Here’s the deal. I actually love ranking things. Charts. Graphs. Top ten lists. Brackets. I can’t get enough of assigning things a percentage, numerical value or letter grade and then comparing them to other similar things. I don’t know why…but I’d like to create a chart to try and figure it out.
The thing is, I like my rankings to have been given some serious thought. I like them to be accurate. And I generally don’t like it when someone is asked to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s not the idea of this that irks me, it’s that no one is ever honest in their self-evaluation.
If you ask someone how attractive they are, on a scale of 1 to 10, their response is almost always 6, 7, 8 or 9. Most people would never admit that they think themselves a perfect 10 and almost no one is willing to think of themselves as below average. But this scale only works if some of us are 3’s and 4’s. We can’t all be above average.
And it’s not just attractiveness – it works with any valued asset. Go ahead, ask yourself…on a scale of 1 to 10…How smart are you? How kind are you? How honest are you? I know what you’re thinking, about an 8, right?
So, how am I going to do it? How will I make everyone realize that we aren’t all 7’s and up? Personally, when I want someone to evaluate themselves I ask, “How _______ are you, on a scale of 6 to 9?” I still get all 7’s and 8’s, but at least there’s no pretense. I mean, what’s the point of being in the top three if everyone else is as well? “In this year’s Olympic bobsled, the gold medal goes to Norway and, what the heck, silver and bronze medals for everybody else.”
Look, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but most of us are 5’s. There should also be a lot of 4’s and 6’s. Average, or a little below or above. The 1’s and 2’s are incarcerated. The 9’s and 10’s are running the world. One thing that can help us deal with this sobering fact is using a larger scale, like 1 to 100. “I’m a 64,” just sounds better than “I’m a 6.” How attractive are you, on a scale of 1 to 1,000,000? I happen to be a 472,891. Not too shabby.
So think outside the box. Use bigger numbers. Or something completely different. How good a friend are you, on a scale of red to violet? How athletic are you, on a scale of cucumber to asparagus? How happy are you, on a scale of Alabama to Wyoming? At the very least, you’ll make the person give their answer some real thought and the answers are bound to be more interesting.
So, what do you think of this blog entry? Me? I give it a seven.