What about the average? Yes, what about it?
When talking about the average, people expect someone to put some crazy statistics and to come back with a number and a one true answer.
Let me spare your time, the answer and the number is 42.
The average is the number that gets so much attention and is overall so incredibly overrated.
There is no magic number (besides 42, of course) that one can measure anything and give a real overview of what is going on.
THERE IS NO SUCH NUMBER.
If you think about the average number of the legs that people have, it will be somewhere around 1.98 – do you know ANY human that has this number of legs ?
When my oldest son got some kind of evaluation from the Kindergarten, the person delivered the news in a tragic way – “your son is not on the average scale”, for which I replied “Great! Thank you!”. She tried to insist that his development is not corresponding the average expected and for which I replied with the same intention “Fantastic! Thank you!”. She did a couple of more attempts but rapidly realised that she will not be able to convince me in her point – I am not interested in the averages. I do not care if my kid is below the average, I care about overall evolution and development, there are no perfect kids and averaging humans never lead to a good result, just to a very average one.
The average of 0s and 100s is 50. None of the used values correspond to it. They are all off-scale and one can see it a tragic, while maybe the kind of measurement and the value is close to none, maybe behind this all some consultancy just made a lot of “value for the shareholders“.
From the social perspective, if you take me & the richest man in the world, and compare us to the rest of the world, on average I will become one of the top richest people in the world, without gaining a cent or being one of the most rich people in the world. This comparison is plainly unfair and wrong.
When we think about GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country, there is so much average-ism there. In some countries, people can become so rich that all the poor will be seemed to be doing fine.
Cut the outliers. But be extremely smart when doing so.
Pro Tip: it won’t be easy ;)
Let’s say we remove the top richest 10% from the accounting and starting to measure how non-rich people are doing, grouping them into different buckets according to their financial capabilities of surviving and not trying to get just one value to show good we do
Remember, if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything .
Most of the time the richest people loosing their money and their factories will propagate the losses onto the rest of the population. This factor can not be ignored and a sudden change in the position should be carefully observed, such as any fast change in the society and before people will be rightly educated that great money give them a great chance to do a great change, there is a lot of precaution to be made.
Actually caring about others is such a HUMAN thing, and I guess that no matter what your religion is – you should have learned that philosophy of helping your neighbours is the one that truly universal.
You see, getting one average is easy, but getting one meaningful average is not easy, it is impossible. Simply because of the word meaningful, because you can average yourself or you can average anything, but of course it will not have a real meaning.
Maybe averaging the results will give you an instant idea, but you will need to bucket them according to so many factors … so many!
In running you will need to include your age, the time of the day, the weather, the environment, …
I know, I know – when starting to think about the matter, it will obviously shine more complex than it seems.
What about measuring the happiness?
Yeah, I know it is tough.
But aren’t some of the best things in life are really tough to get?
The things that really matter – such as Respect, Love & Gratitude.
By the way, a number of countries started their earliest efforts on measuring and improving their citizen’s happiness.
These are mostly the early steps, but the direction is right!