The Bell Curve

I’ve had a long-running self-conception of existing multiple standard deviations away from humanity’s bell curve mean. (Sometimes I wonder if everyone thinks that, which is of course, not possible.) I’m 6'6″ and wear a size 17 shoe. The frequency and regularity that having a physical body size well outside “average” requires compensating action or problem solving is impossible not to notice. By virtue of education’s focus on standardized tests and having a career counselor mother armed with reams of personality tests, it’s typical for results to show that I exist in cohorts consisting of low single digits of the population. I think we can all relate to circumstances when you can just sense that you are not like those around you; a sense that “I don’t fit in here”. It is by no means inherently negative to exist a significant distance away from “average”, but it does inherently mean you will be considered to be an outlier in many decisions others make. Life as an outlier is a life of navigating systems that were not optimized for you. Surely we are all average-ish and outliers in various aspects of our lives. The question is where, more often than not, do you find yourself on that continuum? How much friction do you typically feel as you interact with human systems? I’ve grown comfortable with my self-identity as an outlier, often even relishing in it. Even when it is a pain in the ass.

This post was written in reflection on a chapter of The Model Thinker by Scott Page by the same name.

Originally published at https://ryancwing.com on February 17, 2022.

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Perpetual student of Life, The Universe & Everything currently @BinghamtonU in Systems Science MS. @EcoPharmD’s life adventure partner. // ryancwing.com

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Ryan Wing

Ryan Wing

Perpetual student of Life, The Universe & Everything currently @BinghamtonU in Systems Science MS. @EcoPharmD’s life adventure partner. // ryancwing.com