The Underachiever’s Manifesto

Yes, I read The  Underachiever’s  Manifesto – The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great  by  Ray Bennett, M.D. .  It wasn’t hard, even for an underachiever.  But, I do not, by any means, consider myself an underachiever.  The book is only 85 pages and there is a lot of white space.  A third grader could read it quite easily.

Why did I read this?  First of all, the concept intrigued me.  Secondly, I constantly expose myself to books that are just the opposite, so I wanted to see how the other half lived.

And, … no thanks.  The underachiever’s grass may not be cut on a regular basis, which is fine, but it may not necessarily be greener either.

I really wanted to like this book, especially considering how much my ego ( and sales ) have taken a beating lately.  I thought that maybe there would be some consolation in ‘releasing the reins’.  You know, encouraging words from someone outside your situation can be quite comforting.   Instead this ‘manifesto’ almost condoned the why even try perspective.  I am very goal driven – even if that goal sometimes is to make it through the day.  So for me, this lazy-ass approach really hit a sour note.

I feel the urge to ramble without direction here, so I will switch gears and highlight a few ‘tips’ from the book then comment.  Hell, maybe I’ll comment as I go along.  Regardless, there will be commentary.

The Ten Principles of Underachievement

  1.  Life’s too short
  2. Control is an illusion
  3. Expectations lead to misery
  4. Great expectation leads to great misery                                            wow, that’s original
  5.  Achievement creates expectation                                                      personally, I think this is a good thing?
  6. The law of diminishing returns applies everywhere
  7. Perfect is the enemy of good                                          don’t get this one – maybe the quest for perfection???
  8. The tallest blade of grass is the surest to be cut
  9. Accomplishment is in the eye of the beholder                                 why is this bad? 
  10. The 4% value-added principle

Other random phrases:

  • Underachievers aren’t threatening to others
  • Ugly (average) people have good sex, too                                I’m thinking Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have pretty good sex.
  • The difference between a happy and an unhappy childhood is the difference between encouragement and pressure

This last tidbit I had a problem.

  • Remember underachievement isn’t about doing absolutely nothing.  It’s about the right effort at the right time in the right place.  And not one bit more.

Really?! If it were that easy would I still be working retail pharmacy? Ugh, of course not.  The right effort, the right place at the right time.  Anyone can be successful if even two of those three align.  Then there is no ‘extra effort’ required.

Initially, I wanted to share this book with friends, mailing it out to someone then that person forwarding it off to someone else; the Travelling Pants/Flat Stanley concept.  The idea fizzled almost as fast as it was conceived.  Shit, sharing this book ain’t worth the time or the postage.

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