Peter Principle

A town government official with many responsibilities discharged with praise once turned down a “better” job offer in a larger community by saying that one can “climb too high.”  One man’s version of the Peter Principle. 

But how much better would we all be if overarching ambition never took us beyond our scope? We would know mastery in a given sphere. 

Our nerves would be calmer.  And wouldn’t the world be a saner place as well? 

In high school, I found myself with a very critical mind whenever I had far too much to do.  This suggests that for me an overly busy life is not conducive to my better spirit. 

I used to be a real worrier.  When yet another good thing had happened, seeming to make the anxiety needless, my father simply remarked, “Most things do turn out well.” 

Why all the anxious moments?  I have come to believe that it was a psychological ploy.  I didn’t think I deserved good things unless I had given my “pound of flesh,” as Shakespeare described. 

And if things did turn out badly, I had done all I could: I had really cared enough to make myself miserable.

The base of it was that anxiety proved to be a goad to make me work harder—and thereby increase the likelihood that most things would “turn out well.” 

A trap of perfectionism carried to extremes.