The Problem With Over-achievement
The Problem With Over achievement

Follow by Email
Achieving a lot sounds like a wonderful idea, but we should pause before envying over-achievers too much: they are likely to have been driven not just by enthusiasm and intrinsic interest, but also by a more desperate and poignant need to prove themselves to people (usually way back in childhood) whose love was painfully conditional. For gifts and more from The School of Life, visit our online shop: Join our mailing list: Our website has classes, articles and products to help you think and grow: Download our App: FURTHER READING You can read more on this and other subjects on our blog, here: MORE SCHOOL OF LIFE Visit us in person at our London HQ: Watch more films on SELF in our playlist: You can submit translations and transcripts on all of our videos here: Find out how more here: SOCIAL MEDIA Feel free to follow us at the links below: Download our App: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: CREDITS Produced in collaboration with: Natalia Biegaj #TheSchoolOfLife


shawnlocotucker : Reminds me of the phrase: It is sad to get to the top of your ladder only to realize it was leaning against the wrong wall

Jessica Stein : I have a bit of experience in this area. As a kid and a young adolescent, I pushed myself to be on the top in everything, and I beat myself up if I ever got anything less than an A. What this video says about this behavior is true—I did it because my parents weren’t happy with me. They’ve always been very expectant for us to achieve. Whenever I’d tell my dad I got a 95 on a test, he’d ask why it wasn’t a 100. When I said I was Vice President of my class, my mom asked why I wasn’t president. When I was benched for a volleyball game, my parents got angry with me for not trying hard enough, even though I already practiced for 3 hours a day. It’s why for a long time I aimed to be a doctor who graduated from Harvard, and took the hardest classes and signed up for every club I possibly could. Eventually I became crushed under the weight of my own workload, and had to go to therapy to fix it all.

Faiza : This channel makes me think about things I've never thought about before, thank you

Jade Jones : Once again, the timing of this video is very interesting! I'm not a hugely successful person, but i hold myself up to possibly unrealistic goals. I took a biology test yesterday that i got a D on. I don't get Ds, only As. i don't expect perfection out of those around me, but expect it from myself. I know why, it's no big mystery that I'm searching for acceptance from my dad, living in the shadows of my sister's disappointing choices, trying to make other's happy. It would be great if i ever finally achieve that feeling, but as I've aged I see that trying to make other's happy is not why we should do things, because no matter what we do, we can't make everyone happy and we shouldn't feel the responsibility to do so.

Evan Snyder : This video struck a deep chord. My brother and I both experienced abuse and trauma as kids. He went on to get 3 college degrees, including a PhD at an Ivy League school with a full scholarship. He now does research involving machine learning, travels constantly, presents at conferences around the world, and is almost always sick and tired. I hit the road to be a "famous" musician for about 2 years, started to see success, but realized I would never be happy that way. I have zero desire to be famous anymore, and purposefully simplified my life. I love him to bits, but I really hope he does the same someday. It's hard living in his projected shadow, but I mostly want him to be happy and healthy. :/

star666moon : Why is this video painting over-achievers as people who are compensating for psychological problems through their work when most under-achievers also suffer from these issues.

HydrangeaDragon : wow that used to be me o.o I'm glad I chilled out and stopped caring about my parents approval, I feel much happier that way

Videnda Noor : Ok this was good, BUT not every over achiever is problematic. The problem occurs when someone still feels empty/sad/inferior after multiple successes. Many over achievers feel pretty good and satisfied after their successes and don’t go through such traumas. So there was a bit of over generalization going on in your video.

***Leticia *** : I have to admit I'm an underachiever for the same reasons shown. At least overachievers try to cope with their past by succeeding in life, making their traumas work for them, not against.

Doze : Extremely accurate! Thank you for spreading awareness

Nyx Assassin : Like my comment for no reason thanks.

Science with Katie : This can’t apply to everyone? Some people who have seemily overachieved have definitely put in hard work, but have also had luck on their side. Not necessarily really trying to make huge achievements. - also I want evidence that that wasn’t Emma Watson at the end 🙊

MakeupByCovi : just wanted to say this channel had tough me so much about myself. And answered so many questions

Parvin Ahmadova : I am also overachiever, and I can see its influence on my mental and physical health. Sometimes I suffer from this situation, but I really can't stop because it has become an addiction.

Love Me : I appreciate that these are uploaded in the morning where I live. It starts my day off with awareness..

whileimonmars : This used to be me, but I no longer try to achieve to get the approval or love of my parents. I’ve accepted that I will never truly achieve that. Now, I see every achievement of mine as something that makes myself proud and that will push myself further to achieving my goals. I don’t brag or tell my family about my achievements at all now. I just live for my own approval. If I fail or do not live up to my own expectations, I give myself slack and compassion because I know I should be kinder to myself than my family would be.

Nicholas Bonasoro : This is a false dichotomy. There definitely are people who are over achievers because they use it as a defense mechanism, but the use of over is subjective and achievement is correlated with intelligence and conscientiousness not neuroticism.

anastasia christina : I wish i could achieve

Zoë Clark : Ummm this was actually a bit real could you just tone it down a bit so I don’t have to realise these extreme personality faults in myself

Sophie : Sophie The psychanalists would say that overachievement typically stems in the relationship with the parents, or care givers. In the film Inception the topic is a big part in one of the main characters. The relationship between Fischer, quite the overachiever, and his father. Fischer : [of his father] At the end, he called me to his deathbed. He could barely speak; but he took the trouble to tell me one last thing. He pulled me close... and I could only make out... one word: "Disappointed." Later on it is explained that it was the father’s strategy to treat his son with contempt in order to push him to be obsessed with excellence. Usually it’s not a conscious strategy, usually the care giver will be neglectfull and distant and that will stem the kid to be the best he can be.

No Face : Not necessarily, in my opinion. People may be naturally driven towards achievements and want their work to be seen and appreciated. Many famous people have had dark pasts that they've pulled inspiration from, that's true, but you put this idea forward seemingly believing it applies to almost everyone and that doesn't have to be the case. Not every success needs to hide a shadow of emotional pain. I have a slightly unusual philosophy channel myself. If you like TSOL, perhaps you'd be interested in my channel as well. Thank you.

Lea Pal : But, we wouldn't have achieved so much as a society if there weren't overachievers...

Chandrika V : I partially disagree with this proposition, sometimes an overachiever is driven by the other overachievers nevertheless whatever their past may be. There is nothing wrong in being ambitious or being an overachiever as long as they don't fool themselves with their achievements as a way to claim higher social status , make people envious, become snobbish or greedy. Sadly in today's world we see most of the achievers with these virtues. Then we tend to dismiss them by saying that it is sad to be at the top and it is lonely or they must have had some troubled past. Thank you!

Felix Warren : Man, this hit a little too close to home. Thank you for the reflection.

Alice Wong : Damn.... parents I think have to make a art of care responsibilities to their children mentally and physically in order to reached the better adulthood lifestyle... Thanks!.....(edited) I shed my tears when watched again.... I don’t know how to be successfull in what i love😔

لمى الشريف : You mean that those who notice over achievers are themselves one. Thank you! This goes out to all the beautiful overachievers who were misunderstood and didn't get their needs met!

R Isack : That's so deep! Thank you for the knowledge.

Kevin Yeoh : When Science with Katie isn't in the comment section you know you're early.

Napoleon I Bonaparte : We all have that one classmate that has too much pride and refuses to acknowledge they are already defeated...

Graeme Roberts : This is excellent! Wise, true, and very useful. Bravo!

Emily Brock : I just got roasted for 4:51

BrownestSugar : I did enjoy the video tremendously but do think it paints too broad a stroke. Some over-achievers a definitely trying to compensate for some trauma or pathology (yours truly included) but there are just as many who might simply be passionate or motivated about X and Y. I doubt the video means to undermine ambition and perseverance but it missed an important caveat in drawing a line between the two conditions.

Karen Foo : Yes I work hard because I was bullied in the past and I came from a broken family. Plus I've tons of people who left me because they didnt believe in me

The Infinity Light : Interesting description of over-achievers. They can be just as neurotic as underachievers, and they may even be underachievers to themselves. The bridge between under and over has been built, and the distinction between the two has been blurred, an almost postmodern act which draws one away from categorisation and into a grey blur of assimilation and unification.

burnt cookie : I can't even begin to explain how true this is

Panos M. : Don't necessarily agree. I feel like everyone, from lazy under-achievers to charismatic over-achievers, does whatever they can. Man does because he can.

Xxx Tentacion : Underrated channel

na vi : My over-achievement problem is i am feeling hollow shortly after I achieve what i want. So i move to my next goal to feel "something". Maybe because i never get acknowledgements for my achievements? I don't know... 😐

Saulius Adomaitis : Well at least I know I'm safe from it

Crystal CCC : I study hard because im afraid of my life prospects if I don't.

ariaran gopalan : what about underachievers?

Adnan Sawaf : This year I finally acheived all the milestones that were on my bucket list. Shortly afterwards I fell into a great depression and am currently taking anti-depressants to crawl out of that hole and restructure my life and perspectives. This video nails it very precisely.

Mardan P. : Love your graphics!

Aaron Yandell : Acheivement should not be life-sustaining, but rather a source of thriving.

Villie Stephanov : ""Only with You I am alone ""... Both call for ignorance to do all my pleasures :)

wise0beast : the illustration this time around was actually very compelling, related to the content of the speech and wayy less distracting than some of the previous ones: kudos!

i am a catheter : ❤❤❤❤❤ this made me feel better tonight. Thank you once again, School of Life. 😊

Tyler Tyler : But doesn't this what make the world go round? Without overachievers, we wouldn't taste some exciting discoveries and other fruits of their works. The world is really in equilibrium.

Phoebe : Woah, this is me.