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Here's the Real Problem with Overachievers

As the only child of two unsuspecting immigrant parents, who came to America for a better life, you had two career paths. You could be a doctor, or a disappointment. I did not become a doctor.

But as most children of immigrants, I was carefully bred to be an overachiever.

The problem with overachievers is that they tend to play it safe, follow conventional wisdom, focus on external rewards, hide their greatest gifts, and recoil at failure. So they fail to experiment, tackle real problems, and create new (and necessary) solutions. They priority is ‘success’, ‘safety’, and ‘security’.

We were told to succeed, without ever questioning the metrics of success. We’re told to become doctors, while turning a blind eye to the forces that make and keep us sick. We’re told to become lawyers, without addressing the invisible systems that so predictably perpetuate injustice. We’re told to become accountants, without acknowledging the widening wealth gap that stokes political polarization and unravels the very fabric of our democracy.

So in this blind pursuit of 'success', and ‘security’, we became the perfect corporate cogs in perfectly broken systems.

But there’s a different path available to us. You have creative capacity. You have the ability to make change. To break old things that aren’t working by creating new things that do. It’s a path defined by resilience and generosity, and contribution. This is a path followed by those who seek to make change, and who want to make things better.


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