How To Stop Overrating Yourself

Nike Balonga
7 min readJul 17, 2018


Have you ever had the feeling that you’re not living up to your potential?

Are you scared of the thought that you’ll never be as good as people say you would be? Are you terrified of the thought that you’ll grow old but you have never achieved anything big in your life?

You’re not alone.

This is hardly scientific but based on my personal experience and observation, majority of people in their 20s think that they fall short of their personal standards.

I’m pretty sure you know somebody else who feels this way.

The thing about the fear of mediocrity is that it doesn’t feel like it’s an urgent problem to be fixed like your finances or a malfunctioning septic tank.

It’s something you think about while you’re reflecting on your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. Being hungry for more is not bad. In fact, resting on your laurels is a recipe for disaster. If you could push yourself to new heights, then by all means do so.

Here are my thoughts on why you are and how you can stop overrating yourself.

The Burden Of Expectations

The burden of other people’s expectations can really push a person to the point of grief.

I’ve had classmates in high school who would cry when the teachers distributed our grade cards because their parents will be mad at for not being on the top of the entire class. It’s totally crazy.

Ever since we were young, we were taught and trained to meet expectations. To not disappoint people. We were taught to stick to doing certain things and avoid trying something else because of expectations. Some of us are even forced to things we don’t really like.

It’s futile to tell people to stop expecting anything from us. This is life. There’s always going to be some sort of expectations attached to us.

But let me tell you about somebody’s expectations who you should solve first. If you learn to manage this person’s expectations, you’ll be more likely be successful in managing other people’s expectations of you.

Want to take a guess?

Drum roll please….It’s YOU!

It’s You, You, and You

This might trigger you but you are the number one culprit of unrealistic expectations.

The thing is, we tend to think that by this certain age, we should have achieved all our goals that we’ve set for ourselves.

I think this scenario is very familiar to you:

You go to your news feed and you see your peers having the stuff that we want or the things we want to achieve.

Then you ask you ask yourself why haven’t we achieved your goals yet.

After that, you get frustrated because you “realized” that you’re actually overrated. You were supposed to have achieved your goals by now but you haven’t and it’s taking way longer than you expected.

Then you get scared because what if you’re never going to achieve your goals and just be mediocre all your life.

First of all, what makes you think you’re capable enough of totally guaranteeing that you’ll achieve all of your goals in the time frame that you’ve set?

Is it because you graduated from a prestigious school?

Is it because you were an honor student your entire life?

Is it because you feel like you’ve had an easily life and you didn’t have to face any real adversity?

Is it because you’re supposed to be better or smarter than your friends who have already achieved the stuff you’ve always wanted to?

Is it because you want to prove something to your the people who doubted you or who said that you will never amount to anything?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered that those things don’t guarantee that you’ll achieve what your goals exactly when you want it.

Pursue Excellence, Not Perfection

I think a very good reason why we tend to overrate ourselves is we tend to evaluate ourselves in absolutes. It’s either we get all that we want or we give ourselves a big fat L.

Now that’s totally unfair.

It’s common sense that nobody and nothing’s perfect but for some reason, we expect it from our selves and our life events.

Chasing perfection is crippling. It stops you from starting anything for fear of failing. It twists your mentality in such a way that every time something doesn’t go how you want it to be, we just give up.

Sometimes we give up our goals not because of things that are beyond our control, but because we already count ourselves out before finishing it.

It’s an annoying thing to chase.

We become too fixated on our perfect scenarios and we get frustrated that we forget that we should pursue something else: excellence.

Excellence is more than results. Excellence includes the entire process of getting the results.

Being excellent doesn’t mean not failing at all.

It involves trying, learning, failing, and finally — succeeding.

It’s about making sure that you do everything the right way and going beyond what is expected.

It means learning from your mistakes.

It means the constant improving of yourself via the lessons from your failures and also from your accomplishments.

It means putting your best foot forward in whatever you do. Every. Single. Day.

The thing about pursuing excellence is that you’ll definitely be surprised with the triumphs you get along the way — especially the ones you’ve never thought about. It makes it easier for you to realize that you’re better than you were before.

Patience Is Key

So an interesting question that pops out is how do you balance shooting for the stars without overrating yourself?

The answer is patience.

If you haven’t heard Gary Vaynerchuck speak about deploying patience, now is probably the best time for you to listen to it. (He’s got lots of other videos and he’ll probably explain it better than I do)

This is one of the biggest things people (especially those who are in their 20s) lack.

Patience. It’s a simple, yet beautiful concept. Yet it’s one that we don’t practice a lot whenever we try to evaluate ourselves.

We overrate ourselves in such a way that we think that our past achievements, the hardships that we overcame before, and our skills and abilities will guarantee when our achievements will be accomplished.

Just because you had it hard before, doesn’t mean you’re already good enough not to be patient with your results.

A chip on your shoulder or a medal hanging on your neck will never replace your need for patience.

Each of us are operating on different time frames to success.

Others achieved great things at a young age such as:

  • Alexander the Great who conquered countries at 18
  • Mozart who wrote his first symphony at 8.
  • Most recently, Kylian Mbappé who won the World Cup at 19!

While there are others who got things going for them a bit later in their life:

  • Vera Wang, one of the most successful designers in the fashion world, entered the industry at age 40.
  • Piko Taro, although he was already a comedian in Japan, blew the internet with PPAP at age 43.
  • Colonel Sanders started KFC at 65. S-I-X-T-Y. F-I-V-E. SIXTY FIVE.

There will always be people who will get it sooner, and others who will get it later.

In the grand scheme of things, does it matter if you finally bought a house at 35 years old instead of 26? Isn’t getting yourself a place to live under your name more important than when you finally had it?

So stop overrating yourself by balancing your hunger with your patience. The more driven you are towards achieving your goals, the more patient you should be with yourself.

Mixing It All Together

At the end of the day, what matters most is that you chase your goals to the best of your abilities at your own pace.

When you think about it, overrating yourself is a form of self-entitlement. It will surely nag at you since you think you’re supposed to be better than what you currently are.

It will keep your self-esteem low since you already think of yourself as a failure despite all your past achievements or the hardships you went through.

There will always be some things you’ll achieve, and there will also be some goals that will always be out of your reach.

But if you stop overrating yourself, you’ll come to realize that even if you didn’t reach that certain goal, you’ve become a better person than you were before.

Empower yourself by striving for excellence at everything you do and balancing your drive for success with immense patience.

Be more grateful for the journey, not the destination.



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