A mother of two gets promoted to head an entirely new department after being with the company for a mere six weeks.
A college dropout churns out new, highly popular apps every month and teaches himself Chinese “to take his mind off work.”
A successful entrepreneur constantly embarks on new, ambitious ventures… that is, when he’s not fundraising for charities.
Overachievers. Often the subject of amazement and surprise, they’re the “I Don’t Know How She Does It” individuals. They’re the ones who always go the extra mile and don’t give up. The ones who pick themselves up and start over. The ones who work harder, run faster, and aim higher. The ones who seem to succeed at everything they do… and unlike most of us, they’re rarely limited to only one ambition. Many seem superhuman, and we mortals are left wondering, “Why do they do it—and where do they get the energy?”
Despite the fact that many people associate the term with individuals who are overly ambitious, there are numerous, notable people in a variety of industries who can be considered overachievers. These include businessmen and philanthropists Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates; U.S. Secretary of State and writer Hilary Clinton; and even The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik, former child-star, currently Emmy-nominated actress, and real life neuroscientist. And though talent, intelligence, and education seem to play a large role in their successes, it’s undeniable that drive is equally important.
So what is it that drives overachievers?
Behind the Drive
Psychology Today states that everybody is driven to achieve goals, but overachievers differ in that some experience an often subconscious fear of failure. Their fear, a primal instinct and powerful motivator, drives them to excel. For other overachievers, their self-worth relies on their measurable success. And since humans are social animals, another primal instinct lies at the root of their drive.
However, according to performance psychologist John Eliot in another Psychology Today article, “What most people aim for and train for is mediocrity. They never really get to put their true potential into play.” Eliot claims that by following the widely known prescription for success—relax, set goals, visualize success—you’ll never rise above the rank and file. And his opinion about what sets overachievers apart is that they handle failure differently from the rest of us. He believes overachievers have a significant dose of irrationality at their disposal. When every natural law is screaming at them to stop, this drives them to continue on, learning from their mistakes and turning their weaknesses into strengths.
Lessons from Overachievers
Either way, no matter how their psyches work, there’s no doubt about it. True overachievers possess certain qualities that keep pushing them to the top of the heap.
But if you, like most of us, aren’t superhuman, wouldn’t it be great to have just one or two of those qualities? Just to give you a bit of an edge and help with your career advancement?
Here’s the good news: some of those qualities can be learned! And with some work and repetition, you can master and use them throughout your career.
Choose one or two of these qualities and practice them until they’re second nature. Before long, you’re bound to see some surprising changes in your accruing accomplishments.Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2012/12/28/13-things-overachievers-do/; http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/11-things-overachievers-differently.html; http://howshedoesitmovie.com/; http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200412/the-overachievers; www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201112/field-guide-the-overachiever
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