Feeling Underachieved?

Sometimes it can be hard to not feel like our wheels are just spinning. It’s a horrible and deflating feeling to just feel like you’re not moving anywhere. Perhaps you’ve been in the same job for a while and it’s not doing anything for you. Maybe your relationship isn’t as wild as it used to be. You could be like me that time I had a mental breakdown and when I got home I had 3 three euro to my name and that was it, I had no friends, no money, no job, no prospects, nothing.

That happens in life. I amazingly recovered and six weeks after that mental breakdown I had a bit more money, loads of job prospects, a new lease on life, loads of friends and a future. Now I didn’t materialise this all out of nowhere, with the friends, they were there all along I just didn’t see them. I only saw the ones that were gone. That was wrong of me. The money was a bit more difficult to get but not impossible. Odd jobs for the odd few bob kept me in business while I started my job search.

The job prospects came when I changed my method of job hunting and became incredibly aggressive in my applications, in their volume and content. It ended up opening many doors for me, people love someone who is driven and knows they are worth the job. Anyway I find aggression will get you very far in life. And I don’t mean aggression in the anger equivalent usage of the term. I mean aggression as in taking your life by the balls and twisting them until life gives you juice. That’s a graphic picture but life takes this sort of hardiness sometimes.

Now the point of this post isn’t to actually teach you how to take life by the balls and make it give you what you want, it’s about feeling achieved. Sometimes you may not want to make life submit to your will and that’s fine. You may be happy in that you have a good job, good relationship, good kids, a good car, good holidays etc. Lots and lots of good. But you still feel underachieved… The reason for this is perspective. I mean you could make a massive change and as aforementioned squeeze the loins of life or you could actually just note the achievements you do every single day.

I mean how often do you scold yourself for watching TV or playing video games? Basically you don’t allow yourself to enjoy enjoyment. When I first started language learning I had an issue with this. I would study for three or four hours and then watch some tv. However after five minutes of watching tv I would feel guilty that I wasn’t still practicing German or reading about stock markets or whatever.

This is unsustainable. You must be able to enjoy relaxing otherwise you aren’t relaxing and the idiom ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ is wonderful but you know if you don’t sleep while you’re alive you will be dead. You need sleep. You need to rot in front of the tv sometimes. You need to just do nothing. It’s totally natural to switch off sometimes. It will aid you in your learning and development because you won’t be constantly killing yourself with work.

Here’s a table that I like to fill in most days just to show myself all the things I got done in that day.


Day Activity Achievement Enjoyment
Monday Run 7 8
Meditate 6 8
Weight Train 7 10
Watched F1 0 10
Walked Dog with Friend 0 8
Had a nap 0 10
Studied 8 0
Wrote on Blog 8 8
Read 7 8
Made Dinner 7 5
Sweeped the floor 7 0
Total 57 75


So you can see I like to put a total at the end because I feel by rating everything out of ten you get an even bigger picture. If you look at that table I had a busy day, even though that was my day off. That was my ‘lazy’ day that week! I went to bed that night believing I got nothing done that day and I felt low because I believed I wasted a day. Then I wrote out the things I actually did and boom! I had done a lot of things! I exercised several times, I met up with a friend, I watched sports, I cleaned up, I cooked, I meditated, I read and studied. What a day!

The thing is no matter who you are you get all these things done in a day, you just don’t count them as achievements. And by the way those numbers for me change daily, sometimes I put running as 10 for achievement because that day I felt like it was harder for me to go running so it’s a 10 because I went anyway. Some days ‘Getting out of bed’ is an achievement for me, sometimes ‘washing’ is. That’s the way it is, when I have a low mood day I still manage to get those boxes filled in because unless you lie in a black room all day and lie motionless you have achieved things. It’s all these little achievements that add up to big achievements.

As many of you know bamboo grows so quickly it used to be used as a torture method. Victims would be tied to the ground and the bamboo would grow through them. You can actually physically see some species of bamboo growing with your naked eye. But there’s one type of bamboo that takes years to grow. When you plant it it sprouts its tiny little head. And that’s it, for four or five years. All you have for half a decade is a sprout and nothing else. What’s happening is the bamboo is growing it’s powerful roots, it’s growing it’s root system far and wide. Then after five years it explodes up. In days you have massive bamboo trees. Yet the only thing you can see is the sprout.

Human achievements are like this, it’s all the little things you do every day to lay your foundation that eventually pays off and leads to you exploding in your main goals. Nobody will ever see your struggle but the success. But that success is built on those roots you’ve been growing for years.

So if you’re feeling underachieved I recommend copying the table that I’ve posted into paint or something, you can fill it out on your computer or you can print it out. Either way fill it in everyday of the week for a week and write everything! If you watered the plants then you write that in and label it. Don’t think about the achievements you had or enjoyment you had. Just write what you did and rate in one or both of those boxes.

Good luck and let us know how you get on in the comments!

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