I’ve always been driven to ‘perform’. If I didn’t feel I performed, I felt like a loser. That had the implication of me NOT trying things, out of fear of not being able to live up to my own expectation of how ‘perfect’ looked. This is not a life style I recommended. It makes you burn both ends of the candle. My mindset nowadays is less about performance (where ultimately, life becomes a constant chase for a quick fix of happiness, and where the journey to get there is nothing but transportation), and more about feeling PROGRESS.
As humans, we need progress, goal pursuit, achievement… Just keeping ‘status quo’ in a group or in a work environment, does not reward us on a neurological level. It’s how we are wired- our emotional circuits can’t measure absolute levels of achievements, we can only sense progress.
The good news is that, anything that feels like progress will make us feel happy. At work, any type of promotion or recognition will help. And in our community, helping others will also make us feel good.
All type of progress actually matters- as the impact on us is the same. So even just achieving those ‘low hanging fruit’-tasks will make us feel a sense of fulfilment. (Although, at some point you will feel the impact of not dealing with the bigger tasks, but that’s a different topic 😊). The opposite of progress is stagnation: in ourselves, our growth as people, in our career, in our relationships. Stagnation makes us slow down, reject input & feedback, it makes us inflexible and negative…
We can’t be progressing in all areas of our lives at the same time, but if you are low in one area, ensure you are developing in others.
In learning and developing, it is common to refer to the ‘S-curve of Learning’. When we first learn something, we are at the Launch Point phase, then we enter the Sweet Spot, and last, the Mastery Level. The Mastery Level is obviously where we’re masters at what we do. But if we stay for too long at the Master Level, we get less of the desirable dopamine; because we are no longer progressing. That’s when it’s time to jump to a new S-curve, and find something else to learn or develop…
In what areas of your life are you progressing, and in what areas are you standing still?