Two: Ever feel you’re an impostor?

My name is Mohammed Osama Mohammed Elhassan and I haven’t quit this thing yet. I also don’t have a proper introduction so I’m just going to get right to it. This is post number two.

On “Impostor Syndrome”:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Do you feel like this resonates with you?

Whether it’s a perpetual state or a fleeting thought, impostor syndrome is real and probably more rampant than ever.

I know that many people feel like they don’t deserve to be where they are academically or professionally. Surrounded by seemingly impeccable over-achievers, you may experience a sense of inferiority that hinders your ability to take pride in whatever you accomplish.

This fake humility is just self-deprecation in disguise. It stems from the illogical comparison of oneself to others. The comparison is illogical because it pits your own uncut, unedited, documentary-style reality show (the real type, not the scripted fantasy drivel) against someone else’s highlight reel. Nobody in their right mind flaunts everything about their lives without applying some kind of filter, so best believe you’ll feel like a failure.

You don’t really know what these people go through. This A student probably has their own tailored set of problems that you can’t even imagine to bear, this CEO cannot seem to shake off the anxiety of losing all their money, this successful entrepreneur could easily be paranoid about their future. Everyone has flaws, fears, and concerns they won’t ever expose to the world.

Undermining the compliments you receive, trying to work harder to feel more deserving of your current position, feeling envious of the seemingly calm and collected peers in the midst of your self-inflicted chaos, or being unnecessarily stressed about the idea that someone will eventually figure you out and expose you, are all symptoms of the unfair comparisons we force upon our experiences.

I felt like an impostor long before I even knew such a phenomenon exists. I still feel like a fraud sometimes but I’m much better at valuing my achievements now. I started to internalize the reassuring notion that I am not alone. Everyone doubts their abilities when they shine a light on their shortcomings. True progress manifests itself when the balance is struck between knowing that you deserve to be where you are and actively working to amount to your potential and optimize your life.

If you ever felt like an impostor, you are most likely doing a lot of things right. It can be considered as an incentive for excellence as long as you manage it and channel it towards the continuous stream of self-development. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, it should make you work harder and ruminate on the trajectory of your personal and professional lives. The more efficiently you exploit this feeling, the closer you get to your true self.

A quote to think about:

If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.

I believe this is somehow related to the impostor syndrome. If you are not the smartest person in the room, you’re more susceptible to feeling like you a fraud. Rest assured you’re not alone, it’s completely natural and actually quite empowering when you learn how to use it to your advantage.

Where are you on the spectrum of self-proclaimed fraudulence?

Please reach out to me if you want to share your thoughts on this topic, or if you think that this is rubbish and want to tell me that I should quit. I will be equally grateful.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Until next time.

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