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Underachiever or Overachiever?

by Melanie Gallo, PhD

Finding the right balance in life is always a handful. There are times when we just don’t seem to know how much time and energy we need to put into something.

Achieving a goal is something we strive to accomplish daily and it can be exhausting if we don’t have in mind the right balance.

The result of all this is not knowing when we are not doing enough of something or overdoing it a bit.

What is the difference?

Let’s say you are working in a company and you have the capacity and intellect to excel more than any of your co-workers. But you just don’t seem to see the point.

You like being in the position you are, and nothing can change the perspective of your views. Your co-workers don’t understand why you’re acting the way you are, but they just don’t understand, do they?

This is a typical model/mindset for an underachiever.

On the other hand, let’s say you are in the said firm and you’ve been sitting on the computer until midnight for the third night in a row. You want to impress your boss, because you want that raise.

You are willing to give it your best but don’t seem to know where the balance of it all is. This is the classic overachiever.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong

Being in one of these two scenarios, we can end up in the wrong place.

Underachieving is mainly caused by a lack of inspiration or orientation in life. We forget why we are doing this in the first place, or maybe stop doing it for something more fulfilling.

If there is no drive that makes us work more for the things we care about, there is no productivity, no passion in making it to the finish line.

This can lead to gaps in our social and family life. The result may be finding it hard to make friends with someone for example, or an impossibility to feel happy with yourself.

Overachieving, on the other hand, is caused by too much focus on personal development. Of course, that’s not a bad thing, but does it have to come with a price?

When It comes to getting the job done, the overachiever will do it, no questions asked.

But the time and energy that goes to achieving your goals better than others, having to be on top every time, can have an unfortunate impact on your life.

It often occurs that people who strive to be the best cut out people out of their lives in order to be focused on the important task. That’s a big “no, no” when it comes to relationships and connecting with your family.

So, where is the balance?

Finding the balance may seem tough, but it is far from impossible. For both types of people, there are different exercises that focus on a change in lifestyle than anything else.

For underachievers, It’s crucial to have a plan and a goal. Getting somewhere in life should be a process in which you have to dream, and execute!

Setting aside everything else, you need to ask yourself where you want to be right now and do what is required in order to get there.

It’s scary and challenging, but if you want to become what you dream of being, getting your plan up and running is a must.

For overachievers, the main exercise is one that includes having a bigger view of life and specifically your life.

Being the best is a great goal, but it stops you from living your actual life. The key is mindfulness meditation that can help develop a healthy balance between work life and actual life. It's that place of WorkLifeJoy.

To Wrap It Up

The world has always had overachievers and underachievers. What’s the difference between these two types of people?

Well, it might be their personality or intelligence (or both). It could also be how much they care about what others think of them or their personal values.

One group may seek to please other peoples' expectations while the other does not let outside opinions dictate their success in life.

These are just some ideas for why one person may excel more than another; there is no way to say who will do better without knowing all the facts first.

Either way, we should celebrate our differences because everyone brings something different to this world that makes us a stronger society as a whole!

I’m Melanie Gallo, Ph.D., a WorkLife Psychology coach and writer specializing in personality and thinking habits. I help today’s leaders and their team members define their WorkLifeJoy, then help them discover why they don't have it, why they need it, how to get it, and how to keep it. Get in touch directly or download my free Coach2GO app today.


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