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The Power of Underachieving

What? UNDERachieving?

That's right. I've made a fun discovery, and I want to share it with you. No doubt many others have discovered this before me, however in my years of studying and applying personal development tenets I have recently read this for the first time, so I'm guessing it's a little-known idea compared to other, more well-known principles. Perhaps we have heard it but put another way, and if even one person reading this has a light-bulb moment, then my sharing it is worthwhile.

I credit one of my mentors, Robert Kiyosaki of the famous Rich Dad franchise for introducing me to this, and he in turn credits Canada's Raymond Aaron. Both gentlemen are very successful, so there must be something to this advice. Robert Kiyosaki has helped me profitably change my mindset when it comes to money, business, and what really matters financially, and Raymond Aaron's advice has helped me with consistency, which in turn has helped me accomplish far more than I otherwise would have. Who knew?

Questions: Do you have big dreams and goals? Are you on the path to amazing and awe-inspiring achievements? If you look inside and are honest, are your goals and dreams so big that they sometimes intimidate and overwhelm you with their enormity?

While we have all been focusing on our goals, reaching for the stars, striving to change our thoughts and behaviors and achieve ever more, this new (to me) idea brings up the opposite point of view. In a simple and stunning swipe at everything I have believed to this point, Aaron tells me to try underachieving. After my double-take, I began to think about what he was saying. It doesn't actually conflict with my beliefs, but complements them. Essentially, the point is reiterated that we put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish things that sometimes it can be overwhelming. If this feeling of 'too much' begins to feel too heavy, often people will end up doing nothing at all, rather than taking the necessary steps to pursue their dreams.
Solution: try taking the pressure off. What if, every day when you contemplated going to the gym, for instance, instead of thinking you must lift heavier or run faster or last longer ('But I'm still sore from yesterday!' you're thinking), you just said to yourself 'Well, as long as I do a little something, I'm satisfied,'? If you might have even skipped your workout because the prospect was so intimidating, perhaps now you might do that 'little something' and not feel so guilty about not doing more.

You know what? LITTLE SOMETHINGS every day are what add up to success in the long-term.

While this idea seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, in reality it fully supports them - and you! With less pressure on yourself, you can feel OK just performing little tasks every day which lead you toward your dreams. The world was not meant to be conquered in a day. Haven't you read a million times that it's the little steps you take every day which lead to your dreams being fulfilled? So why do we try to do so much, and often end up curled up in bed whimpering?

The proof: Since reading this, I have been more consistent with almost every important aspect of my life: exercise, eating habits, cleaning, communication, work and goal-achieving activities...you name it, I've been doing little bits every day. With the pressure off, I can relax and just do what feels right in the moment, and somehow everything gets done, little by little. It's amazing! I feel better about things that have been weighing on me, and they are getting done. A huge pile of filing I'd been avoiding, for instance, is slowly going down, because instead of hiding from what seemed like an insurmountable pile, I'm doing a portion each day.

Perhaps with this new idea you'll even enjoy goal setting and thinking about your future more. Instead of being secretly scared or feeling incompetent, you can relax and assure yourself that with every little bit you do, you're moving along just fine, thank you. And it's OK this way. Slow and steady turtle, anyone?



Trushka said...

Dear Shauna,

You are sooooo right.

Thank you for the sparkle!

I've been looking for perfection for long and the pressure sometimes is too much. This new way of addressing challenges looks much healthier and relieved.

You can be sure I'll start applying this right away.


HighLife said...

Ah, the pursuit of perfection! So demanding and intimidating...:)

Thanks, Patricia, for your comments and for 'getting' what I meant. This has been a remarkable insight for me - so simple! - and has led to some pretty amazing results already. I'm actually reading Aaron's book and it's quite interesting (see link within the post).

Just when you think there are no new insights out there...

(I'm half-joking about the last comment. There is always more to learn and it's always fun to find a new thought that changes the way you see things. How else can we change our lives?)

Thanks again, and enjoy!

Suzanna B. Stinnett said...

Thank you Shauna, you've articulated this well. I wrote a whole book about using small changes ("Little Shifts") because I think it is one thing that holds everyone back - getting overwhelmed and then not doing anything. Scaling back our ambition - just for that moment - is very powerful. And once you get the concept, it seems things become energized and much more fun! Thanks again, Suzanna Stinnett

HighLife said...

Hi, Suzanna;

Thanks so much for being here!

I appreciate your comments, and it's so true...it's only by stepping back for a moment from all the pressure we put on ourselves that we can see what is worthwhile and whether we really are moving towards our goals.

Funny enough, it has now gotten to the point where I feel re-energized and motivated to do even more than I would have had I been dragging my feet and forcing myself to do things. You are right!

Take care, and success to you now and always,


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