Imposter Syndrome

This is the first post on my blog and the only thought that’s going through my head right now is how I wish I could write eloquent words and phrases just by thinking about what I want to write and that I could write with my mind instead of having to actually formulate my thoughts into words and then even going further as to type them out.

Good thing one of the reasons why I’m writing in this blog is to improve my writing and work on written communication, haha.

So the topic of this post is imposter syndrome, which is the “collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.” (If you want to learn more about how to overcome imposter syndrome, you can click on the link that I totally ripped the definition from but it’s fine since I cited it and therefore it’s not plagiarism).

As a software engineer who is still relatively early in my career, I experience imposter syndrome pretty frequently. It usually manifests in me questioning the extent of my experience or knowledge regarding a certain topic or tech stack. For example, I might go into a technical interview doubting some of the solutions I come up for a question because I’m worried that I don’t actually know as much as I think I do and I’m going to look silly (aka dumb af) in front of the interviewer. Or after joining a team after a rigorous interview process, feeling like I don’t actually belong there because everyone else on the team seems like they know a lot more than me and I’m just sitting there at my desk like this:

If you’ve never experienced something similar or have no idea what I’m talking about, then that’s great, you’re awesome, some people don’t really experience imposter syndrome due to factors such as their professional industry, level of self-confidence, or something else. If you do know what I’m talking about, then let me tell you something that is super important and will make you feel better instantaneously:

The more intelligent you are, the more likely it is that you will experience imposter syndrome at some point in your life.

That’s right, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you’ll have moments of self-doubt regarding your own intelligence and abilities! (I’m quoting someone I can’t remember who somewhere I can’t remember said that to me but since it’s still technically a quote I put the fact in quotation marks).

I used to find that fact pretty ironic – why is it that the more you know the more you feel like you don’t know anything? Isn’t that weird? The more I think about it though, it makes more and more sense to me, and I think the bottom line is this: the more intelligent you are, the more likely you’re going to be in contact with other intelligent people who are oftentimes even more intelligent than yourself.

Given this fact, if you’re perpetually surrounded by smart people, which, by the way, is a great thing to be surrounded by, then of course you’re going to notice the gaps between yourself and the things you know and other people and the things they know. The best part about this whole thing is that when you see the gaps between yourself and others, hopefully you’ll be inspired to grow and develop yourself to reach the point the people around you seem to be at in terms of knowledge and expertise, maybe even surpass them. The only thing to be careful about at that point would be to make sure you don’t become the smartest person in the room since that’s boring and ill-conducive to continuous learning and growth 🙂