15 Reasons Millennials Are (Secretly) Afraid Of Success

Carmen Jost
Carmen Jost

1. We’re afraid that once we achieve success (however we define it) that we still won’t be happy.

2. We’re not sure that the “success” we’re chasing after is actually our true version of success, and not just what we’ve been conditioned to think is success.

3. We’re scared of finding success in a career that we don’t want. And we’re scared that we’ll feel pressured to keep going down that route, even if we don’t love it, just because trying something else would be too risky.

4. We’re worried that success will be our only way of determining our self-worth. We’re worried that we’ll forget about all the other important things about us, like our compassion or our kindness or our hard-working nature or our tenacity, and instead we’ll only think of ourselves as worthy if we are successful.

5. We’re scared that the money and attention and expectations that come with success will be too much for us to handle. We’re afraid of the person we might become once we have power. Because we’ve seen too may people lose themselves in the race for control, and we don’t want to be one of them.

6. We’re afraid that all the amazing stuff that comes with success still won’t be enough for us. That even after all of the money and praise and luxuries, we’ll be left still searching for something. Still feeling unfulfilled.

7. Because, even though we know it’s wrong, we all know it’s much easier to sit back and judge people instead of being the one that’s under scrutiny.

8. As my grandfather eloquently puts it, “The higher up the pole the monkey goes, the more his ass shows.”

9. We want to be extraordinary, but we’re afraid of trying to find success and discovering that we’re merely ordinary.

10. It’s much easier to daydream about the the idea of success and the idea of happiness than it is to actually go after it. Because if you go after it, there’s a chance it won’t happen. And then the illusion is ruined and your daydream is no longer safely tucked inside the inner pockets of your mind.

11. Because, honestly, trying is scary and it’s so much easier to just pretend like you don’t care about anything.

12. Because to be successful, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. And in a day and age where every single person’s actions are documented and dissected online for the world to see, stepping outside the box in any way is terrifying.

13. We feel like the more successful we are, the harder it becomes to deal with failure. People begin to just expect you to succeed. When someone has zero expectations about you, it’s easy to try new things. But when everyone is used to you succeeding and doing well, the idea of letting people down can become paralyzing.

14. Because we’ve grown up on stories like Harry Potter, that taught us power can be dangerous and addicting and all-consuming if you don’t handle it the right way. And we don’t want to succumb to the temptations of success and power. We just want to play Quidditch. And in this case, playing Quidditch is both a metaphor for “doing what we love” and a phrase to be taken literally… because we actually want to play Quidditch.

15. Because everyone is watching us. Everyone. And we’re watching ourselves. We’re all watching each other’s every single move. We don’t even know what we’re watching others for – do we want them to succeed? to fail? to never do anything? It doesn’t matter. We’re watching. So to stand out any more than is necessary is the scariest thing in the world. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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