I always regarded the term as complimentary. People have different "gifts". Some are tall, some are short, some have fast twitch muscles and some have slow. I have always viewed an "overachiever" as someone who didn't let his or her natural "limitations" get in the way, and overcame them with determination, courage, effort, work ethic, teamwork, and other values that contribute to success, i.e. someone who exceed the expectations of others by having high expectations of self. What's so terrible about that?
Why Do We Use This Word?
Overachiever: someone who achieves too much. Or achieves more than they were expected to. How stupid is that? Like you’re only supposed to achieve this much, and then you’ve gone too far? Or like someone else gets to determine that they thought you should achieve?
What loser came up with that word? And why do we insist on using it?
I never even knew that word existed until I was in my 20′s. We just achieved in my family, as much as we could, as often as we could. Achievement was the result of hard work. We were good with that. Go hard and get results. What part of that formula needs changing? NONE. No part. Zero. Nada. Zilch. And guess what? There’s no limit on achieving. No quota, no tariff, no mark you cannot go above.
You can achieve as much as you want.
Holy hell. What a concept, right?
Except there are these fools who make up words like “overachiever” so that you are supposed to feel bad if you achieve “too” much. It’s supposedly not cool. Well, screw cool then! I’m going to do what I want to do. And you get to do the same. Glory Hallelujah, right? You want to achieve, I’m good with that. You don’t want to achieve anything? Well, I’m good with that too … as long as you don’t affect me or what I’m doing. Like the Supreme Goddess Chrissie Hynde of the Kingdom of the Pretenders once sang: “I got a smile for everyone I meet. As long as you don’t try dragging my bay, or dropping the bomb on my street.” (I don’t have a bay — you may not either — but I think we can safely assume we’re taking a ride in Metaphor Land on this one. We understand what she’s saying.)
Anyhow, my point is this: Go do your shit and stop listening to morons. There is no such thing as “overachieving” — there’s only the reality of kicking ass and making awesome happen. Let the bystanders figure it out and put names on everything. Hard workers are too busy getting shit done! Overachieve … my f***ing ass.
Nothing is terrible about it. I simply see the word as a limiter -- an acceptance of other's definition of you. I'm not willing to accept anyone's estimation of my potential. I don't even know what I am capable of, so how can anyone else decide that? I am for a mindview without limits, so I see the word as limiting. If you're okay with the word, use it. I'm not.