You don't have to set a record on Mt Everest to succeed in life, says Kathy Sundstrom.
You don't have to set a record on Mt Everest to succeed in life, says Kathy Sundstrom. Tashi Sherpa

Being average is highly under-rated

NONE of my children will be going on stage to receive a school award at the end of this year.

Yep, there won't be another trophy cluttering the piano top in the entrance hall.

And I couldn't be prouder.

Has society always been so self-absorbed with pushing an individual to heights of success?

I read somewhere recently such a good story.

It was about a sherpa, Phurba Tashi, who was one climb off being the person who has scaled Everest the most times.

One climb. He had already done 21, so one more in the scheme of things would be a piece of cake.

But apparently he resigned on the 21st climb. He was quoted in the documentary, Sherpa, as saying "I would rather not hold the record and live with a happy family".

I once did a story on Noosa photographer and cinematographer Stephen Hayes. He was once was employed to photograph Apple founder, Steve Jobs, and his family.

He remembered a man who, in the last years of his life, seemed to awaken to the realisation of what mattered.

"It seemed due to his dizzying career achievements, he was starved of time from, by far the biggest and proudest creation of his life, his family," Hayes said.

And yet, in every facet of life, there seems to be this push to make people focus on individual success. On being the better than the rest.

Look at how full social media is of selfies as we pursue our own quest for self-validation through posts detailing our private lives.

My kids didn't get any awards this year and I couldn't be prouder because they weren't lazy or stupid.

They were happy, well-rounded individuals actively involved in their community who succeeded at being average in many things, instead of focussing at excelling in one.

And we used our spare time making sure we had fun, as a family and with friends.

There is no reward for that. There doesn't need to be.

Being average is a reward in itself.