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Do You Have An Achievement Addiction?

Do You Have An Achievement Addiction?

We are taught from a very early age that achievements are important, for some they can become so crucial they become tied in with their sense of self worth. This is reasonable and can be healthy, however there is also a dark side to success. Jennifer Gresham, author of Everday Bright, shares some incredible insight on the negative effects of societies addiction to achievements:

In some ways it seems incredible—in my 22 years of schooling, no one ever explained what success was or how to know if you were one. I’ve taken numerous classes in management, philosophy, English, and history—not one provided more than a superficial examination of the subject.

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If there was any indicator of what constituted success, the definition seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once: your GPA, then the prestige of the university you got admitted to, then salary, promotions, and even the zip code or square footage of where you resided.

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By the time my vacation destinations had become a source of bragging rights, I knew I was in trouble. I was addicted to my achievements and the emotional boost that came with them. We know to be wary of things like drugs, alcohol, and junk food. But setting goals and achieving them is not only supposed to be healthy, it’s a way of life for many of us. A way of life that has the potential to harm unless you’re careful.

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This isn’t an anti-achievement manifesto. Healthy achievement can be rewarding and fulfilling. But when our self-worth becomes dependent on ever more impressive achievements, judged not even by our own standards but by how much we crush our competition (and everyone, by the way, can be seen as the competition), the result is shockingly destructive—and one that few are willing to discuss openly.

Addicted to achievement, we forget there is a huge difference between success at a task or goal and success as a person.

To bring this point home, I made this short video to explore achievement addiction and what to do about it.

A scientist by training and optimist at heart, Jennifer Gresham helps overachievers wake up to a life they love. She is the author of the popular career blog Everyday Bright and the founder of the No Regrets Career Academy. You can also find her on Facebook.
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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

6 Reasons Why Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

Perfectionism sounds like a first world problem, but it stifles creative minds. Having a great idea but doubting your ability to execute it can leave you afraid to just complete and publish it. Some of the most successful inventors failed, but they kept going in pursuit of perfection. On the other end of the spectrum, perfectionism can hinder people when they spend too much time seeking recognition, gathering awards and wasting time patting themselves on the back. Whatever your art, go make good art and don’t spend time worrying that your idea isn’t perfect enough and certainly don’t waste time coming up with a new idea because you’re still congratulating yourself for the last one.

1. Remember, perfection is subjective.

If you’re worried about achieving perfectionism with any single project so much that you find yourself afraid to just finish it, then you aren’t being productive. Take a hard look at your work, edit and revise, then send it our into the world. If the reviews aren’t the greatest, learn from the feedback so you can improve next time.

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2. Procrastination masquerades itself as perfectionism.

People who procrastinate aren’t always lazy or trying to get out of doing something. Many who procrastinate do so because perfectionism is killing their productivity, telling them that if they wait a better idea will come to them.

3. Recognize actions that waste time.

Artists and all creative people need time to incubate; those ideas will only grow when properly watered, but if you’re not engaging in an activity that will help foster creativity, you might just be wasting time. Remember to do everything with purpose, even relaxing.

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4. Don’t discriminate against your worth.

No one is actually perfect. We often have tremendous ideas or write things that move people emotionally, but no one attains that final state of being perfect. So, don’t get down if your second idea isn’t as good as your first—or vice versa. Perfectionists tend to be the toughest critics of their work, so don’t criticize yourself. You are not your work no matter how good or how bad.

5. Stress races your heart and freezes your innovation.

Stress is a cyclic killer that perfectionists know well because that same system that engages and causes your palms to sweat over a great idea is the same system that kicks in and worries you that you’re not good enough. Perfectionism means striving for that ultimate level, and stress can propel you forward excitedly or leave you shaking in fear of the next step.

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6. Meeting deadlines beats waiting for perfect work.

Don’t let your fear of failure prevent you from meeting your deadline. Perfection is subjective and if you’re wasting time or procrastinating, you should just finish the job and learn from any mistakes. Being productive means completing work. You shouldn’t try for months or even years to perfect one project when you can produce projects that improve over time.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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