25 Characteristics and Traits of Overachievers

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This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Best and Brightest

BNET published a post last week called How to Manage Overachievers, and the article got me thinking about overachievers and who they are. Well, not in any form of boasting or anything, but I am an overachiever. If the degree of overachieving-ness can be measured like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD), then I’m probably an eight or nine on a scale of ten, with ten being the most superachieving overachiever. I’m a Chinese American and it is in my genes to be an overachiever whether I want to be or not. Most of my Chinese and Asian American friends will agree and admit to being overachievers also, although some of them will be in denial because they suffer low self-esteem, which is also another genetic disease trait of being Chinese American. From the BNET article as well as my own observation, experience, and self profession, I’ve compiled a list of 25 characteristics and traits of overachievers.

  1. Overachievers set unrealistic and extremely high expectations of themselves.
  2. Overachievers project the same high expectations onto others.
  3. Overachievers are often workaholics.
  4. Overachievers are at high risk for burnout.
  5. Overachievers are willing to take risks in order to succeed.
  6. Overachievers are perfectionists.
  7. Overachievers are very productive and are able to accomplish more tasks than your average person.
  8. Overachievers don’t like to be told what to do.
  9. Overachievers are self-initiators and take on tasks without being told or asked.
  10. Overachievers go above and beyond the boundaries and requirements of their job.
  11. Overachievers have excellent problem solving skills.
  12. Overachievers are creative and like to think outside the box.
  13. Overachievers are strong-minded, stubborn, and do not like to conform.
  14. Overachievers are overly obsessive about accomplishing tasks.
  15. Overachievers prefer to work solo rather than in a team.
  16. Overachievers are impatient with people who just don’t “get them.”
  17. Overachievers are likely to change jobs frequently due to lack of challenge/stimulation at their current job.
  18. Overachievers are easily bored.
  19. Overachievers have little patience for protocol.
  20. Overachievers like need to be acknowledged, recognized, appreciated, and praised. Overachievers do not respond well to criticism.
  21. Overachievers like to be involved in planning and decision-making.
  22. Overachievers do not do well with red tape and bureaucracy. When faced with such obstacles frequently, productivity flushes down the toilet
  23. Overachievers continually look for their next promotion.
  24. Overachievers need to shine or stand out.
  25. Overachievers do not cope with failure very well.

Are you an overachiever? (Case in point, my husband just denied of being an overachiever after reading this list even though he has a Ph.D. from Harvard, B.S. from MIT, plays the piano, violin, guitar, and is about to win the next Nobel peace prize in drug discovery.)


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