re: Share Your Experiences with Impostor Syndrome VIEW POST


I've experienced imposter syndrome in two main places:

  1. Tech.
  2. Academics

The thing that helped me get over it was something David Foster Wallace said in his "this is water" commencement speech refer to (Video or Transcript if you prefer to read)

In the speech, he talks about how whatever you worship would consume you eventually and as part of an example, he says "Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.".
This helped me realize that the issues I've had with imposter syndrome have to do with deeper issues of identity and/or insecurity(this may not apply to everyone).
Since that realization, I've been confronting the core issue "worshipping intellect" and the I'm beginning to handle it better.
Also to back it up, I've been reading up on cognitive science about things such as cognitive load and fixation, and I've been realizing that pretty much everyone has the same mental capabilities, but we live in a society that has turned being mentally accomplished into some sort of superstitious/innate ability, we call people "genius" or "smart" when in reality, they've reaped the word of countless hours of hardwork in the right direction and with the right motivations. Also there's a lot that chance has to do with when it comes to being smart (as an example, think of how many people had bad math-teachers and how that goes on to scar people for the rest of their adulthood).
This is not to say there aren't actual geniuses: people who are genuinely talented, but it's very rare.
So, I guess my advice is this: if you're experiencing imposter syndrome, ask yourself if you worship intellect or if your identity is attached to "being seen as a smart person". and work your way up from there.
Also it helps to realise that life isn't always about you(refer to David's speech for more context) and 90% of the time it's just about solving problems....identity shouldn't play into it, reminding myself about that has really helped me.

Also please watch 'The myth of the genius programmer'

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