Achievements are great. Seeing a goal and achieving it is great, too. To varying degrees, people have a healthy desire to succeed, and many successfully implement it. It is accompanied by self-care, pleasure, and joy from the result. It helps to make life better and brighter.
Imagine situations where the goal is an achievement in itself. It can be anything: sports, business, a promotion at work, or improved results. Achievements turn into a kind of adrenaline, and addiction, but they do not bring satisfaction. Having reached the finish line, having built a dizzying career, and having achieved success, a person still feels devastation and burnout. What’s wrong? Can the goal, once set and consciously pursued, lead to such a state? How to know if a person is an overachiever?
Who are overachievers?
There is a big difference between being an overachiever and having a healthy desire to achieve a goal. If we try to describe an overachiever, it will be a story about race, the absence of half measures, about depreciation. You only need the first place, and no matter what the price is, the second place is of no importance.
This person sees the goal, but does not see himself on the way to it, spends much more effort, not receiving positive emotions and satisfaction from the process. The main thing for him is to get the result as soon as possible.
It is also important to say that an overachiever only perceives himself as good in terms of achievement. If there are no achievements, it is bad. The whole focus of attention is concentrated on the result, but not on the person. Here we can say that a person does not feel his needs, his desires, and does not treat them consciously. “Must” and “should” are two criteria for achievement.
Overachiever syndrome signs
- Achieving or not achieving a goal defines you as a person. It’s great if I reach it. It’s bad if I don’t.
- Rest causes feelings of guilt or shame. You want to occupy yourself with something productive, and it is difficult to disconnect from thoughts about the business.
- You ignore your needs. You can sacrifice sleep, rest, food, meetings with loved ones, and pleasant things in favor of work.
- Achievements give short-term pleasure or do not bring it at all.
- There is no clear goal. There is no idea what will happen when success is achieved. Behind the achieved result, there is always a new goal. You don’t stop to enjoy the moment.
- Being an overachiever is the desire to be the best everywhere, not just at work. This is similar to perfectionism when a person strives to do everything perfectly.
- Achievements, promotions, and new goals are associated with high anxiety. A person thinks not about success and anticipation, but about failure.
- You cannot be in the present, you do not feel contact with actual needs. All your thoughts are only about the future. You don’t understand what the “here and now” is.
The reasons why a child grows up as an overachiever can be different. Here are just a few of them:
Indifference of parents
“Mom, I’ve won the first prize!” – and there is no response. Indifference is the most terrible reaction for a child. The child fails to understand if he is good or bad for the mom if she notices him or not. All his efforts ensure that his mother notices and praises him. There are cases when parents praise only for achievements, and the rest of the time, the kids are not noticed.
The child grows up, builds a career, and achieves success. He becomes famous, takes on unbearable challenges, overcomes, tries hard and achieves everything just to get the desired reaction. He has been dreaming of this reaction since childhood, and now he wants to receive approval from literally everyone.
The parents’ desire to self-realize at the expense of their children
“I’ll be proud of you if…” You will be the best, you will be the first, and it does not matter whether it is necessary and interesting for the child himself. As a child, you may not realize this, and later you will get used to the fact that you must always please and live up to expectations. In fact, this means satisfying the desires of the parents but not their own.
An unfavorable situation in the family
Some parents cannot provide a safe childhood for their kid. Those who are faced with poverty, addiction, violence and danger from a very young age try to survive in any way and break out to a new level.
The only desire is to provide for oneself. Therefore, as soon as a person enters their comfort zone, he cannot get enough of what he has already received or, conversely, loses interest. Only pushing off from the very bottom once again, he begins to reach another goal.
Why do parents pass on these negative attitudes to us? Here we are talking about trans-generation traumas. Our ancestors had to do something against their will in order to survive.
The history of each country also plays a role: revolutions, losses, wars and difficult post-war years. Generations grew up fearing for themselves, their children, and their life. This fear is inside us, it is encoded in the form of messages and settings.
These rules initially played a positive role, protecting and saving us. Then, time passed, and reality changed, but the attitudes have not. All that remained was fear and nothing more.
What to do with it?
The very first step is awareness. We are all traumatized in one way or another. It is important to answer such simple and at the same time very complex questions. Ask yourself: “What is happening to me?” – this will help to slow down, stop for a moment, and feel your body.
This is important because our bodily sensations never deceive us. We may not know, be able to understand or interpret feelings, but the body always responds to the request. Who am I? What do I really want? These two main questions will help you stay in touch with yourself and your true desires and avoid being an overachiever.