Here is the full transcript of mental health and wellness advisor Bethany Butzer’s TEDx Talk: Stop Trying So Hard. Achieve More by Doing Less at TEDxUNYP conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Stop trying so hard. Achieve more by doing less by Bethany Butzer at TEDxUNYP
I’ve spent most of my life trying really hard to succeed. When I was in high school I pushed myself to win every academic award that I could. When I got to university, I pushed myself to get straight A’s in all my classes. I ended up spending ten years in university and got my PhD in psychology. From there I pushed myself to succeed in the corporate world and then I pushed myself to be successful as an entrepreneur.
I eventually ended up getting a job at Harvard Medical School, which is one of the top academic institutions in the world. And by this point, I’d won a lot of scholarships and awards. I was reasonably successful and there were many people who were quite proud of me, but I still wasn’t happy.
So, for example, when I was in my 20s, on the outside, I looked like a thriving young woman who was doing well academically and who had an active social life. But inside, I was struggling with crippling self-doubt and perfectionism. I ended up spending six years on antidepressants and many hours in therapy.
Now I eventually managed to get off the antidepressants and I got into things like yoga and meditation and personal development and I started to make my health and my well-being my number one priority. But still, there was something inside of me that kept pushing me to strive and to achieve and to succeed and I eventually realized that I had become an achievement addict.
So I had become addicted to the attention and the approval that often come along with being successful. And so what I would do is I would get into this pattern where I would overwork toward some goal, I would burn out, then I would maybe take a little bit of time to recuperate, and then I would start over-working again. And I would go through this pattern over and over and over. So this cycle might sound familiar to some of you.