Just Above Average

If you’re a single dude on dating apps, try asking your female friend’s if you can peek into their Tinder experience:

It’ll probably look something like this:


The majority of messages say “hey.”

What struck me is that it wouldn’t take much to stand out.

What if being a tad above average can translate to success across multiple domains?

Today I’m going to share 3 stories of when being just above average got me what I wanted. Sometimes even unbeknownst to me.

Story 1: Renting in Hollyweird

A few years ago, I was apartment hunting in Hollywood. Not a cheap place to live. Until I found an apartment that fit just my budget. I didn’t think I had much of a chance, but applied anyway.

I emailed with a little info about myself, my availabilities for seeing the place, and provided a url to my LinkedIn.

After I moved in, I asked why they chose me.

“Dude, you were the ONLY normal person who contacted us out of like a dozen. Everyone was super weird or sketch. When you included a LinkedIn profile I knew you were our guy.”

I now understand this on the flipside. When I review tenant applications, 95% of them don’t bother to read the posting.

Original post said that if posting’s still up, the room is still available…

Just being a tad above average can help with something as mundane as rental applications.

Story 2: Getting Better Customer Service

Customer service rep: “Hi, this is Diane. How may I help you?”
Me: “Hi Diane, it’s Oz. How are you doing today?”

Replace “customer service rep” above with any name, and it would sound like the most boring conversation in the world.

But do this in a customer service environment, and your issues get resolved magically. It works for me whether I want some fee waived or get my iPhone replaced.

As the front lines of their company, customer service reps get the worst of society, from irate customers to getting verbally abused on the phone.

All it takes to be a little bit more pleasant to talk to, and it’s a win-win: both of you feel better.

Another time, my American Airlines flight was cancelled. There was a long line of angry customers at the service desk. The service rep got CHEWED OUT by the customer in front of me.

When it got to my turn, I just said “Wow. Stressful day huh?” The rep smiled.

He helped me get a better flight time and some bonus miles to boot – literally the same request the angry man had before me.

Story 3: Host Events

At the start of the dinner, the organizer gave everyone a prompt: share your favorite life hack.

I was sitting with venture capitalists, millionaires and startup founders. Everyone was more impressive than me.

When it got to the organizer’s turn to share her life hack, she looked around at the dinner party and said:

“This. Bringing you all together is my ultimate life hack.”

I tried this on a much smaller scale with second-degree dinners.

And it works. Now, hosting events and inviting people to things is my most reliable social hack to meet people. People feel special when they’re invited (I know I do) and it’s an easy way to position yourself as a leader.

It’s laughably easy to create a community around you, whether that’s starting a club in college, forming a meetup, or creating a Facebook group.

It turns out that the average person – myself included – is waiting to be invited to something, but will rarely be the host.

Just having a tiny bit more initiative than others can lead to big wins.

While brainstorming ideas for this article, I was marinating on the phrase “getting an edge.” An edge, if my geometry knowledge serves me right, is just a line.

A line is not a lot.

All one needs to get an edge in life is to step over the tiny lines that the average person won’t cross.

I love this idea of being just above average. What small actions can offer tremendous potential upside, with little to no risk?

It’s one way to apply 80/20 pareto thinking.

And it’s much less paralyzing than shooting for perfection.

> What’s something that feels average for you, but others find surprising or impressive?

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