When is your effort good enough?
As the second real blog I post, I realize that it's a bit of a somber question, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. I've always been a very busy person, successfully juggling multiple activities and academics. For the most part, I really enjoy having a lot of different things going on (blame it on my undiagnosed ADD :) ). But it seems lately that I approach tasks differently than a lot of people. I have this strong internal drive to be able to do many things very well, and don't like to be seen in any way as not good enough.
When it comes to class assignments and studying for tests, I won't stop working until I've done everything I think I should do, or I literally run out of time. With non-academic pursuits, I agree to do almost everything if I can literally fit it into my schedule (think tetris). And I tend to feel guilty about what I pass up, especially when it comes to acting against injustice. Put together, this usually means doing things for school or others at the expense of things that affect solely me (i.e. cleaning my room, getting a haircut, sleeping). It means missing out on things that I would otherwise enjoy because I don't have the time to perfect them (e.g. playing all sports other than soccer). Most importantly, it usually means I'm bound to not meet all my expectations and end up disappointing myself, let alone everyone else I've committed to doing things for.
A few years back an undergrad at Duke wrote an editorial entitle "Effortless Perfection." If you haven't seen it or want a refresh, click here. While an extreme scenario, the underlying messages are scarily familiar. At what point do you start allowing yourself to mess up, to not take on everything you can, and to not set the bar quite so high? Even if you ignore societal pressure, what about your own expectations?
Is this a gender specific stress? Which is a greater factor, society's expectations or your own? And where do you draw the line between pushing yourself to make the most of your life, and trying to be too perfect?