Trapped Under the Middle Part of the Bell Curve?
Bill Cottringer

“Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high as it will.” ~W.A.Tozer.

Are you one of the “lucky” few people who have used your special talents smartly, worked with persistence in never giving up on your dreams, discovered and applied your creativity creatively, and became sensitive to good timing with acting on moments of opportunity, all to escape from under the hostage-holding average part of the Bell curve? Or are you among the silent majority that have to be satisfied with an average amount of success results in translating childhood dreams into adult realities?

Here is an interesting newsflash: The whole Bell-curve theory was invented by lazy statisticians as a quick and easy way to capture the big picture of how everything would eventually end up. At the time, all they had access to were tiny pieces of a bigger-than-life reality they couldn’t begin to see, let alone measure! But something disastrous happened along the way to researching and teaching this theory. This undesirable side effect was that this artificial theory actually created very real realities for everyone before anyone realized what was going on. Everyone assumed the truth of this theory, usually with measly proof from small samples.

However, there have been just enough “escaped prisoners” from the Bell Curve to demonstrate an alternative reality—that this Bell Curve conspiracy doesn’t have to hold anyone hostage within the middle average area when it comes to success and happiness. Those still stuck under the average range of the Bell Curve of human potential just need to know one thing to escape such a dismal destiny: It is all a matter of giving up a faulty perspective on the escape plan and adopting a winning one for each of the main elements to success and happiness. Let’s look how this escape plan works with a slight shift of perspective with each of these main elements of success and happiness:


The truth of the matter is that really successful people don’t necessarily thrive because of their elite, superior talents or the silver spoons they were born with. They just become aware of what unique and special talents they have, develop them fully and apply them smartly and frequently to get the best results, with good timing and a little luck. Finding your special talents is not as easy as it sounds though. Sometimes such gifts involve the things you enjoy doing most and are best at; and sometimes they are the things that are the most difficult for you, which you actually dislike doing. And unfortunately sometimes you get no encouragement and end up having your talents buried for you. That is when you have to go digging. But successful diggers have to have the right perspective as to where and how to dig.


They say that effort without results is just another form of failure, but that is a wrong perspective because it is very self-limiting and more than likely based on another wrong assumption—that there have to be winners and losers in the success vs. failure game and that you have to do anything you can to be a successful winner. This translates into a false proposition that you even have to be successful (compared to others and external standards) to be happy. But, like many things over-embraced in life, this whole win-lose paradigm is only a half truth. The other half, which is a much better perspective to enable your escape plan, is focusing on something that isn’t within the Bell Curve—the idea of competition within yourself rather than against others. Expecting improvement against your last best performance is much more realistic and doable that keeping your eye on the outside competition. Inch by inch, life is a cinch, but yard by yard it is very hard.


The most practical and productive perspective to have about creativity is that everyone has it at their fingertips, when you redefine it into more down-to-earth terms. An example is taking something very ordinary and then adding something small but different to the equation and eventually producing something new and unusual. That kind of creativity is easy to access and has the widest possible application. However defining creativity in less than down-to-earth terms, takes it away from the masses and hides it with the few elite Bell Curve escapees, where it stays. When you redefine success in your own terms, instead of how the world or mega mass media machine imposes its ideal definition onto you, you usually end up having more of it, just like when you redefine something like creativity. Try it, it works. It is the surest and quickest way to get more of what you need to be successful, and it all starts with getting the right perspective on creativity.


The wrong perspective to have about timing, which actually keeps you trapped under the middle section of the Bell Curve, is that time is a mechanical and sequential fixed passage of events from past to the present to the future. This common, traditional conception of time is really only one small part of the big picture. A better perspective to base your escape plan on is the more fluid, irregular psychological perception of the quickness or slowness of time and how time can be expanded by focusing more on what you are trying to do right now—away from what you have done in the past or what you hope to do in the future. More can get done right now than any other time. And, with success, time may be the most valuable resource that is available in equal portions to everyone, depending upon your perspective.

If you are trapped under the middle part of the Bell Curve and tired of living an average existence, there is a way out that works. It simply involves realizing something so profound that it isn’t easy to see—that where you are depends upon where you are looking from, or your relative perspective/viewpoint. If you don’t like where you are under the Bell Curve, invest some time and effort in seeing how your wrong perspective is keeping you there and how a right one can help you escape to thriving and freedom, where you really want to be. This is not artificial bell Curve talk, but real stuff that works to debunk the Bell Curve myth.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), and Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or