On reasonable optimism



I don’t believe we are limitless.


I don’t buy into the, “if you miss your bus, be your own bus”, story. This probably doesn't translate well, but I found this quote often in Brazil recently. It's as a way of mocking an almost delusional optimism that a few people who work with coaching and motivation tend to apply sometimes.


I’m quite skeptical about the law of attraction idea that if you want something and you wish it very strongly, you will definitely get it. That implies a level of power, self-sufficiency, and entitlement beyond reason. More dangerously, it implies that people who are not billionaires, who are not living their “best lives” (whatever the heck that means), lack enlightenment, motivation or hard work. It implies that people going through hardship just don’t have the right mindset.

Life is not about bending reality to our own will.

There’s a fictional story being told about some few people "living the dream". Waking up at 5 am, balancing their days impeccably with exercise, productivity, social connections, and self-care. There’s a fantasy being reinforced in places like this very app, showing people who look great, eat healthily, make a lot of money and enjoy life as if it was sunny outside every single day of the year.

This creates the opposite effect, rendering us - every single one of us - with a feeling of powerlessness. Of never being enough. Of never catching up with what everyone else seems to be doing.

I believe there’s somewhere in-between being my own bus and being powerless. And the quote from the picture spoke to me because of that. I respond to quotes. I like them. Many of them give language to things we are trying to make sense of in a rather straightforward way – I mean, look at how long this post is already.

I have mood swings (let’s put it this way for now), and my oscillation tends to be greater than the average person’s. This leads to me living in a pendulum of, at times, believing I can do anything in the world, and others, becoming paralysed and incapable of the simplest of tasks – the highs lasting than a week and the lows taking a lot more of my lifetime in recent years. Lately, thanks to therapy and medicine, I’ve begun finding a halfway that works for me. I feel stable, which is a state I don’t remember experiencing this strongly – I used to find myself either up or down most of the time.

Therefore, the idea of believing in myself "just a little more" seems fathomable to me now. It’s not about believing that I can fly – it’s knowing I can work and save money to buy a flight ticket sometime in the future (to engage in the metaphor properly). It’s not presuming I’m better than anyone – but it’s also not considering I’m worse than anyone.


I might not have all the things I wish I had – I might not have all the credentials or all the experience to serve people the way I would like to. But I do have enough to take the first step and go from there.


I am writing in English, even though my mother tongue is Portuguese and I live in a country that speaks Dutch. I don’t expect to write the best essays and the best books ever written. I don’t expect my first book to be an NYT bestseller (okay, the overachieving part of me obviously does) – but I’m writing it anyway because I know how to form sentences, express feelings, and tell my story.

I want to serve people and business as a catalyst for getting the right things done. For provoking reflections on who you really are, why you do what you do, what really matters to you, and providing tools, insights, and accountability to empower you to get that out and into the world. For sharing what I’ve learned to be true in building consistent, intentional (and imperfect!) routines that may prevent you from burning out. For extracting what story your business aches to tell the world, and guiding you into building rituals that can bring meaning to your days and your team.

But I am not a coach, or a therapist, or a mentor. I’m 31 years old and a lifetime of sh*t - as a friend dearly put the other day.


What I am is someone who works to give language to the things we yearn to understand and give structure to get where our hearts desire to go. I’ve worked in corporate for over 10 years, and now I am learning how to be a solopreneur (I don’t even know if I like this word). I’ve been studying about burnout for about two years, and I’ve got firsthand experience with two burnouts (one in Brazil, one in the Netherlands). I am creative, I value order and beauty. I also value honesty. And a sense of humour - God, please.


I’ve been learning how to do work that fulfils me, allows me to be who I truly am, and is sustainable in terms of health, relationships and money.

I’m a beginner in a lot of things.

But I’m trying to believe a little more in myself and to believe I’ve got what it takes to take the next step. Which is all we really need.

(Send me a message or email carol@thebetterachiever.com if you want to know how I can serve you. 😊)

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The Better Achiever is a burnout prevention platform for overachievers and perfectionists,
founded by Carol Miltersteiner and inspired by many, many others. 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.