norbauer has an entertaining and-thought provoking take on new year’s resolutions and GTD. in it he quotes Bennet’s “Principles of Underachievement:”

  • Life’s too short.
  • Control is an illusion.
  • Expectations lead to misery.
  • Great expectations lead to great misery.
  • Achievement creates expectations.
  • The law of diminishing returns applies everywhere.
  • Perfect is the enemy of good.
  • The tallest blade of grass is the surest to be cut.
  • Accomplishment is in the eye of the beholder.


The essential point that we must confront here is that the achievements which seem so important and for the pursuit of which we perpetually torture ourselves are on the one hand futile and the other utterly insignificant. What is the ultimate summit we expect to reach? And if we can’t answer this question, why do we exert ourselves as if we’re heading towards one?






3 responses to “achiever”

  1. Jondi Avatar

    I agree in so far as achievement is a form of pleasure-seeking, and all pleasure-seeking behaviors have only a limited impact on happiness. But what about work that really contributes to the world? I believe in progress, not as an inevitable force, but in the sense that freedom is better than slavery, vaccines are better than smallpox, literacy and education are better than ignorance, good movies are better than bad movies or no movies, etc. So aren’t these kinds of achievements worth pursuing with vigor? In other words, doing meaningful work in the world …

  2. gimaha Avatar

    thank you, Jondi!

  3. jane Avatar

    …because the alternative is giving up.

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