset. She must have been infuriated with the conversation.

“What would you have said had he asked you?” She asked me.

I told her, “I don’t know about myself but if it was Tanav’s Grandpa, he would surely have said – Tanav is always No. 1. Numero Uno!”

Which he is. And which he always will be! For us – as parents.

Tanav surprises me with his curiosity and his fresh ideas totally amaze me.  He enjoys learning and loves a few subjects a lot. He is a happy kid.

But he is not good at everything! In the usual parlance, he is ‘an average‘, or, at best, ‘an above average‘ child.


Deepti’s conversation with Mr. Batra reminded me of a workshop I had recently attended.

A well-built, tall and confident man, Vikram, had conducted it. It was a fantastic workshop but I remembered what Vikram said in the end:

“I am a very average man.”

A lot of inquisitive heads turned in the audience.

He continued, “I’ve had highs and lows in my career. What has made me successful though is the process I follow rather than my intelligence or my smartness.”

He didn’t need to say that he was average. Why did he? But by doing so, he had done me and many others a huge favor.

I always thought that being average was a sign of weakness and shame. And here was Vikram, acknowledging that he was average and, yet, apparently very successful!

Everyone’s perspective changed. Vikram was successful not because he was gifted, smart or intelligent, but despite his flaws and despite being average. He was like one of us in the room.


What process was Vikram referring to? Did Tanav have one? Would Tanav be successful?

These questions were bothering me.

Eureka! There was, indeed, one mantra (call it process) that often worked both for Tanav and me:

  1. Think of what you want to do.
  2. Start doing it.
  3. Finish it.
  4. Praise yourself for what you did.

Sounds simple, right?

It is!

And it worked! It kept us in the ‘upward spiral of confidence’.

Only problem was that we weren’t intentional about it. I decided to be so now and not give up when going got tough or failures happened!

Do you have a process that works for your child? If not, install one today. Commit to the process. You will be surprised at the wonderful things your child can create. And success will follow.

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