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Feel The Need, The Need To Achieve

November 19, 2018

Something that has caused me a lot of anxiety over many, many years and still does now, is need to constantly achieve and why I have it.



I'm not talking about things that I would class as big achievements say, pass your exams and get into University, get a degree, get a good job, be a success. The achievements I'm talking about are tiny ones. Hoover, sort out a cupboard, do the ironing, change the bed.


I have talked before about my need to achieve in my blogs. When I don't do anything I feel bad. I can't sit watching tv for too long without feeling like I should be doing something of meaning. When I say meaning I guess that can be further categorised as something that has meaning to me. something worthwhile. Something that ticks off a box on my never ending to do list of life.


Whether it be work to do list or home to do list, its a rolling list, as I'm sure it is for everyone else out there who writes a list. We have lists so we get things done, but I don't just write down the essentials like go to work, earn money, buy food, eat, wash, sleep.

I can't be certain that everyone writes lists the same as I do but I can place a good bet that you want to achieve more than just the basics of life that I just mentioned. 


Here's an example:


* Buy paint for back bedroom

* Paint back bedroom

* Ironing

* Caurtain poles???

* Go to ikea  (storage boxes)

* Make restaurant reservation

* Change bank accounts 

* Find main TV remote???


Why do we have all these goals that we constantly make ourselves strive to achieve? What is the point of it all? Does it make us happier by ticking off all these goals just so that once they are done we can replace them with new ones? Can't we just be happy achieving the basics of life. As a baby we are happy with food, warmth, sleep and cuddles. Why not now?


Why we feel the constant need to achieve is something that has, over recent years really troubled me. When im at work I cant wait to have some 'chill time' or 'me time'  but about a couple of hours into it and here comes the inner achievement voice. Shouldn't I get some jobs done? Is there anything I need to do for work? Maybe I should do some exercise rather than sitting on my arse watching box sets? Chill time is over. Lets write a list...


As well as the big and the tiny, there's  also the midrange achievements. Loose 5 lbs, tone up my thighs, eat five vegetables a day and drink 20 pints of water, or whatever it is they tell you to drink. Why? Why? Why? Its making me skitty just thinking about it. Why the constant need for change and achievement.


Is it just me who is like this? It bugs me massively. I hope I'm not alone in this restlessness. 


Anyway I have read something recently that has made me realise this is not my fault. Evolution is the culprit and has a lot to answer for. Stay with me on this as its not all that easy to explain.


We as a species have managed to survive and become top of the food chain over many, many years. Over these years we have used our brains to develop, firstly things to ensure our survival, but then moved on to create things that make our lives easier.


However, things such as the rise in mental health problems and rising suicide tells us that even though we are living longer we aren't necessarily living better. 


Is it possible that we as humans are a victim of our own success? Despite that fact we are not only surviving but flourishing, we have made the basics of life far too easy to achieve and now in all the spare time this has created, we are looking for more and more to do to fulfil and enrich our lives in a quest to find meaning behind our existence.


Simply put, we have learnt to make things easier for ourselves physically but we have not given our emotional minds the time to adapt. 


Evolution has a lot more to answer for in relation to the anxiety that many of us suffer with today. The fact that we still have primitive parts of our brain, the reason we have low self esteem, feelings of inferiority, individualism and narcissism can all be seen to stem from certain parts of evolution. Far too much to cover in this one blog.


For the moment the thought of technology leaving parts of our brain behind helps to explain why I am how I am.  We have it all on a plate. Everything can be done in the click of a finger. Things have been invented to save time, our modifications and developments have made it too easy for us to have both the things we want and get our hands on the things we want but shouldn't have. We can get our hands on a pack of biscuits or a burger anytime and almost anywhere.


My dad said he saw a man jet washing the pool while him and mum were on holiday. He was a fit bloke, muscles, but using the jet wash to do the job quicker, just so he finish work and go to the gym. See what I mean.


Maybe I wouldn't be searching for jobs to do if I had to use a mandoline to wash my clothes, had to grown my own fruit and veg and fetch coal from the bottom of the garden to light a fire to get the house warm. By the time I'd finished all that and cooked my tea and cleaned up I'd be exercised and probably shattered and would have saved myself £15 a month on a gym membership.


These recent findings have led me to believe that this anxiety I have is because my brain, however sophisticated and degree educated I like to think it is, can use a smart phone but is really still stuck in the dark ages. or failing that the 1950s when it comes to dealing with free time. We have developed technology faster than my brain can handle.


Blog done. Tick. 


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