A high school tradition is about to bite the dust - having the senior class vote for student yearbook awards, like “Most Likely to Succeed.” In fact, only 25-percent of schools plan to name one or more students “most likely” – down from 75-percent two decades ago.
Why? Because a lot of “honorees” spend the rest of their lives trying to live up to such high expectations, and stressing out about letting everyone down.
Like one woman we read about. She was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” 20 years ago – and the title has been hanging over her ever since. Despite the fact that she graduated from college, traveled the world, and now earns 6-figures. She says the award was a burden. And she constantly evaluated her life, trying to figure out if she was a success or not.
Interestingly enough, research shows that most winners do go on to succeed. Some recipients say the award kept them from dropping out of law school, or from jumping off what turned out to be a successful career path. But they also said it created a sense of pressure and self-doubt.
In fact, nearly one-third of people named “most likely to succeed” say it turned into a pressure-filled curse - one that set the bar too high.
Experts point out that the honorees who survive the “Most Likely to Succeed” curse come up with their own definition of success, aiming for fulfillment, happiness, satisfaction, and – if they’re lucky - changing other people’s lives.