We’re a nation of addicts. Uppers, downers, and achievement. Yes, achievement. I too struggle with this addiction.
This week I got to reading about achievement addiction throughout generation Y and millennials. What struck me as very interesting is the way many of us attempt to measure ourselves and those around us with our stack of achievements. I decided to compile a list of a few of those things I see every day.
1. Your College/University
2. College GPA
3. Where You Live (City, Zip Code, Neighborhood)
4. Your Home Size
5. Name Brand Anything/Stuff
6. The Car You Drive
Truth be told it’s really hard not to be addicted to achievement, especially in today’s world. I know I’m a happier version of myself when I’m “achieving” or accomplishing goals. It feels good. I’m definitely not going to tell you to underachieve. Those words will never come out of my mouth.
What I started to learn wasn’t so much about the feeling, it was the pursuit of why the achievement is needed. Why do I need to feel this way? What am I chasing in order to fuel these false achievements? Who (more importantly) do I feel the need to compare myself with? This is the scariest one!
Keeping up with the Kardashians has never been more prominent than in today’s society. What I realized I needed to work on was the the idea that the achievement won’t ever overestimate who I really am.
In a famous NFL rant, then Arizona Cardinals head coach Denny Green screamed, “They are who we thought they were!” Here’s the clip
Green was referring to the undefeated Chicago Bears after the Cardinals blew a late game lead and squandered the opportunity to send the Bears home with their 1st loss of the season.
The lesson, I am who you think I am.
I came across this post on LifeHack.org, Do You Have An Achievement Addiction. The element that brought me to blogging about it on A Keen Mind blog was the following statement, “Addicted to achievement, we forget there is a huge difference between success at a task or goal and success as a person.”
Stuff. Achieve, accumulate stuff, and sometime hopefully many years down the road after my eulogy a garage sale of grandiose scale will take place. Thrifty shoppers from miles away will be able to buy my once treasured “achievements” for pennies on the dollar.
Conversely I like to think of achievement as a legacy. What can be taught, shared, or left behind, so that many years or generations from now it may still impact others? This is a true measure of success and achievement. Did I make those around me better? Was I successful in leaving a legacy of: positivity, challenging others to be their best, and a winning mindset? These are achievements and what I’ll work to strive toward.
I can’t promise you I’ll stop buying things or working toward a newer home or automobile. What I won’t do is allow these purchases to be the measure of my achievement. PS – if a Ferrari is in my future, I’m not going to get out of its way!
ACTION ITEM: Live your life for all the achievements. Not only the ones associated with a price tag.