This week I plan to achieve absolutely zilch. This won’t be an easy challenge for a self-confessed achievement addict.
It has, I will admit, been pretty hard to get motivated to do much of anything since arriving back in the UK 3 weeks ago. After almost 8 months of travel, 30-odd weekly challenges and oodles of ripsnorting fun, it turns out that I needed a break. Thankfully, the Great British Autumn offered the perfect respite, smothering hopes, dreams and work ethic under a heavy blanket of darkness and moderately chilly weather. And then I made a discovery which yielded the perfect weekly challenge for the situation AND uncovered a vice I never knew I had.
“Addicted to achievement, we forget there is a huge difference between success at a task or goal and success as a person.”
Jennifer Gresham, Everbright
After reading this piece about Achievement Addiction, I was able to quickly diagnose my own symptoms: I had been doing stuff for the thrill of being able to log an achievement (through my Weekly Challenge program, mainly, this year) tick it off, then brag about it to anyone who would listen. For me, this madness has been going on for an awful long time, and I can’t believe I’m alone in this predicament. A heady mix of peer pressure, social networks and the relentless growth of the productivity industry means we’re all jockeying to get more done and tell more people about our growing mountain of achievements without giving much thought to the true purpose or merit of our actions.
So how do I overcome both my current inability to get stuff done AND the realisation that I’m an Achievement Addict? By spending a week achieving absolutely nothing, of course. Sure, I might get some stuff done, but if I do, it’ll be because it needed to be done, and not because of the pressure to add any other achievements to my loathsome list. Wow, that’s a hefty weight off the old mind.
Are you an Achievement Addict? Surely I’m not alone, so share your stories and comments, and let’s come clean together!