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  • Feeling inadequate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Damian (784) on 2002.06.03 16:44 (#9094)
    My experience has been that the older I get, the better I get at what I do. And the better I get at what I do, the more keenly I become aware of my limitations, of my inadequacies, of just how much I don't do well. The higher up the mountain I climb, the broader my perspective becomes, and the more I realize how small and finite I am.

    That can be a good thing (if I can muster enough self-esteem to let it be). It's an opportunity for humility and for rededication to the climbing itself.

    And it's the climbing itself that matters, not how high I am now, or how far it still is to the top, or where others are in comparison. What matters is: am I further along today than I was yesterday?

    The real problem arises when others say good things about me and my work. The gap between their perception of my abilities and my perception of the vast extent of my inability, sets up feelings of being a fraud.

    And that's a very common experience. Try googling on "imposter syndrome" [].

    I've found that the best way to handle those feelings of imposture is to consciously give myself permission to be human, to be fallible, to be imperfect. And to tell myself that counts is always doing the very best I can, always giving at least 100%, always to striving to improve.

    And to be grateful. As debilitating as those feelings can be, it's infinitely better to be someone who is competent but feels incompetent than vice versa.

    • Someone just pointed out Casey's journal entry to me. It's a bit old but I still wanted to note that I appreciate the original post and also Damian's followup. I never heard the term 'imposter syndrome' before, but I was certainly familiar with what I read about it. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one among the people I know.