No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, it’s beyond important to recognise and toast to each and every individual achievement
You Can’t See Yourself Without Reflection
I’ve gone far too long without recognising my own achievements.
It’s a mindset instilled since birth; where I take every achievement and success for granted, perceiving them as ‘the bare minimum’ no matter the scale.
For example, I recently graduated university with a 1st degree pass. Upon receiving my result, I shrugged my shoulders; unimpressed with 4 years of hard work.
Just another day at the office.
Conversely, my parents and girlfriend at the time were ecstatic. They’d watched me complete countless papers, exams and projects over the last 48 months. They’d witnessed the stress, struggle and mental toil. With this, they could recognise, and therefore appreciate, the immense achievement that it was.
The dichotomy of this example is exactly my point — I underestimate and under appreciate my own achievements while others can realise the true value.
This idiocy has permeated to other areas of my life too. I can start a new hobby — such as writing, photography or videography — and immediately shit on myself for lack of quality within a constrained timescale.
If I can’t produce Nat Geo level content within a week of picking up a camera then I’m not a success.
At least in my eyes.
What’s so disarming about this mindset is it’s automacy. This failure to recognise my own achievement is inbuilt within my psyche; like an unwanted guest who refuses to leave.
Simply put, it’s an unconscious program.
But perhaps that’s the root of the problem and, like a vaccine, the solution.
For the longest time, I was unaware that I even operated like this. It wasn’t until my very observant girlfriend at the time pointed out how little I recognised my own achievements that I realised I was senselessly handicapping myself.
And although I listened at the time, I didn’t really hear her.
It wasn’t till months later, after ruminating in my subconscious, that the message actually started to resonate with me in a very tangible way.
And when it did, I realised what i was doing wrong.
I’d never made the unconscious conscious.
Understanding only developed when I confronted the voices that told me:
You’re not enough
By allowing my unconscious beliefs about myself to manifest with agency, they’d developed into inaccurate statements that told me what I was doing was the bare minimum.
Part of the problem is that I’ve been taking everything — My lifestyle, my opportunities, my successes, my achievements — for granted (a process occurring subconsciously).
And when you take everything for granted, you set the baseline at your current checkpoint.
I’d forgotten how to celebrate any achievement because I’d acclimatised rapidly to every new level of success.
This failure to recognise achievement, and lack of gratitude, was and is my problem.
Why We Think This Way
It’s an innately human feature to acclimatise to our environment; ingrained in our hunter gatherer DNA is the need to want more — more food, more shelter, more status.
But wanting more is never sustainable. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of inherent greed mixed with a dash of ungratefulness.
Take Jeff Bezos for example. When he made his first million he must have been elated, but soon after, a million became insignificant as he made 10 million, then 100, then 1000. And so on and so on and so on.
Now, i’m not trying to compare myself to Jeff Bezos (although I do objectively have a better head of hair than him), rather i’m trying to do highlight the difference between subjective and objective perceptions of achievement.
Any outsider can immediately recognise the insane accomplishments of such an individual but rarely can the individual truly recognise that themselves.
Once i knew my system was faulty, I began theorising on a possible solution.
And I think i’ve found one.
It’s pretty simple really — celebrate every single little win no matter how small or seemingly insignificant:
- Had a shower today? Tell yourself well done.
- Done a workout? Take a moment to recognise how great it made you feel.
- Tidied your apartment? Recognise the clarity it’s provided in your mental space.
- Walked the dog? Take a beat to congratulate yourself.
My hope is that by consciously celebrating every win, no matter how small, you begin to look forward to challenges. It’s a mental association program so instead of taking any success for granted, you celebrate, and thus it becomes easier to acknowledge when you’ve done something well.
In the simplest terms, you’ll begin to recognise the virtue in your actions and form a solidified bond between achievement and fulfilment.
The real value of this practice is found in the nourishment of self-belief. Establishing a regular practice of recognising success compounds, and over time, you’ll rightly realise your ability to complete more difficult tasks.
It’s like building a skyscraper, you have to set the foundations before you can break the skyline.
We’re all far too fucking hard on ourselves.
Possibly because we compare ourselves to others. Perhaps because we set the bar too high. Maybe we’re just lacking patience and expect to see results too quickly.
Regardless of the cause, it’s important that we challenge unhealthy behaviours. For me, that’s misinterpreting the value of my achievements and neglecting gratefulness.
Moving forward, I’ll be making a conscious effort to celebrate my achievements, no matter the magnitude.
Hopefully, over time, I’ll form a better belief system about myself, one that says:
“You’ve got this, look at what you’ve achieved already”
“This is going to be difficult, you’ve not achieved much in the grand scheme of things”
If you’re feeling the same way or struggling with similar thoughts, don’t hesitate to drop me a message.