The pressure to succeed

The pressure to succeed can be felt in different stages of our lives. For example? Within the context of a family, and subsequently, in an academic context, parents absolutely want their children to succeed. In a social context, it is instead felt through peer influences, whether they come from classmates, relatives, society, the media, or even from the self.

Definition :

There are many types of pressure that come from our surroundings:

  • Familial/academic pressure : It is common for parents to wish for their children to succeed. Children then often follow a strict routine, such as going to school, taking part in one or more extracurricular activity after classes, doing homework when they get home, and studying on weekends and sometimes even on vacation.
  • Social pressure : Social pressure can be defined as being an influence. These influences can equally come from the media, or from peers, or even from the self. More precisely, they tend to push us to do something. It can be as simply conveyed as through a suggestion, a request, and even just a look. These are called direct influences. There also exists indirect influences, for example, seeing multiple people doing the same thing, influencing us to do the same. Social pressure can be positive or negative.

Causes :

In the familial and academic context : The pressure to succeed mainly comes from a familiar context. Parents wish for their children to succeed because sometimes, it was them who were in a failing situation at school, who were not able to pursue the studies they wished to pursue because of low grades, or simply because they did not follow the right direction.

  • Having good grades
  • Constantly progressing
  • Being the top student
  • Feeling the parents’ fear about their children’s academic success

In a social context : the pressure takes place due to the influence of brands, popularity, fashion, and reputation. Youth feel permanently judged and therefore pay a lot of attention to what others think of them.

Today, it’s mainly social media that is to blame. In fact, online, youth can see and know everything about others. They therefore think that their lives are not interesting enough to attract “followers” and in turn will do as celebrities do, causing them to sometimes post content that is out of their comfort zone, or to do things that is simply not in their nature to do.

Consequences :

Adolescence is the period during which identity and self-image is built. It is also the period that is the most critical in terms of social pressure, which can cause devastating consequences on a youth’s confidence, both physical and psychological, as well as on their mental health.

Psychological

  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of failure
  • Repetitive absences and refusal to go to school
  • Anxiety stemming from an intense fear of failing and disappointing

Physical

  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders and loss of appetite
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts and in extreme cases, attempted suicide