The constant enhancement of performance and improvement of the self are seen as necessary to keep apace in the permanent state of competition in dynamic, growth-oriented, accelerated societies. The drive to become ‘ever better’ is intrinsically tied to the logic of acceleration and efficiency: ever-better and ever-faster are the indivisible tenets of maximised efficiency. They are not only a condition of success but a prerequisite for maintaining newly achieved standards. Towards the close of the twentieth century – with the dawn of the digital age, the concomitant transformations of the global economy and the increased significance of finance capitalism, which itself contributed to further massive acceleration and economisation (Aubert 2009) – the significance of this form of ‘out-doing oneself’ noticeably increased, insofar as it transformed from an ideal into an ineluctable norm to be met, moreover, using one’s own devices. To the extent to which economisation and competition encompass ever more areas of social life, the pressure to improve and increase efficiency affects not only career but the family, child–parent and couple relationships, as well as the relationship to the body and the self, in both the public and private sphere (see King et al. 2014). Consequently, there appears to be hardly a facet of life conduct 1 in which the intensified pressure of acceleration and competition does not compel us to exert greater effort at optimisation. The question arises, however, of the consequences and costs of this dynamic, which warrant closer analysis.