Caught in a frenzy of perfectionism, our world is constantly focused on being the most accomplished, the most beautiful, or anything else under the sun of ‘being the best’.

While the culture of striving for achievement could be perceived as a motivator to be your own best, most can agree that the notion leaves you feeling worse off and less motivated as a whole. 

It is no secret that the global pandemic has emphasized our society’s hyper-focus on productivity. Article after article details how you can maximize your time at home, a new skill you should be picking up, or 102 ways to stay socially connected. Our world – even in a time of pause – is accustomed to a “go-go-go” mentality. 

But I have some news for you: you don’t have to do it all, every day, all the time. 

“I have some news for you: you don’t have to do it all, every day, all the time.”

When I was young, my father told me a piece of advice about parenting. He said that parenting is so difficult that some days, even if your only accomplishment is your children being alive and well at the end of the day, you get a 7/10 as a parent. And some days, a 7/10 is the absolute best you can do. 

While my dad is truly a hands-on parent and was joking in his phrasing, the teaching of the ‘7/10 rule’ still remains true. The art of the 7/10 is giving your permission to be human. It is to say that, sometimes, the minimum is enough. It is a piece of advice that I have applied to many life situations and shared with many peers. 

“The art of the 7/10 is giving your permission to be human.”

Essentially, accepting that a 7/10 is still an accomplishment involves being a lot kinder to ourselves. Some days, you cannot go the extra mile for a friend or you cannot take on an extra project for your boss; you simply cannot give 110% effort… and that’s okay. We conjure up unrealistic ideals for ourselves that ultimately result in us bending over backward to achieve a certain outcome. Sometimes this outcome is one that we feel personally obliged to meet, or other times we feel like others believe it’s an obligation to meet. And often, we don’t even end up meeting the unrealistic goal and feel even worse.

“…accepting that a 7/10 is still an accomplishment involves being a lot kinder to ourselves.”

When we talk about doing anything less than the absolute most, we typically call it ‘the bare minimum’. By placing the word ‘bare’ in front, we’ve subconsciously decided that the ‘minimum’ is no longer acceptable. Instead of simply completing your nine-to-five, there’s a pressure to join committees and attend work socials. When a friend or family member is going through a tough time, we feel a pressure to drop everything and ensure their happiness to be the best support we can be. When we decide to get more exercise, we tell ourselves we’ll drip sweat every single day until we achieve a certain physique. Rather than just dropping off and picking up our children at school, we feel an added need to volunteer our time at events. You get the idea; every day, life throws more pressures at us in which we expect ourselves to take part. 

“…you do not have to be a superhero every day.”

The thing is, we cannot do it all. We aren’t meant to. Otherwise, we’d be computerized robots with no appreciation for amusement, laughter, and contentment in our lives. This is not to say that ‘just enough’ is the new way of life. Some days, it is important to push yourself to limits. Determination and drive are also part of our human nature. However, you do not have to be a superhero every day. You are not required to feel like you are thriving on the daily. You do not have to always step in to remedy problems in your own life or those of your peers. You do not have to be the best all the time. 

Sometimes, we have to learn that not every task entails shooting for the moon. We have to accept that stars are pretty cool, too, and it’s okay if that’s where we land. It’s okay to need to stop pushing yourself the extra mile and just call it a day. And guess what? You still get a 7/10. And for being human and surviving the ups and downs of whatever today brought you, I think 7/10 is pretty damn good.

 

Amelia Ceolin