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Fear the Idea of Average

Successful people balance the areas of their lives and find a way to win in one without sacrificing the others.

Chris Saraceno is the Vice President & Partner of the Kelly Automotive Group. Visit kellycar.com.

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When we start a job, especially when we’re younger, most of us have the desire of setting the world on fire. We want to be the absolute best at what we do. This is the dream; the reality is that it will require a massive amount of effort, focus and work to climb that mountain and reach an elite status. 

At some point, many people decide to settle for average. Average gets the job done, and it’s a whole lot easier than the alternative. It is, in fact, what most people do — that’s the very definition of the word. 


Usual. Ordinary.

To get the best out of your time on earth, be anything but average. 

There’s an old saying that the average worker either has never heard or doesn’t believe: No one will reward you for hitting the bare minimum. 

Doing what is expected of us might keep us in a job (for a while). Those who want to get more out of their careers — out of their lives — know that “acceptable” is only the first step in the journey. 

When we start a new position, we may work to get to that level, where we are capable of doing the job competently, without needing constant instructions or micromanaging. However, when a person takes their foot off the gas of continuous learning, they will be setting a course for average. 


Ask any parent what he or she hopes for their healthy newborn child. None of them will say, “I’m just hoping my child will be average.” Why not? Because they want their lives to be extraordinary. We should want the same for ourselves, and we’re the only ones who can put us — and keep us — on that road. 

The Proper Amount of Ambition

One of my Theory of 5 co-mentors has said to me that unchecked ambition is a disease. It invades all areas of our lives, pushes away everyone we care about and, ultimately, we are never happy with anything in our lives because we always want more. 


On the other hand, unrestrained apathy is also a sickness. It consumes everything and robs us of energy, desire, focus and everything that makes life worth living. To not care about anything or anyone is just living in shadows. 

Controlled ambition is an engine. Successful people live life with a “the sky is the limit” mindset. Whatever is most important to them, they put their heart, mind and soul into achieving it.  They balance the areas of their lives and find a way to win in one without sacrificing the others. Life is more fun when lived with passion, when we can look around and see what we’ve accomplished with our focus, our habits and our hard work. 


The key to harnessing controlled ambition is to define what it is we are passionate about. We only have so much energy, and there’s only so much time in the day. Rather than running from one activity to another, if we focus on just a few — our family, our careers, our health, our spirituality, etc. — we will accomplish mighty things. 

We will leave average in the dust. 

The Exceptional Life

During our quest to live an above-average life — to lead an exceptional life — we will make mistakes. That’s fine. That means we’re not afraid to try and that we are learning. Some of the most prosperous people I’ve ever met got there because they have lived their lives to the fullest and continue to do so as they get older. They’ve never settled for average, and they’ve reaped the rewards that effort brings. 


There are no do-overs in life, and you cannot rewind the clock. This is your life, right here and right now. Don’t settle for average — be EXTRAORDINARY.

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