Thought of the Day

The Curious Case of the Successful Underacheiver

Okay, people. It’s time to get real again.

All the way real.

I am being honest when I say most of my life, I’ve found success giving maybe 50-60% effort. I’m serious and I know it may sound as if I’m full of myself.

I’m not.

But I also know I’m smart. I was a smart kid. It started off when my parents taught me math and English before I had to learn it in school. It wasn’t too hard. I was able to get it at a pretty early age. When I got to school and I was already ahead of everyone else, I learned a lesson that has been a running theme in my life: be smarter now so you can make more time to slack off.

Note that slacking off wasn’t necessarily about being lazy. It was more about doing things I loved doing. Y’know, reading, writing, drawing, being off in my own thoughts. Not homework.

Or… work in general.

So if I had a concentration in intelligence, it’d be the art of slacking off. I would keep myself smarter than most people, but I’d never actually really try to be number one. That was too much work. Top ten is a hell of a place to be in its own right, especially when you don’t actually care that much.

I know, I sound like I’m not a go-getter, but I totally am when I want to be. I’m just easily bored by traditional school and work. I guess that may be part of the ADD thing.

It wasn’t until I worked at my previous job when a fire was lit under my ass. At every job I had previously, I was always promoted quickly while giving only 60% effort. I was expecting the same thing here. Again, I know it sounds cocky, but I knew I was better than everyone on my team. I made sure of it because I wanted to be good enough to be asked to work on more interesting side projects. I set my goal to be smarter than the woman who trained me. The woman who couldn’t get the job I eventually did. You want to know how I got that job?

I gave 100%.

I gave 100% because I wasn’t promoted when I thought I should have been. Instead, my boss at the time put me on some BS two year plan to become a lead while he brought in some dude he knew to take the role.

Oh no he didn’t.

I was furious. That was the first time I experienced a situation where talent alone wasn’t enough to get by. After that I was on fire. I worked my ass off and eventually became the youngest Director at the time. Unfortunately, that was also the point when I began hating my job.

Er, disliking my job. I don’t want to be too hard on them. I found a lot of success there.

Now I’m back to my old ways, steadily finding success giving 60% and feeling far less stressed. Then a funny thing happened: I was checking my work email, eating chips because I was too lazy to buy actual groceries, thinking about what I’ve achieved so far this year compared to where I want to be once my fiancé and I are married.

Yeah… 60% ain’t cutting it.

So it’s time to use my brain and combine it with the drive to want to slack-off with my future wife. I’m putting this out there so I make sure there’s some level of accountability, even if no one else actually cares. I’m going at this 100%, especially since we’re not in the same country at the moment.

This also extends to how I’m treating my body and general health. I have to give myself props for how much effort I put into becoming mentally balanced. I owe it to myself to become physically balanced as well. Because a healthier me means a (hopefully) longer life with my fiancé, I’m going to go at that 100%.

Well, maybe 90%. I still like snacks and wine.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m special in any kind of way. I think there are many people out there who greater than the effort they put forth. Mostly because slacking off is awesome.

We both know it so let’s all stop pretending.

Still, there are moments in life where a person needs to have the discipline to go 100%. I’m in the midst of one of those moments now so it’s time to go hard. Not forever though. Sixty percent is my comfort zone long term.

Game time.

Peace out, party people.

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