How To Free Yourself From An Overachiever Mindset In Quarantine
If you are living a creative lifestyle like me, you are probably attempting to navigate this time of no work, slowing down, and what a complete blank slate looks like for you.
To some, this time can feel like rock bottom, while others seem to be getting creative with their extra time and feeding their artistic flame!
And as artists, we tend to be overachievers.
Now, correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like most overachievers (who are usually the highest performers), feel like their not doing enough on a "normal" day.
So how do we overachievers begin to free ourselves from these anxious thoughts during quarantine when we are constantly encountering instagram memes either saying you're not being productive enough, or being TOO productive?!
I mean, WHICH ONE IS IT??
As an actress in NYC, currently unemployed, my answer to that question varies every single day.
There are some days where I enjoy being creative with time and flow, and love allowing inspiration to work through me.
While other days seem to be only filled with a subtle psychotic fear that I am failing for not accomplishing anything ground breaking during this time.
Then, over the weekend I read the article from 'The Atlantic' called "The Virus Is a Reminder of Something Lost Long Ago" by Dr. Lightman.
In it, Dr. Lightman states:
"The resulting increase in productivity in the workplace, coupled with the time-equals-money equation, has led to our acute awareness of the commercial and goal-oriented uses of time. As a result, we have created a frenzied lifestyle in which not a minute is to be wasted. The precious 24 hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced to 10-minute units of efficiency."
"With some degree of freedom from our time-driven lives also comes increased creativity. Psychologists have long known that creativity thrives on unstructured time, on play, on nondirected “divergent thinking,” on unpurposed ramblings through the mansions of life."
This article brought me a breath of fresh air!
It's not about choosing whether or not to be more productive with the new pace, it's about accepting the slower pace and allowing ourselves to adjust, pivot, and become aware of our inner selves.
We have been on the 'Overacheiver's Treadmill' for so long, selling ourselves to speed, efficiency, money, hyper-connectivity, and progress.
The 'Overachiever's Treadmill' makes it so that we are never moving fast enough, because once we arrive, there's always somewhere else to go.
It's a game we can never win.
And that's when it hit me.
Fast feels good, but it does not mean that it's better.
While adjusting to this new pace, I needed to switch my mindset from "faster is better" to "sustainability is key".
To start this transition, I am telling myself that great success takes a long time.
And just because I have more of it right now, doesn't mean I have to move faster.
In knowing that our soulful paths are always filled with ups and downs, perceived setbacks, and tests of character, we can allow ourselves to bring awareness to the bigger picture of our lives.
Long-term success is a long-term game.
Going full speed ahead for a few years won't do the trick.
Sustainability is KEY!
We need to maintain a strong pace for 20+ years, roll with the punches, and trust that our obstacles are pivots in the right direction.
And once I was able to switch my mindset and understand that it's going to take decades to achieve our biggest dreams, I was able to look back on my life and connect the dots on how far I've already come!
I want to enjoy the ride now by getting to know the slower pace, not reject it.
And I refuse to wait until I get 'there' to enjoy my life.
In isolation, I am remembering to take as many moments to appreciate feeling good, follow my intuition when it comes to 'progress' and savor the silver linings this time brings along the way.
And as we like to say in show business, "it's a marathon, not a race!"
So it doesn't matter who is in front place after the first 5km!
Use this time to turn off the noise, click in to your intuition, and get to know how you work best.
Be gentle with your thoughts, show up for yourself every single day, and don't be afraid to pace yourself.
Leaving you with one more quote from Dr. Lightman:
"In rebuilding a broken world, we will have the chance to choose a less hurried life."