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The Idea Of Overachievement Exhausts The Youth

“Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you go, and fix it along the way...”

― Paul Arden


The generation of the 21st Century has felt the pressure of getting good grades or becoming successful for a better future. To achieve this goal, they push themselves, work hard and try to be the perfect version of themselves. However, during this practice, many felt stressed and faced severe anxiety, and a few went into depression. The idea of achieving an unrealistic amount of aspiration turns out to be stressful for the person.




The word ‘overachievement’ is the idea of doing better than expected; achieve more than is standard. An overachiever is an individual who works consistently and performs better to achieve more success. But if your success is being overshadowed by anxiety, then you need to reconsider your persistent pursuit of achievement.


Overachievers as Perfectionists:


Many students and youngsters aspired to be overachievers and expected themselves to outperform others in their lives without considering the importance of pleasure. This mindset proved challenging for the individual, and they struggled with the ‘perfection’ mentality, the desire to be faultless or fear imperfection. Therefore, they try to achieve everything and want themselves to be perfect in every aspect. Perfection, however, is just unattainable for early teenagers.


The idea of perfectionism threatens the mental well-being of young adolescents. According to the study Different perfectionist profiles in adolescent high school students 3 out of 10 children are classified as maladaptive perfectionists. They desire complete perfection, which is a sign of maladaptive perfectionism. The young set high expectations for themselves, and when these unrealistic standards do not meet high standards, it leads to perceived failure.


Nowadays, youngsters fail to acknowledge their accomplishments and downplay their successes. The high-achieving teens measure their self-worth through their grades and extracurricular activities. Most of the time, they tend to compare themselves with others based on their scores and other achievements in school. Acquiring low scores is considered a humiliation, and thus it can plummet their confidence and self-image.


To try to be a perfectionist is not a bad thing. Efforts and sacrifice are the two pillars of human growth in today’s time. Therefore, in a competitive society, this mindset may lead to success and provide enough incentive to strive to be the best version of ourselves. However, exceeding the limit of perfectionism may lead to very harmful effects on the mental and emotional health of an individual.


Veronica Raggi, a clinical psychologist, has reported the rise in the youth struggling with perfectionism. Moreover, she added that Hypercompetitive teenagers frequently lack sleep and work late at night, which causes a significant risk to their mental and physical health. Hence, perfectionism is linked to the development of mental disorders in teens.


Factors of Overachievement:


Different studies and researches reveal that overachievement is the result of a combination of personality and individual characteristics, as well as values and attitudes taught or acquired from parents. The environment of institutions and societal factors influence the idea of overachievement. The comparison between peers is one of the main factors of overachievement. Students compare themselves to their peers in every academic achievement and set their self-worth accordingly. They associate self-esteem with achievement and approval. However, they believe that they will only be appreciated and loved if they achieve perfection in their career. Ultimately, they feel pressurized to compete with others which drains their energy and ability to perform well.


Self-critique is also one of the factors of overachievement. It is normal to question your actions at times. However, overachievers tend to belittle themselves for failing to meet their expectations. Teenagers think that if they self-critique themselves, they can perform better. Therefore, they engage in negative self-critique that is difficult to disengage. They stressed themselves about the impossible goal and questioned their abilities.


The downfall of being an Overachiever:


Expectations rise:

The person creates high standards which are difficult to deal with, and in the end, the person can never be satisfied with the results. Similarly, teenagers exhaust themselves for their goals, which ultimately never satisfy them.


Always want to be the best:

Not everyone likes the one who is best at everything. Teenagers who constantly strive to outperform their peers have a fear of failing. Failure is not a bad thing.  John Maxwell, “Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success."


Have a pleasing complex:

There is a saying that you can't please everyone all of the time. Teenager always tries to please everyone with their achievements. But in the end, he is always stressed out and feels underappreciated.


The outburst of anger:

When the expectations reach their limit without better results, the person feels burned out, which leads to an emotional outburst. Teenagers get frustrated and react strongly to minor issues and the mistakes of others.


How to overcome the Overachievement syndrome:


Understanding Your strengths:

The teens need to learn their true strengths and focus on personal and professional development. This can be the first step toward their personal growth.


Prioritize the focus:

Teenagers must let go of all their unreasonable expectations, narrow their focus, and establish priorities for achieving their goals.


Embrace failure:

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The path to success is filled with failure. So, instead of being afraid of failure, it's time to learn from it. The youth need to accept and learn from mistakes to achieve their goal.


To summarize, while success and engagement are essential elements of human growth, we must evaluate what occurs when the balance between achievement and emotional and social health is ignored or undervalued. A high level of stress in kids and young can create a problem for their physical and mental health. It results in a lack of motivation, sleeping and eating disorders, and risks to mental well-being. In contrast, the teen who strikes a balance between work ethic and self-care can be well-prepared for the marathon of life.


In conclusion, the shocking culture of overachievement should need to end as it is exhausting for the young generation. The youngsters must realize they can not do everything at once. So, instead of burdening themselves, they need to take a break and enjoy their life. Overachievement and maladaptive perfectionism can only cause anxiety, self-doubt, and physical exhaustion. The parents and the community need to actively work to mitigate the risks of overachievement and support young people in building a solid foundation for resilience, self-care, and mental health at this crucial developmental stage.


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