Why the B student is happier – good enough is often better


By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

School success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How perfect do you need to be?

The connection between grades and happiness is a lot more tenuous than we used to think. A recent survey concluded that by and large students with a B average were a lot happier than those who got A’s.

Now, this was not a perfect correlation. Some A students were very happy and some B students were miserable but overall, a B just might make you happier than an A.

Why do B’s make you happier than A’s?

This is another example of that old 80/20 rule. Getting to be perfect at something takes a lot of your time. If you focus on doing one thing perfectly you need to devote large amounts of time to that task. The result is this one thing begins to take over your life. You need to ask yourself is this thing worth it?

If to get A’s a student has to give up sports or a club that they truly love, will they be better off with the A and no participation in that sport? This goes to goals.

If you want to get into a prestigious school, then those A’s might be a minimum. You may also need to be in advanced placement classes and to have participated in a lot of extracurricular activities. That push to meet these requirements may keep you from many other things you want to do.

So ask yourself how important is that goal of making it into a particular Ivy League school worth? If it is not something you really want, then consider that spending less time studying and more on other activities may optimize your happiness.

There is a more adult corollary to this. If you spend 20% of your time and do an 80% job you may optimize your happiness. I am not suggesting you will be happier if you do shoddy work. But sometimes that extra effort to be 100% perfect, results in taking too much time on a task, getting nothing else done, and in the end, this perfect job has sabotaged your career or your relationships.

Try to get your life in balance. Spend the time you need to in order to make something “good enough” without putting yourself in the place of being stressed out or having to neglect other things.

Trying to be perfect can be crazy-making.

One author reports that to perfect a skill requires 10,000 hours of practice. You can do that for one, maybe two things in your life, but you can’t do that for everything. Some of your life roles need to be relegated to that “good enough” category where you do enough to get 80% of the project and then let the rest of it go to make room for the balance of your life.

What are the things in your life that you need to lighten up on and go for the B grade so you can concentrate on getting an A in the things that really matter to you? Have you spent the time to set goals and prioritize so that your time can be invested in what really matters?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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6 thoughts on “Why the B student is happier – good enough is often better

  1. Pingback: Perfectionists make themselves unhappy. | counselorssoapbox

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