On the fear of underachieving

With Gen Zs leading the way in politics and beyond, society has become embroiled in a race to keep up. Megan Williams speaks to figures in art and publishing from different generations to uncover more about the fear of underachieving and how to move past it

Search on any forum about changing careers and there’s a sea of worried users from their 20s to their 50s wondering if they’ve left it too late. The creative world is evidently a hotbed for these concerns. Pivot to social media, however, and it seems everybody has the world at their feet, ticking off boxes and surpassing career goals in the blink of an eye.

It’s a dichotomy that could seemingly only exist in current times. While the ambition to lead a ‘successful’ life is nothing new, nor the fear that a younger, better and hungrier replacement is waiting in the wings, the age at which these fears start to set in seems to be inching ever younger. To delve deeper into the conversation, we reached out to two creatives at different stages in their lives to hear their take on ageing, competitors, and the fear of underachieving.