The extra mile and being average

It’s a rare thing these days, going the extra mile.

So much so, those that those that do can put themselves at a signifiant advantage. From applying to a job, to building long lasting relationships, a little extra effort makes all the difference.

The harsh reality is most of us are average in most things. And yet, we often fall victim to thinking we are special. It’s such a common phenomenon there’s even a name for it: illusory superiority.

The idea that we overestimate our own qualities and abilities in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other people.

By default, the world wants you to blend in. Go to college, get a standard 9-5. Yet, by making a few small changes, you can dramatically alter your life path.

For nearly every job I’ve applied for, I did something ‘out of the ordinary’ to make it happen.

For my first job out of college, I traded entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk 5 SNES games for an interview. Well, the exact deal was 5 SNES games for 5 minutes of his time, which I apparently made the most out of.

After needing a change of pace for NYC, I decided to buy a one way ticket to Santiago, Chile to participate in an entrepreneurship program, which of course is where I met my beautiful wife.

In other marketing gigs I’ve applied for, I’ve gone so far as making a custom website to highlight my resume and even a video to showcase my ‘personality.’

Going the extra mile didn’t always lead to success, but I know for certain it at least increased my chances.

For example, you often hear stories of people applying for literally thousands of jobs. While I understand the urgency and importance of providing for yourself, applying to thousands of job with some automated software isn’t going to get you anywhere.

And you see it all the time. People getting rejection after rejection. Is that part of the job hunting process? Of course. But why not increase your chances? Why not take a little risk?

Instead of half assing 100 job applications, why not spend 40 hours on one. Show how you can help the businesses. Network with current employees. Demonstrate why you’re the best for the job. A resume won’t do that.

Not long ago, it was common to go the physical location fo the business and ask to speak to the manager. Now? You might be labeled a creep. But think about it. Imagine you’re looking to hire someone and have to sort through thousands of keyword stuffed resumes.

Then one day, you see that someone literally drove to your office and asked to talk with you. It would make a good impression right? Why aren’t we doing more of that?

Of course, going the extra mile doesn’t just apply to jobs. It holds for your relationships as well. Could you take a bigger share of the house hold chores for a day, just because?

Could you go out of your way to make your loved one feel special and cared for? Maybe that’s running them a bath after a long day. Or maybe that’s coming up with a creative date idea. When was the last time you went the extra mile for your partner? For most of us, it’s been a while.

Living in an age of so much abundance, we’ve naturally become lazy. We want everything now. We get everything now. We settle into a routine.

And it’s making us soft.

You’re never going to be above average in everything, but you can absolutely be above average in the few things that matter. Most people think that you have to be world class to be above average, and that’s simply not true. The bar for average is so low, even just doing a LITTLE extra can catapult you into a top tier.

Of course you’ll want to continue improving and getting better each day, but so many of us sit on the sidelines because we are too afraid to try. We’re too afraid to put in a little bit of extra work.

One final example. So few of us do what we say. You’d think it would be common place, but you know it’s not. I’m just as guilty.

Imagine that. Simply doing what you say when you say you will, already puts you above average in many ways. Isn’t that wild?

Instead of trying to change the world, or launch that billion dollar startup idea… build the habit of going the extra mile. Overtime, it will get you so incredibly far.

Average is boring.