The contemporary ways of the world towards what is considered to be either successful or respectful for the individual to attain are ones that usually cause a lot of stress along the way and even after their acquisition. This makes the issue of stress not only contemporary but also a potential to haunt us for as long as we live amongst the civilization of today.
Stress, while it can be used as a form of motivation to either gain or preserve successful status or position, has proven to have a negative effect on our mental health. This can in turn lead to other problems such as mental illness, physical pain, and a shorter lifespan.
In other words, if we regard the stressful nature of the orthodox paths of civilized life as existent, along with the long-term consequences of stress, we can conclude that the contemporary society at large can have an indirect, negative influence on our lives and on their natural extension, along with our health, both physically and mentally.
Nonetheless, it can be claimed that the societal stress towards the success of attaining our potential is one that has come from the natural circumstances of how the external world works today.
Fierce competition, the reasonable possibility of failure on more than one occasion, and the potential for your hard years of work to be put to shame by at least one scandal, such as being blamed for sexual harassment or any other kind of shame-creating act from the masses, are all examples of how our hard work towards whatever is defined as both successful and respected can create a fragile path towards it while it can also cause us a lot of stress, whether we are aware of it or not, for the long-term.
However, if we are to conclude that that's the way the external world works, even if it ultimately plays against our interests, does not entail that we should necessarily accept its ways nor follow it and what it dictates to be societal success from the individual level.
In other words, we do not have to accept the stressful ways of the world when we have the ability to resist the toxic effects of stress, even if it comes at the price of being appeared by others as less successful, or even be judged as "wasted potentials", especially given the fact that there are other, more esoteric ways to attain whatever we want in life, at the benefit of becoming less stressed along the way.
Truth be told, I did not manage to get a degree in philosophy, even though I enjoyed the courses I took and even though I had the money to invest in academic studies. I eventually gave in to my ambition to reduce the overall stress in life, which in turn led me to stop my academic studies. My teachers at high school who I last visited a few years ago, were a bit disappointed, because they told me that I am capable of much academic potential.
This has led me to contemplate: is the path of satisfying others truly worth the toll of the stresses of the external world? Why is this world so stressful when we can try and reach healthier alternatives in the name of peacefulness, which is healthier than stress as well?
Hence the problem of the orthodox ways towards success in this contemporary world; it is too stressful for people who have it harder to cope under pressure. This world rewards people who can be both stressed and productive at the same time, and not only on the academic fields, but on various of professions as well, while those who collapse under intensive pressure, are usually the ones that'll have it way harder in getting through life's many orthodox challenges.
What is clear is that whether you are competent or incompetent under pressure, its negative effects on ourselves and on those around ourselves should be, in my opinion, more considered, especially due to the fact that pressure will ultimately take a significant toll on our lives' health and on their overall span.
If you have the "privilege" of going your own way and still manage to sustain yourself and your overall satisfaction in life, then you should consider abandoning the orthodox, stress-creating ways of life in the name of your wellbeing, even if you are to sacrifice, theoretically, your reputation among those who have higher expectations for you.
That is, possibly, the exact reason as to why MGTOWs, minimalists, and hikikomoris exist. What is common among them is the belief that there is a better alternative in life to pursue, each within their own specialized area in the collection we call life. It comes from the logic that "A" can be reached without going exclusively through "B", even if we are taught otherwise by the socialization of society.
Likewise, I believe that especially in our times, where we have a greater individual freedom than ever before in human existence, thanks to values such as tolerance, pluralism, and democracy, we should consider more alternative ways to be living the time we have in the world, in order to either reduce or eliminate whatever we dislike in the orthodox ways the external world tries to force upon us, whether or not they believe these ways to be in our best interest.