Fellow overachievers, it's time to stop torturing ourselves

"It's not circumstance that makes us great, but character."

As overachievers, our biggest dilemma is not doing enough. Even after working seven days a week, always having dinner on the table, and taking time to network and advance in both life and career, our ultimate goals still seem so far away. That goal of reaching a certain salary, that goal of pursuing another degree, that goal of publishing that book or getting that part. The more we overachievers do, the more there seems left to do. For us, satisfaction in life is difficult to achieve because everyone else (including ourselves) does not live up to our expectations. The cycle of torture that we submit ourselves to on a daily basis is difficult for outsiders to understand, and difficult to break. Here are some tips, from overachiever to overachiever.

Stop looking at Facebook

Facebook is like adult entertainment. Adult entertainment is a completely unrealistic fantasy of what human sexual relations look like. Facebook is similarly unrealistic, in that it showcases only the best of the best (and the worst of the worst). Facebook breeds jealousy. It's an open forum for people to post about all of their accomplishments. People are less likely to post anything that might put them in a negative light, so the effect is a positively-skewed fantasy world of superhumans that always have something to celebrate (or complain about). But the more we look, the more we'll be plagued by unrealistic expectations. Overachievers have a strong self-drive that can often be exacerbated by the success of others. Take this success with a grain of salt. The people that feel the need to brag on Facebook have a lot more problems than we can see in their selfies.

Focus on spiritual goals instead of physical goals

Our world is number-centric. How many kids do we have? What's our annual income? How tall are we? We therefore are compelled to reach goals that have a material value. For example, I want to get a promotion so that I can afford to buy a new car. But we can restate this goal to be spiritual instead of physical: I want to do the best I can at work everyday and show my boss that I am passionate about what I do. By removing material rewards from goals, it allows us to focus more on the present moment, our attitude, and feelings rather than the end result.

Consider the brain pie chart

Your brain is a pie chart, comprised of different sections that correspond to things you think about. We need to ask ourselves these questions:

  • What percentage is devoted to stress and worry?
  • What percentage is devoted to dreaming?
  • What percentage is devoted to family, love, and relationships?
  • What percentage is devoted to daily, banal activities?

Our goal is to minimize the first and last percentages and expand the middle percentages. Dreaming, while it seems an unrealistic way to spend our time, can be extremely helpful in chilling out. It's a great thing to be in touch with reality, but leisure time is essential to having an opportunity to reevaluate our goals.

As overachievers, we're both gifted and burdened by an undying spirit and energy to achieve. But there is more to life than achievement. We are all human because we cannot do everything in the world. Success has nothing to do with physical circumstances, and everything to do with internal happiness. With a positive attitude, we can turn any situation into something challenging that can provide us with fulfillment. Life is not a means to an end, but a kaleidoscope of feeling and emotion. It's not circumstance that makes us great, but character.