The High Achievers Syndrome

We all want to achieve certain goals. We want to graduate from college, learn an extra language, learn another instrument, write a book.

In order to achieve these things, we need to take action. But, action taken without a good reason is wasting a huge amount of time. This is high-achievers syndrome - when you believe doing more will help you gain more. It won't.

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The Exponential Curve of Excellence: When Enough is Enough

samuelthomasdavies.com

Anything beyond what you need to do as a minimum to achieve your goal is wasteful.

Extra effort does not continue to give steady growth. As you move closer to perfection, improvement slows down even if you put in more effort. In other words, we can arrive at a point when the extra effort fails to show up in results.

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Take weight loss. Imagine you want to lose 100 pounds. You avoid sugar, count calories, and it yields big results at first. You lose two pounds a week. But, subsequent efforts yield smaller and smaller results. You then add more exercise or more research, only to find tiny returns.

When you plateau, doing more won't work. Pushing through the dip by maximising what you're already doing will help you get a tiny bit further.

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There are two enemies of execution:

  • Inaction. It breeds doubt and fear and stops you from achieving your goals.
  • Perfectionism. It causes anxiety, tension, and stress.

The best place is just above "good enough," where you strive for perfection but accept that it's impossible.

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