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A Good Reason Not To Be Normal

Shawn Achor is one of my favourite speakers. I still laugh when I watch his 2011 TED talk("The happy secret to better work").



There's one line from that talk that is particularly insightful: "Normal is merely average".

Achor was trying to make a point about how we usually search for patterns and how we do our best to try to fit that pattern. Science and society reward people who are "normal", and usually challenges or dismisses the outliers. And here's Achor's insight: being normal is not necessarily a sign of success, but rather a normalized way of being average: like the others, nothing unique, peculiar, or interesting. Quite the contrary: in order to succeed, we cannot study only the "normal" people: we need to learn from those who are above the average.


9 years after Achor's TED talk, we seem to have no alternatives rather than getting used to the "New Normal" - the routine, norms and habits that the pandemic brought to us. But the New Normal might merely be a New Average.


We obviously have to do everything we can to keep up with the health regulations.

Still, if we are anyway changing our routines, how can we reshape them into more than a series ofnormal days - but exceptionally productive, insightful, healthy days? Who can we learn from, in order to make our working habits and career ambitions more suited to our new collective reality? What examples do we know of people and organizations which had to change dramatically and made the most out of it?


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