There are many bad aspects to being an over-achiever – one of the biggest of these being the tendency to constantly be stressed.
I’ve come to realise that I’ve never really applied the principle of “just do your best”. Possibly because I’ve had an incorrect understanding of what “my best” is. For me, my best is perfection and it’s always been that way. So, at school or in college for instance, it was never good enough to just get 70%. No, it had to be 80% or more (…preferably more). To reach that (sometimes) unrealistic target, I would put so much strain on myself to study for hours and I’d neglect the fact that I was entitled to still live a little – still take time out to watch some TV and put my feet up.
Later in life, as I entered the working world, this tendency to over-achieve manifested in extra hours spent at work, or working on things from home. Again – this meant neglecting taking some ‘time-out’. Don’t get me wrong – we should all have certain personal standards to which we aspire – it’s never good to just be pleased with reaching the bare minimum or “just making it”. And it’s good to be diligent, hard-working and focused. But, the secret is in balance.
I’m currently working on something that’s been rather challenging and not only did I initially freak out about it and hit anxiety mode, but I also realised today that I’m expecting myself to get everything 100% perfect. But that kind of thinking just sets me up for more anxiety later on. Why? Because I won’t get it all perfect, and then I’ll be disappointed because I’ll have “failed”. So really, I’m just setting myself up.
The best you can do may not always be what others expect from you and may not be what you expect from yourself – but…it’s the best you can do. At least you know you gave it all you’ve got. There’s a kind of peace in that type of understanding, but it’s a peace I’m yet to fully understand…