Thoughts for Myself

Underestimated overachiever

Oh, I tried. I REALLY did, to make it home before midnight, so I could at least leave a “glass shoe” for you to go on until I make a full post. But I underestimated everything… today’s workload, the time it takes to get home, the possibility that WordPress would deny publishing a post (yes, it actually denied!)… So here I am, a very devastated underestimated overachiever sitting in front of my laptop half an hour past midnight with nothing to show.


I had something else I thought of scribbling for this post, but I think I will go on a little more about being an underestimated overachiever.


I am generally an overachiever, in the sense that I usually aim higher than what I expect of myself, and put in whatever effort necessary to attain the level I set for myself. But there is a condition – I am an overachiever only in things that I care, at the moment(s) I care. If and when I am not interested or motivated, nothing can persuade me to achieve anything. I must have been a very difficult child to raise, with such a skewed attention to my surrounding!


But it was not too much of a trouble while I was growing up in the Western society. The people around me were amazingly understanding and did not impose their expectations on me.

Maybe they did not know what to expect of me?

Maybe they had expectations, but soon realized it was pointless to hold the same expectations you would for a more rounded persons?


Who knows, but for whatever reason, I was allowed to pursue what I wanted in the way I wanted. I was allowed to enjoy, and like myself, for being an overachiever. And I am very grateful for it!


It all changed when I came back to my country of origin, just as I was becoming a grown-up. I was suddenly thrown into a highly uniform society with high expectations for conformity… but no expectation whatsoever for variances and deviations.

“Wow, how lovely to hear such culturally-dependent expressions of our mother tongue from someone like you who had spent so much time abroad!”

“Um, we didn’t assign you to this task because we thought you wouldn’t know about our customs, but what a fine job you did!”


I find it a little ridiculous how my people expect me to conform because I look like one of them, but are genuinely surprise when I am able to overachieve their expectations because I am not really one of them deep down. I used to be offended that they underestimate me so much… but as time passed, I too began to underestimate myself.


Now, I am a lot more grown up and I have gained a position where I can sometimes override others’ expectations. But when the overachiever side of me resurfaces, I find I have become so used to underestimating myself, it takes so much more of everything than it used to to attain the level I set for myself.


I do not feel I can ever stop being an overachiever – it seems it is just the way I am. But I am not enjoying, or liking myself, for being one at the moment.

Then, maybe it is about time I reassessed the estimates on myself, so I can better overachieve being me.


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