The Mental Downside of Over Achieving

Copyright 2006 defines over-achieving as performing better or achieving more success than expected. While this article discusses how athletes can fall victim to the downside of over achieving, the lessons can be applied to every day people. When athletes a mission to be the best in their sport many factors need to fall into place. Mental preparations, proper exercising, diet, training regime, supportive friends and family, and a knowledgeable coach are just a few of these factors. Overall, there must be a positive mental and physical atmosphere that allows athletes to excel.

When athletes are exhilarated with their performance they feel on top of the world, untouchable and non-stoppable. These feelings are a much welcomed relief after weeks, months, or even years of hard training. Athletes love their sport and feeling victorious at it. However, sometimes these feelings can cause more harm than good. Over-achieving can become addictive, negative and disruptive in several areas of an athlete’s life.

The downside of over-achieving can start with one victory, one comment, one ideal, or another’s pre-conceived notion. Athletes, just like every body else, harbor expectations of themselves. It is when these expectations become a focal point or obsession that addictive behaviors can begin.

These over achieving athletes want that indestructible feeling all the time. That feeling can become the focal point for many people, not just athletes. It is their belief that being indestructible all the time is their right for all they have put into their sport. They believe they should be the best and they will do whatever it takes to get there. They will train through injuries. They start to tell themselves that they are not good enough and that they need to do better. These thoughts all support a negative emotional environment that can lead to depression, a mental breakdown, or serve as their exit from their beloved sport.

An over-achiever can often feel alone or distant from loved ones. This distance only fuels the negative emotional atmosphere. Sad thoughts can quickly snowball into massive feelings of isolation and desperation. At this point the over achiever is at their lowest point. The exact opposite from where they desperately want to be- the best.

Feeling alone makes anyone feel imperfect. Feeling imperfect makes over achievers push even harder to become better. The downside of over achieving can become a vicious cycle. It can lead to physical problems suck as being sick, injured, and drug and alcohol abuse.

All of these feelings are not in sync with the original plan of having a supportive environment. Often over achievers alienate their friends, family and spouses. Over achievers also alienate their authentic self.

Succeeding in life or in sport is an amazing feeling, but over achievers must learn, know and accept balance in life. While pushing further, harder and longer every one must accept that they are doing their best at all times.

Over achievers should have constant support from family and friends. They should keep their circle of support updated on their progress and their feelings. This alleviates feeling isolated and alone.

The constant need for perfection extends beyond sports. It affects everyone. It affects young and old. Men and women. Often the drive to be the best is the over achievers ultimate un-doing.