For an individual known for being smart and talented, it seems easy to seize every opportunity that comes their way. All they need to do is to narrow down their selection and choose the best option. Unfortunately, things only look good from a distance. Once you take a closer look at what overachieving can cause, things become clearer and less overwhelming. One of the challenges that overachievers need to face is taking risks. Sure they have managed to maintain impressive grades, but are good grades the only way to measure self-worth?
Perfectionism hinders one’s ability to take on the challenge as they always avoid it. They would rather do things or carry out tasks they are already familiar with instead of accepting new challenges. However, life loses its excitement when you choose to embrace comfort. When searching for the things you want in life, it also involves exploring options, challenging yourself and even failing. One thing is for sure though. When you focus on the things you want instead of things that please others, you gain complete freedom no matter the process it takes to find your passion.
1. The need to please
My parents gave me money for getting A’s in school, not for studying hard. In fact, while my SAT scores were good enough to get me into some of the top colleges in the US, they were a terrible disappointment to my father, who’d been training me for a specifically higher score.
In his book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson discusses the research that shows one of the biggest parenting mistakes is telling kids how smart they are. It’s called “the inverse power of praise.” The result is a generation (or two) of people who are scared to death to take on any challenge which involves a remote chance of failure. They not only have a reputation as a smart and talented person to maintain, but the love, affection and admiration they are addicted to seems directly related to their ability to achieve.
Among my traditionally successful clients, many of them struggle with what their boss or colleagues or parents will think about changing careers. And too often, they imagine a response that’s not real. It’s true that I had no less than 10 former bosses and colleagues call me when I decided to leave the Air Force, in an effort to talk me out of it. But it was, in some regards, self-serving. They all worked for the Air Force, and thought my departure was a loss for the service, not necessarily a loss of personal mental stability.
Reframe: We tend to think the only way to impress people is through the traditional measures of success: wealth, fame, or power. But happiness can be much more impressive due to its scarcity, especially among those who have sought the traditional success indicators themselves.
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