7 difficult to admit reasons why you’re underachieving in life

by Brendan Brown | January 9, 2024, 2:34 pm

You’re born. You go to school. Maybe college too. Then you graduate. 

Suddenly, it’s 10 years later.

All your friends have grown up, moved on, had kids, and seemingly left you (and your ambitions) in the dust.

You, on the other hand, still live in your parents’ basement eating cereal straight out of the box. And despite not having to pay rent, you have a roommate. 

Sound familiar? There’s a reason why you’ll always be mediocre but never quite great – not unless you change these 7 difficult-to-admit habits, that is. 

So enough procrastinating. Let’s jump right in! 

1) You fear failure (and success)

Fear, it’s a funny emotion. 

We need it to survive. But it can also be a major hindrance. 

Out of nowhere, it can fill you with self-doubt, worry, and despair. And it’s this unfounded anxiety that can stop you from moving forward in life.

But while you fear failure, you’re equally afraid of success

It’s not that you don’t want to succeed, you’re simply worried about what will happen once you do. And that makes you uncomfortable. 

Your mind starts to drift and think about all the reasons why getting that promotion is a bad idea. 

“Do you really deserve this?”, “Will you let everyone down?”, “Do you actually want all this extra responsibility?” and finally, “Are you only setting yourself up for failure?”. 

Imposter syndrome, anyone?

It’s exhausting. And before you know it, you’re so overwhelmed that you’re left paralyzed.

2) You’re a perfectionist

Having high standards isn’t generally considered a bad quality. But when it prevents you from getting anything done, it’s a problem.

Maybe you never start a project due to analysis paralysis – giving up ahead of time “knowing” that it will never live up to your expectations.

Or perhaps, when you do finally take the leap, you never finish.

You’re too busy hyper-focusing – tinkering and obsessing over every little detail until it’s just right.

And in the process, you lose track of time or leave it incomplete just in case you ruin it. 

Either way, this vicious cycle isn’t productive and it certainly isn’t maintainable.

But until you accept that perfection isn’t always attainable – and that’s okay – you’ll perpetually be an underachiever

And deep down, whether consciously or subconsciously, you know it too. 

3) You have a “fake it till you make it” mentality

Confidence is great. And while having a positive mindset has many benefits, too much confidence can be a bad thing. 

The same goes for being overly optimistic. Especially when you don’t have the experience or work ethic to back it up.

If you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, you’re potentially setting yourself up for failure. In fact, it’s borderline self-sabotage.

And quite frankly, there are some jobs where “winging it” will only get you so far.

So the next time you decide to manifest a better life for yourself, think about whether you’re willing (and actually able) to complete the task. 

It will help avoid a lot of heartache and harm to your mental well-being in the long run.

The last thing you want to do is feel like an imposter, inauthentic, or a fraud.

4) You have trouble committing

Are you constantly jumping from one idea to the next, leaving a graveyard of unfinished projects in your midst? 

They could’ve been successful. But now we’ll never know. Because somewhere along the line, you just gave up. All in favor of the next big money-making scheme.

After all, the grass is always greener on the other side. 

So what happened? 

At the time you were all-in, pedal to the metal, and fully committed. Did you lose your motivation? Was it destined to fail? Or do you simply have trouble committing?

Well, it sounds like you’re a jack of all trades and a master of none.

And unfortunately for you, that grasshopper mentality means that sticking to one thing or place for too long gives you the ick. 

As a result, your relationships, professional success, and self-worth can take a significant hit. 

5) You never make a plan

…Or at the very least, you don’t stick to it. 

Are you often late to meet friends? Perhaps you feel like you’re permanently chasing your own tail?

Allowing yourself to be spontaneous can be a lot of fun. And thinking on your feet is an excellent life skill. 

However, when it comes to achieving your goals, improvising and making it up as you go will only get you so far. 

To everyone else, it can appear as though you lack focus. 

And without a clear strategy or roadmap in place, it shows bad organizational and time management skills. 

Not to mention, poor discipline and respect for others’ time. 

6) You often leave things to the last minute 

Ah, procrastination, we’re all guilty of it. 

And no matter how good our intentions, we keep repeating the same mistake. 

Well according to research, it could have something to do with your childhood. It’s one of the main reasons that you underachieve

And it’s possible you were either over- or under-challenged growing up.

Other studies, however, believe it may have more to do with fear of failure.

Be it a pushy or absent parent, fear, intrinsic laziness, or all the above, you need to stop avoiding the issue, take accountability, and stop making excuses to break the cycle. 

7) You always do “just enough” to get by

You studied, mostly. passed with, you know, okay grades. And now, you’re free – free to take on the world and chase your dreams.

But somehow, you never quite reached your full potential. 

Not to mention you’re still working that “temporary job” you got while you “discovered your passion”.

So where did it all go wrong?

You’re not stupid – far from it. You were at the top of your class without even trying. 

And you know that if you just tried, even a little, you’d be in a much better situation. 

But this isn’t high school anymore, and relying solely on your “smarts” just isn’t enough. 

You need to put the work in and break the habit of just doing the bare minimum. 

Final word

Overcoming these barriers requires an immense amount of introspection, courage, and commitment to change. 

The good thing is, you’re here reading this article, which means you’ve already taken the first step towards making the necessary adjustments. 

Remember, ultimately, you determine your life’s trajectory. So take charge, embrace change, and set higher expectations for yourself. You know you’re perfectly capable of achieving more

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