Don’t hate overachievers

12 Nov

I recently read a post on overachievers and how everybody hates them. The author, a self-declared over-achiever underlined the negative aspects of being such a person and most people commenting agreed.  Here’s the link if you want to know what I’m speaking about:
Everyone Hates Overachievers
I am not really sure why, but while reading it I felt a sudden urge to defend this human typology. Actually, I know why. It’s because I consider myself an overachiever and see nothing wrong in this. It’s because the tone of the post above-mentioned made me think that the writer simply quit and there’s nothing that infuriates me more than quitting. It’s because successful people are overachievers and it’s because the majority of the people (as shown by the comments) dislike or disapprove this category of people simply because they are different and they themselves consider them better.

First of all, let me tell you why I consider myself able to discuss such a topic. I’ve been raised by my parents to be the best. I went to a kindergarten for native-German speakers, even though I have no German roots whatsoever. There, children were put tape over their mouths if they were overheard using anything but German. I cried two days in a row for receiving a blue point when I forgot my homework at home (red dots were good, blue so and so and black meant disaster). When I became six years old, I sustained an exam in German to be able to get into the local German-school. I got in among the first 10%.

I started playing tennis and ever since 3rd grade, did 5 trainings a week, and 2 per day during the summers, all while being the first of my class, taking piano, dance, swimming and chess lessons. I switched schools upon entering 5th grade, to be able to follow the courses of a bilingual school, meaning intensive English classes. I also elected my second language as French since the school was only offering beginner courses and I had already been speaking German for 8 years. Around that time I began tennis competitions and also entered my school basketball team.  I finished 8th grade with the highest gpa which was 9,99 out of 10, after having won several prizes in Math, Chemistry, English and German competitions at local and regional level.  With that grade I could elect to go to the probably best high school of the country and chose the Intensive- English class.

I was elected class representative in the Student’s Council 8 years in a row at two different schools and became head of the youth and sports program department. I reached the national phase of the English competition in the 9th grade, as well as the German one in the 10th and 11th. I did voluntary work at an ecological foundation, took part in international Model United Nation conferences, finished separate economy courses, participated in the Junior Achievement program, all while beginning to win in my tennis competitions.

I have the Cambridge Proficiency in English Certificate (level C2), the German Goethe Zetifikat(level B2), the Delf French Certificate (level B1) and have just started taking Spanish lessons. I have a 2200 score in the SAT, 800 in the German, 770 in the French one, and 720 in the Literature SAT II, and I was disappointed when I received these scores. I have 113 out of 120 in the Toefl, 8.5 out of 9 in IELTS and await my score for the Bio-Medical Admission Test. I work hard because my future depends on it. Everything I just mentioned might get me a spot in a better university which would lead to me being able to go to a better graduate school, which in turn would lead to me having a better job or career opportunities that could ensure me a better life.

Am I to be hated because I realize what impact these years will have on my whole life? Am I to blame because I like being busy and do not enjoy staying up late drinking and smoking with my class-mates?

I realise how annoying I sound, but I never actually brag in front of people. I don’t start my conversations by reciting my resume, but it is not my fault that the fact that I woke up at 4 and did 5 more activities than you makes you feel like an underachiever. If you ask me what I’ve been up to, don’t expect me to lie or feel bad because I work. I do enjoy having my merits acknowledged but there is no pride in competing with people who are simply content not to be the same as I. And again, for me, there is no competition, there is just me and my goals.
So, I do apologise if you are offended by my hard-working but do not try to belittle me as I do not try to gush in front of you. Ok, maybe I just did that by writing half of this post, but I was trying to state the validity of my point. I like being the way I am, but I understand that it’s not the way everybody wants to be. However, it doesn’t influence me, as it shouldn’t influence the others as well. There are several human typologies and I truly believe there is no need to classify, compare or hate them.

To sum up, Don’t hate over-achievers because:
–    They actually work hard and deserve their results
–    They do not influence you; they do their thing as you do yours
–    They are just another type of personality. Do you hate under-achievers, or “normal” people?
–    They make their lives complicated and hard enough even without your hate to help them.


3 Responses to “Don’t hate overachievers”

  1. melanonce 12/11/2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Sorry to hear that you perceived my post as an attack on overachievers. I assure you it was meant in a more facetious way than it was received on your end. For the record, I haven’t remotely given up. I simply recognize the fact that sometimes being a hard-core overachiever can be a little overwhelming, or even a little miserable. But if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. The point was not to be intimidated by people who are overachieving; not to aim for mediocrity.

    • dontyouknowme 12/11/2012 at 7:11 pm #

      I apologise if I misunderstood you. Last night, when I read your post and wrote my own, I was tired and a little bit frustrated, because the attitude I defended myself against, and not necessarily the one you described, or the one illustrated by the comments , is one that I encounter quite often.
      I am glad you didn’t give up and agree that being an overachiever can make your life more difficult at times.
      Again, I used your post just as a starting point and enjoyed reading your opinion and the general style of it. I’m glad you took the time to read my post and show me the discrepancies and hope that I clarified my position.


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