Is success a millennial myth?

7 mins read

Feeling truly accomplished is an almost impossible feeling. If you do feel it, then it’s likely that overwhelming feeling the fleeting.

But this is through no fault of your own.

Millennials are an ambitious and forward-thinking generation. Without realising it, a destination date was made. It’s almost as if you have until a certain age to achieve things, some of them entirely unrealistic.

We’ve been shaped by societies materialistic understanding of success. Statistics show millennials do feel as if they’re under a lot of pressure. Polls showed that 67 percent of them felt extremely pressured to succeed.

And they’re not alone. Generation X feels 40 percent and compared to the Boomer’s 23 percent. So, to argue that this is not a real strain would be a lie. The whole “one day it will happen” is now frowned upon.

Now, it’s the sooner you achieve something the better. This might because of social media’s showcasing of the competition. Posts of glorious smiling faces with Oscar worthy captions to live up to.

After all, no one is really ‘successful’ unless it’s highlighted online.


This is said to have shown an impact. The University of Pittsburgh’s recent research supported that the more time young adults spend on social media, the higher the chance they’re going to be depressed. To emphasise, the participants of the study who frequently checked social media within the week were said to be 2.7 times more likely to experience depression.

However, most millennials came of age in the height of social media.

Seeking validation is almost a natural phase of life. Weighing achievements based on the responses of other people. The comparison game is deadly for anyone’s wellbeing, especially when your hard work doesn’t feel like it’s recognised.

Participants in the survey acknowledged that social media could be a trigger for their mental wellbeing. Expressing that seeing everyone else doing well often made them experience negative thoughts and feel as if they needed to do better to achieve more.

It impacts self-esteem to the extent that we can’t reap our own glory. So much time put into something, and it can crumble in a matter of seconds. Despite all we’ve achieved, we still question our abilities based on the response it gets.

Truly, it makes you question what defines success.

Whether it can be judged solely by yourself, or if it will always depend on others. Unfortunately, it makes the goalpost an everlasting journey to reach. Never being where you want to be in life because someone is always ahead or in a better place.

Success is for the young now, it would seem. Anyone above the age of twenty has missed their opportunity. What a pretty lie to hear for the youths, not so much for us adolescents. Truthfully, there is no deadline age for when you succeed.

Let it be heard that success isn’t a one time thing.

It’s a series of progressive movements towards something. Everything has a periodical end to it that we achieve at the end of the line. Success can’t be measured in the sense of what you’ve gained but rather what you’ve done.


No one moves at the same pace. Different people have separate hurdles that set people back. This doesn’t mean they’re less accomplished, it just means they need more time.

Every success is part of a grander scheme. No one just lands at successes doorstep without going through the waves. Everyone has to suffer a little to bear the crown. Some people might get there ahead of us, but they had to walk a thousand miles of their own to get there.

It’s not as if people just succeed without trying or doing.

Remember, no one is going to document the ugly parts. The ones where they wanted to give up whilst they’re in that place. It will always be after those dark moments are thought through that we will see them.

Everyone posts the mistake riddled draft after the perfected piece.

Success comes from the mistakes we learn from. It’s not quite a place in life but rather a purpose to reach. A goal that everyone keeps working towards until we are content, you might even find satisfaction before you succeed.

The beginning is the inspiring challenge and the success is the final endgame. However, it is the begrudging series of messiness and contemplation that matters. Those are the periods that determine where you’re going and if you have the guts to keep climbing.

Forget succeeding for a moment.

See the sweat, blood and teary breakdowns that you’ve endured instead. Those are worth more than any online praise can get you. After all, you survived the what you thought were the worst moments.


Time will take you through it all. The best in the life, the confusion, and then the satisfying. Maybe not in that order, perhaps there is no order.

Success can no longer be the end of anything. Because if success really does end, then what can come after? There can be no one achievement. There’s a series of them in a lifetime, and they’ll come in sporadic bursts throughout your years.

Yes, there will always be better. But there will also be worse. You make that decision based on your perception. Your achievement worth is not determined by anyone else but yourself.

Learning how to praise yourself might be impossible. But accepting that what you did is amazing is manageable, even if only for a fleeting moment.

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Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

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