Off The Charts

Normal.jpeg

We all know people that seem to be conflict prone–they seem to have a tendency to get into it with others at work, socially, in the family, or wherever. 


Is it that they are abnormal or bad people?


Certainly many, if not most people, want to stand out in some fashion or form.


As the shirt says:

“Being normal is boring.”

We all want to be a little different or special.


If we’re the same as the other 7.5 billion people out there, it’s hard to feel that our lives are truly meaningful. 


Yet, being different or abnormal can be a good thing or a bad thing. 


Usually, you can be distinct in your combination of attributes within 1-3 standard deviations around the mean (average) and still be in the range of normal. 


1, 2, and 3 standard deviations equate to 68%, 95%, and 99.7% of the values in a normal bell shaped curve. 


So you can be different and still be considered normal.


The problem usually arises when you are off the charts deviant–and then you become “abnormal.” 


Is abnormal a bad thing?


Not necessarily, but generally extremes of anything can tend to become problems. 


For example, you can fall somewhere in between very generous and very thrifty, but when you go to the extremes of giving it all away or being a miser then that’s usually considered problematic. 


Similarly, you can be curious or indifferent and either of those may be okay, but at the extremes, if you become intrusive or apathetic then that’s a problem. 


So most of the people we deal with are normal in most senses of the word, although they may have traits that take them to the extreme and which can cause conflict or harm. 


Others may have many traits that are extreme and they have severe difficulty functioning at all with other people–they are seriously off the charts. 


Perhaps, that’s where healthcare professionals come in to assist with things like psychotherapy and behavioral modification (or even medications) to help people.


Being completely average is boring, but being off the charts can be dangerous to others who try to be themselves yet also constructively and humanely go along and get along. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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