Average is a Prison – Here’s What Average Looks Like in America

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If you do what everyone else does you’ll get what everyone else gets, which isn’t much.

Here’s what average looks like in America:

  • The average American is 17 pounds overweight (1).
  • The average American watches 33 hours of TV a week (1).
  • The average American reads just four books a year (1).
  • The average American works just 34.4 hours per week (1).
  • The average American spends 116 minutes a day (about 2 hours) on social media (1).
  • The average American spends five hours a day on their cell phone (1).
  • The average American consumes eleven alcoholic drinks a week (1),
  • The average American exercises just seventeen minutes a day (1).
  • The average American has less than $1,000 in savings (1).
  • The average American makes $56,516 a year in income (1).
  • The average American has less than $500 in emergency funds (1).
  • The average American saves 4.4% of their income for retirement (1).
  • The average American spends 6 minutes a day looking for their keys (IKEA).
  • The average American has an 1,800 square foot home (1).
  • The average American household has $75,000 in debt (1).
  • The average American spends $69 a day (1).
  • The average American has $34 in their pocket (1).
  • The average American is taking at least one prescription drug (1).
  • The average American spends 33% of their income on housing and 17% on transportation (Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Report).
  • The average American has $110,000 in mortgage debt and $5,747 in credit card debt (1).
  • The average American sleeps 7.8 hours a day (1).
  • The average American wears 20% of the clothes they own (1).
  • The average American spends 17,600 minutes in a car per year (1).
  • The average American eats 1,996 pounds of food every year (1).
  • The average American spends 11 hours a day staring at some video screen (1).

If you’re average, you’re in good company. But, are you happy with being average?

If you want to be better than average, you have to do things above-average, successful people are willing to do.

So, what do above-average, successful people do that average people don’t do?

According to my five-year study on the daily habits of self-made millionaires, successful people do many things that set them apart from average people. I tracked over 300 things self-made’s do that average people don’t do. Here’s a small sampling:

  • They Put Their Ladder on Their Wall – Successful people pursue their own dreams and goals. Not those of their parents, family or friends.
  • They Engage in Deliberate Practice – Talent is not enough. In order to become expert in your field, you must practice your craft every day, for many hours a day.
  • They Don’t Rely on Passion or Motivation – Passion and motivation will only take you so far. Successful people forge good daily habits. Good habits put you on autopilot for success. Because they’re automatic, unconscious behaviors and thinking, you will engage in them with or without motivation.
  • They Never Stop Trying – Ninety-three percent of the self-made’s in my study did not accumulate their wealth until after age 50. They kept trying. They never quit on their dreams. They were persistent. And, another little factoid I found in my research was this – these persistent self-made millionaires eventually got lucky. Eighty-seven percent of the self-made’s in my study said they would never have become rich if not for luck. At some point during their very long march towards success, luck found them. And transformed their lives.
  • They Are Frugal – Eighty-four percent of the self-made’s in my study were frugal. They invested time and patience in finding the highest quality at the lowest price. They delayed gratification for things they desired until they got their money’s worth.
  • They Do Not Gossip – Successful people avoid gossip. Gossip is negative and damages relationships.
  • They Read to Learn – Eighty-eight percent of the self-made’s in my study read thirty minutes or more every stay to gain knowledge about their career, craft or industry.
  • The Experiment – Successful people experiment until they figure out what works. This takes time and patience. When they figure out the right way of doing something, they turn it into a habit.
  • They Seek Feedback – Successful people overcome the fear of criticism and seek feedback from others. They use this feedback to improve their product or service.
  • They Create a Blueprint of the Life They Desire – If you don’t have a blueprint of your ideal, perfect life, how can you create a great life? Successful people script out the life they desire and then pursue dreams and goals that will help them create that life.

Success sets you free. Average imprisons you. If you want to be free, you must do what average people are unwilling to do.

(1) Sources: 2010, Census, Pew Research Center, Dept. of Agriculture, Nielsen, U.S. Census – Household Debt in the U.S. 2000 to 2011 – March 2013, National Institute of Retirement Security – “The Retirement Savings Crisis: It’s Worse Than We think”, American Society for Nutrition, Daily Exercise – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – American Time Use Survey 2016, CDC – Weight of the Nation Press Briefing (July 27, 2009.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Amused Observer says:

    If I had an average American income I’d be wealthy by now.

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