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5 Things Overachievers Understand and 1 Thing They Don’t

You all have at least one overachiever in your friend group and chances are if you think you don’t, you are probably the one. They can be picked out based on their lack of free time, participation in an abundance of organizations and excessive stress regarding school, work, and life in general. While being an overachiever generally has quite a few positive connotations – a full resume before you even get to college, acceptance onto the Dean’s list, etc. – it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. You might be self-aware of your own perfectionism, in which case you might recognize both the advantages and disadvantages of this trait. If you are an overachiever, here are five things you can probably relate to, and one lesson to learn. 

1. You Avoid B’s As If They’re a Failing Grade

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Maybe some of your peers follow the mantra of “C’s get degrees,” but the very thought of getting anything below an A makes you sick to your stomach. You not only know exactly what grade you need to get on the final in order to maintain your stunning grade but how many questions you can afford to get wrong and whether you should focus more on the multiple-choice questions or the short answer questions. It doesn’t matter how much your friends laugh at you for whining about getting an 89 – you need that A.

2. The Concept of Free Time Feels More Like a Fantasy…

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While your friends might complain about having way too much time on their hands and spending the whole day doing nothing, the very idea sounds absolutely ridiculous and maybe even impossible to you. Having extra time to watch a movie on Netflix or binge-watch your favorite YouTuber seems like a luxury to you, not an everyday occurrence. Being able to binge a season of your favorite season of your favorite show is considered a special occasion to you, on par with Christmas and your anniversary. Various forms of entertainment like Twitter, Instagram, and even reading a book seem leisurely to you.

3. …and When You Do Have It, It’s Almost Unsettling

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Because, surely, there’s something you’re supposed to be doing, right? There’s no way there isn’t any homework, paperwork, housework, or overall work that needs to be done. You might be able to spend your day off relaxing, perhaps in a nice bubble bath or scrolling through Instagram, but nothing can shake that unsettling feeling that you’re wasting the day away or that you’re just forgetting something you were supposed to do. This might be when you negate that feeling by starting a new project that you won’t be able to fit into your already busy schedule. 

4. Being a Perfectionist is an Understatement

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Things can’t just be perfect to you – they have to be more than perfect. It’s no secret that there’s a correlation between being an overachiever and being a perfectionist. And this doesn’t just apply to the workplace either – you might be obsessed with being the perfect spouse, the perfect parent, the perfect friend, or just being overall above average.

5. It’s All About the Outcome

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And it had better be a good one. Overachievers tend to stake their own identity and self-worth on outcomes because they believe that other people – and themselves – will judge them on how well they do. Of course, rationally, that’s not the case, but good luck convincing yourself of that. You, as an overachiever, differ from high performers because they tend to embrace failure as “a part of the process,” rather than taking it as a personal reflection. But the outcome is always worth the trouble and the rush of relief once all that hard work pays off is almost as addicting as adrenaline. 

And the one thing they don’t understand:

1. It’s Okay to Do Things Halfway

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It’s important to remember that halfway is better than nothing. Giving 50%, 40%, even 10% is better than giving nothing. It can be incredibly disheartening when you realize that not everything you do can be perfect but remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Only giving half effort on a discussion board is better than taking a zero. Only picking up your clothes is better than not cleaning at all. Finishing that project a week late is better than not finishing. Giving your all to every single thing you do can be incredibly exhausting and can lead to disappointment when you realize not everything can be perfect. So, don’t strive for perfection. You will find your own version of your best self, and that will be more than enough.     

I am a Creative Writing major studying at Florida State University. I have loved writing all kinds of genres since I was ten years old, and that passion has only grown over the last eleven years. Aside from writing, my passions also include drawing, painting, and cuddling my cat, Mason.
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