Normal. Average. Expected Behavior. Common.
These words all have a very specific meaning. Oddly depending on the context the actions they describe could be drastically different. It’s easy enough to say that “Most people are average”. Or that “The average person acts normally”. Or even “That kind of behavior is expected and common”. But in reality we tend to edit out the expected. Ignore the normal. And backseat the average. We have a tendency to ignore that which we truly expect.
Conversely our minds are like hot pink highlighters for the outliers. When we see unexpected behavior alarms start going off in our heads with bright red flashing lights. Abnormal behavior triggers our minds into contrast mode as we itemize all of the flaws, errors or outright bloopers occurring in front of our eyes.
So when we spot that abnormal outliers, behaving in uncommon and unexpected ways, we speak up. Sometimes we correct. Sometimes we reprimand. Sometimes we just yell! “That’s a red light you just ran buddy!”, “How dare you treat me like this!?!”, “Would you talk to your mother that way?!?”.
Interestingly, it is much more rare for someone to speak up in support of behavior they expect. Our minds think, that this is the normal and civilized way for people to behave. So when someone does something we would have done ourselves, or would have expected, we tend to take it for granted. We believe, that the behavior observed, is the right way to behave. By taking it for granted, you are effectively ignoring it, and potentially discouraging it from happening again.
We really do want the world to be a better place. Additionally we truly need to believe that we are behaving in a way that makes the world a better place. So why not prop up the people that we see behaving in a way that makes that dream a reality? Why not become the voice of advocacy that encourages those normal, average, expected, common people to continue to be normal, average, expected and common?
We need to seek out a model of positive reinforcement. When you see something you like, say something. Don’t expect it. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t let the moment of sanity pass unremarked. Be the voice that speaks up and says “I like the world you’re building. Thank you!”