Written by Josh Palmer
Illustrated by Kelly Anderson
Inside The Person, who ambitiously views each day as tasks to be listed, completed, and celebrated, there exists a small creature which requires a feast of accomplishments both big and small with regular consistency. She is an Achievement Monster. Her nametag, were she to wear one, would likely read "Chievy."
Although small, furry, and quite cute, Chievy emphatically feeds on the accomplishments of her host. Each night while The Person sleeps, Chievy reviews and nibbles away the previous day's tasks, causing The Person to awaken quite groggy and mournful. If unfed by her host's achievements, the creature may feed on whatever else she may find. Hope, inspiration, motivation, and glee are common snacks. She will eat them all, despite their negative impact on her health: her fur grows thick and matted, and she develops a stench of moldy oats. At the cusp of this feeding time, The Person becomes lethargic, sloshy, and blue until they find an achievement to complete and satisfy the creature.
Once fed, Chievy can be quite the companion. The Person, having achieved multiple goals at once by working-out while reading a book on the nuances of chicken-farming and watching The Most Lost Kingdom on the treadmill TV, feels excellent! As he moves through the rest of his day, emanating a glowy aura of confidence and focus, Chievy gorges her chubby tummy with his goals. She especially loves the ones that lead The Person toward his dreams. This will keep her occupied for some time. Without the complications of his furry accomplice, the Person's performance increases dramatically. He may even take inspiration and apply her initiative towards himself. Charming, passionate, and sociable, he will be at his peak. Not only that, but a healthy diet for Chievy means she begins to smell of lavender: thereby so does he. It is quite symbiotic.
Some days, however, the feeding does not go so well. If fed the wrong food, such as frustration or impatience, Chievy becomes irate; irrevocably distracting and fear-inducing. The Person becomes anti-social and belligerent; not his usual charming self. He ends up watching meaningless YouTube and indulging in Doritos, cinnamon rolls, and Mountain Dew (or whatever else is available and pleasurable). His goals tossed aside, his dreams distant and impossible. Depressed and alone, he may think the insatiable Achievement Monster has won. He may think it is the end.
This is never the end.
Needy as she may be, Chievy knows that she will never survive without her host. She is dependent upon the thriving vestige of The Person. If he is to do well, so is she. Either out of survival or genuine compassion, Chievy will motivate him to achieve once again, be it through a smack on the meaty thigh or a push off the couch. Anything, at this point, will do. She may force him to learn something he cares nothing for, create a poorly composed sonata, or even eat lettuce. On a good day, she will get him to walk it off and take in the energizing rays of the Pleiades.
They will repeat this cycle of feeding, misfeeding, and recovery until eternity; both parties parasites of each other. That is, until an acceptance is reached by The Person.
The Person must accept the truth. The Achievement Monster is a necessary part of his life.
Once that fact is accepted, a routine can be built, a life can be carefully constructed around Chievy's feeding schedule. Intentionality, overlooked by The Person's ambition, is especially helpful here. She will be kept cheerful, and her host will find time to pursue meaningful goals. Perhaps The Person may wake up early to feed Chievy with some creative endeavor or exercise so as to avoid the groggy hunger of a sleepless creature. Their symbiosis will grow as long as The Person does not begin to equate this new routine of achievement as his source of value. He is not the food of the monster. He is the feeder.
The Person must continue this acceptance and reject comparing himself to others who do not live with a lifelong pal like Chievy. In fact, given enough healthy treatment of the relationship, The Person may perform amazing feats and achieve enormously more than some could ever do without the ferocity, focus, and drive of Chievy. In time, he himself will become driven, authentic, modest and charitable, full of heart, gentle, and benevolent. Having allowed her host to become a complete picture of himself and the best of humanity, the tamed Achievement Monster will dwell on the fact that she may very well be the best companion one could ever ask for.
So it is with many who know her, that The Person must balance truth, charity, and rest with ambition and achievement. Then, a person may achieve much, live well, and hug a furry, lavender-scented pet every evening, to which no one would detest.