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Doing Your Best

Dear Aadira,

You consider yourself an eager overachiever, and rightly so. Sure, you’ve never really been the top genius in your class, but there are so many people who consider you to be an amazing student. To an outsider, that title may seem to be simply complimentary. But what you are soon beginning to discover is that this “compliment” is in fact a disguised expectation and high standard that you will use to stress yourself out for years to come.

You look at yourself as a master of preparation. To you, the more effort you put in, the better the result. That isn’t a wrong notion. In fact, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that putting in your best effort yields you the best result. Being brought up in a household that values effort over success has made you this way. However, being a perfectionist when it comes to effort can be destructive in itself.

I realise this now, as a person juggling work and burdening myself with the pressure to approach each task with equal enthusiasm as the first. But, the truth is, you won’t be able to contribute an identical level of effort into every avenue of responsibility. In fact, you won’t be able to contribute an identical level of effort to the same avenues of responsibility, because each day is different. Some days, your body will give in to the stress and compel you to take a break. On other days, you will find yourself charged with energy and ready to take on every challenge that comes your way. Just know that, whatever day it is, whatever task it is, the effort you put in, while important, cannot be measured by a uniform standard.

So, do your best. Your best doesn’t always have to look like a lit desk lamp at midnight and four empty cups of coffee. Sometimes, it’s an hour-long nap after a long day at school. And that’s okay.


You, just a little bit older.