“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
You feel less like an imposter when you realise that nobody is perfect. You can embrace your imperfections and be satisfied with who you are today.
As a side note, this "Ask HN" question is one of the many reason I enjoy reading HN. It's a vulnerable question that has provoked several honest and thoughtful answers. It's not a "Top 10 way to overcome imposter syndrome" blog post...there's no link baiting or profit to be made. I suspect that asking the question will go along way to making the OP feel a lot better...it's tough to feel like an imposter when the response from the community is so positive.
Another book that sounds similar is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019MMUA8S). I don't know exactly how it compares to The Gifts of Imperfection as I haven't read the latter. The former talks about how you aren't as special as you have been told and how that's not only perfectly okay, but really freeing.
You learn to forgive yourself once you get over yourself. Stop acting like you can be some perfect being and have a happy life if you just: earn lots of money, get that fancy car, get married, etc. They won't make you happy in and of themselves.
The same goes for your career, too. Some things are going to suck and that's okay. You can't fix everything and "you only have so many fucks to give". You have to constantly decide what to give a fuck about and stop giving a fuck about things you don't. That last part sounds redundant, but can be hard to actually do.
That reminds me of this: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/11/the-cook-and-the-chef-musks-s...
Especially this diagram: https://28oa9i1t08037ue3m1l0i861-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-...
I like to be the dumbest person in the room, I force myself into situations where my ego is starved so I can grow from the inside and learn at a deeper level. I'm currently learning Framer and React hoping to reapply to YC in the fall, I got rejected for Summer 2017.
Thanks a lot, this thread is something I'll refer to a lot. I want to respond to every reply but I just can't because of 'you're commenting too fast. slow down!' You're right about HN being the most helpful place for me. It's amazing how supportive this community is to anyone who is sincere.
Nobody is perfect. Online social lives are skewed; if that's your metric.
I like to embrace the fact that I "have so much to learn".
When you look at someone successful, you think "wow, that person is amazing, look how great they are!" But do you think they feel that way about themselves? Idolisation is something you can do to someone else, but, unless you have very severe narcissism, not to yourself.
So, much the same way you can't write a book that gives you the feeling of reading a book, or create a product that gives you the feeling of using a product, you won't ever feel about yourself the way you feel about the people you look up to. You're getting the process confused with the output.
There is one exception, which is that if you surround yourself with people who idolise you, you can see it a bit reflected in their eyes. Most of the people who do this don't seem very happy, though. Probably best to just give up on ever feeling like you've made it and instead learn to enjoy the endless process of getting there.
This thread is full of so much applicable wisdom.
"A Cup of Tea"
> Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
It helps to get used to being terrible at something at first. Every few years I pick up a different sport and there is that period where I am the worst person in the gym/on the team, etc. With practice, you simply get good at being bad at something, if that makes any sense.
I'm really passionate about exploring the outdoors, photography (landscape and wildlife), writing about self-actualization, learning about history (reading '1491' right now).
I've been helping two people I know with building a business online, one is a dog clothing company and the other is a film composer from NYU. I hope to scale this into an agency where I can work remotely while helping interesting people becoming financially independent doing what they love. It adds fulfillment to my life knowing I have skills to help them.
This thread has helped me so much, I don't even know how to thank the community. :)
I've been trying to lose some weight, and one of the first things I moved to do was drop drinking (as most resources on weight loss will tell you to do). It was very tough to do because I love my beer. I found the process was making me miserable.
Sure if I leave the beer out of the equation my calorie deficit would grow, but including some beer still keeps me at a deficit regardless so that I still am losing 2-3 lbs a week, and very much happier all the while then if I was losing more and more quickly.
edit: except for the smoking. That's a slippery slope.
Every now and then, I indulge in some ice cream or some sushi. Slow progress is better than no progress. I know I am better off without alcohol, weed, or tobacco though.
You can know vastly more about something than average people without developing and projecting a sense of superiority over them. That's actually something pretty much every professional ought to do with regards to whatever their profession is.
Also, if the cup was filled with rat urine before, how much tea would be wasted before you considered it replaced enough to drink?
Analogies only go so far.
I am starting to view it more as a power. "You cannot learn what you already think you know". Having imposter's syndrome means I always will fight harder to get better.
I like to always remind myself 'in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few'.
The novice thinks twice before doing something stupid
You might not realise it, but there are great benefits to being new in your field. When you are not steeped in the conventional wisdom of a given profession, you can ask questions that haven't been asked before or approach problems in ways others haven't thought of. It's no surprise, for example, that some of the best research ideas I get as a professor come from undergraduate students with little previous experience.
Read more at https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/07/embrace-the-advantage-...
outside of your own moral and ethical values and the rules of Law we are free to do as we please, largely without consequence.
By realising this you allow yourself to question the norm and start to understand how to change it
A while after that he started to realize that his supervisor just absolutely didn't have a clue with how to supervise the shifts, the lines, etc. And on up the mgmt chain, he slowly realized nobody really knew what they were doing.
I think this is especially true of management at all levels and most professional workers, aka knowledge workers. There really isn't a "book" or a how-to for this type of work. If you have some skills and knowledge of how to acquire more skills, you are good. Just don't be afraid to admit, at least to yourself, that you don't know something but then seek to learn whatever it is that you don't know.
1) You just got your first job and you are right out of school. They call you a "programmer" or "analyst" etc, but you don't know the profession or business and don't know what you're capable of. You'll outgrow it by hard work and learning.
2) The feeling many experts have after a long career that "any smart person could do this if they had the time and inclination". It's usually not true (because they overestimate capabilities of others, assuming they are like them), but I think it feeds into the humility you often see among the truly capable.
3) People who have remunerative yet non-productive jobs where you can get paid lots of money but your production is very abstract or secondary or even tertiary (or worse) to your direct output. This is the kind of person who talks about imposter syndrome at TED talks.
I have to think that what we call "imposter syndrome" is, in at least 25% of cases, and extremely useful internal guide that you need to step up your output. The solution is to do work where the direct output is something useful.
Psychology has some terminology for this: cognitive distortions, and in particular, minimization and magnification. Whether it's due to upbringing, environment, what have you, some large number of people tend to discount their successes and zero in on whatever they see as their flaws or failures.
The field of CBT is one way to work with this. I particularly like the book "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman, which talks about how the stories we tell ourselves about success and failure lead to happiness / optimism or depression / pessimism. He also talks about some of the research that's been done to help change peoples' explanatory style.
This + meditation has been helpful to me, as well as trying to take other peoples' positive feedback to heart more, rather than discounting it as politeness.
Also, although I think it can be helpful to produce things, I feel like your advice can feed into the story of "not doing enough," even if they are. There probably are some people who feel this way because they're actually not doing much, but I feel like a lot of the people on this site are more likely to be the types with unrealistically high standards whose problems are not their output, but their perception of their output.
On that note, spending less time on HN and more time with friends / family / doing other things you enjoy can also be helpful, as it helps to diversify your identity.
I think you're onto something here. Some cases, at least, are less a feeling that you don't belong there, and more a feeling that you're not performing as well as you know you can.
Everyone understands the vast amount of information we must learn and known one expects you to know it all. Don't interview for a job looking for an expert at something you know the basics about.
I think imposter syndrome comes feeling insecure about not fully understanding things. The only way you can be an imposter is to act like one. People will respect you for saying, I'm not sure, let me go look into that.
Our job isn't to know everything. It is to a be a badass at quickly figuring things out. Focus on learning how to quickly find answers and solve problems and not being a master at everything.
It has taking me decades of mastering everything to realize how much time I wasted. I hire people half my age now who can do as good of a job as I can. Some of them are afraid and can't seem to get things done. They feel in over their head and shut down.
Other people come in and they know a few things but, don't understand others. The are confident they can learn everything and don't freak out. They quickly become ninjas in many areas simply because they aren't afraid and not trying to fake it.
After interviewing well over 100 Devops recruits I can tell what type of person they are 90% of the time in interviews. I don't look for an expert at one thing. I look for people with some experience with some tech we use. People who can stay at a job more than 2 years and, people who have shown they can master a few complex systems.
The biggest things I'm seeing in this thread is I should make meditation a stronger habit, it will help me focus on the task at hand and not let my mind take me out of 'beginner's mind', the state of mind where learning/building are most effective.
Also- understand that there is a big difference between competency and imposter syndrome. A lot of young people confuse the concepts.
Competency means you knows the limits of your knowledge. Expertise means you know one thing exceptionally well. It is easy to stumble into competency- and people around you will mistake it for expertise. When this happens, you will feel like you are impostering. This is because you know the subject well enough to recognize the inaccuracy of your celebratory peers.
Be calm and be patient.
Even if you're considered a relative expert on a particular topic or subject, there is usually no end to learning more about it. That's the humbling beauty of learning. Just stay curious and stay interested. Losing your ego in regards to your knowledge (rather, your lack of knowledge) feels pretty good and reduces that pressure you may feel now.
I'm getting more into Zen Buddhism at the moment and 'beginner's mind' is the closest state of mind to enlightenment. Experts often struggle the most because of the weight of their ego.
Alternatively, try picturing what you would do to train people for the work you do. Think about people you know (even marginally) that are in the same field as you, and then try to figure out who could do as good of a job as you, or identify what they would have to learn. It's in scenarios like this, you realize just how much you know - not just about your particular job, but about your field in general.
On the flip side, you really don't want to be irreplaceable, and if you find yourself doing a lot of work because you think it will take longer to explain the task than to do it yourself, then you've got other problems to work on.
Also, I refuse to believe the hype about almost anyone that people believe to be great programmers. There's usually a facade and glaring holes in their knowledge.
When stuff is difficult to do technically for me, I like to complain about it. It makes me feel better and forms comraderie with my colleagues. If it's hard for me, it's probably hard for everybody. And if not then there's some sort of trick that they know and I don't. An example of this is when the c++ compiler gives pages of indecipherable output for using the wrong type in a template argument.
These were a very important step for overcoming a large part of my imposter syndrome. Critical. Later, mentoring junior devs, representing my team in meetings, conducting interviews, doing deeper research into my domains and spreading that knowledge have all helped to reduce my feeling of being an imposter. Knowing that it is ok to not know everything, to ask questions and for help, and to strive to close those gaps. But all this, for me, paled in comparison to the 360 reviews.
It's not overtly detailed but helps a bit. Basically surround yourself with a community of people who try to accomplish what you do, IRC is really good for this, so is Reddit and even HN. Try to help those new to whatever field you're in and you'll find yourself being useful to others and more capable than you thought. If you cannot teach someone else, you cannot learn. Another thing and I guess it depends where you work / study is don't be shy about asking for help. Communication is your most powerful asset, use it.
A more robust way to get self esteem is to get it from multiple sources. E.g. Volunteering has helped me a lot. Coaching others some coding skills reminds me that I actually do know a lot.
Also I think the thing that will help the most is to be less tech focused. Meet up with family and friends more. Exercise with others.
 It's important to realise, understand, and then accept that you will never be the one who knows everything the best. But accepting that you can move on, relax, find joy in doing what you do. And funnily in doing that you actually may be again one that knows better.
Is it surprising, then, that many of the most accomplished individuals still have the imposter syndrome ? It is a cognitive tradeoff: the price you pay for the ability to never stop improving is feeling a little weird about yourself.
Lots of good suggestions here, but one I don't see is to simply narrow your scope. Choose one thing, make it your own. Keep it small, and soon you will find you can converse with that niche's recognized experts. Iterate on that theme and you will constantly expand your scope - in a few years you'll look back and realize you know a lot of things.
Tech could stand to take a cue from other disciplines. To his peers, a physicist is not just a physicist - she's nuclear physicist with a focus in particles, or a biophysicist with a focus in computational molecular modeling. Tech has the same de facto specialization, we're just changing too fast for the taxonomy to stabilize and become vernacular.
If you were as good as you'll ever be how would you improve? How would you stay interested in your life?
It's a long journey of small steps...
Being able to deliver with what you know and getting better is fun. If you really feel deficiency in a particular field that you want to improve, crack the books, ask for help, get peer feedback and set simple goals you can achieve.
Build on that and keep going.
It's not intelligence, per se, it's also tenacity, diligence, and practice that combine into satisfying feelings of improvement.
The old saying that "the best way to learn is to teach" has proven true for me time and again. It forces me to verbalize my knowledge, and if I'm unable to do that, it means I don't really understand it as well as I thought and have to return to Google or Stack Overflow until I can verbalize it.
Contributing to open source has been a great way for me to apprentice under those who know more than me. It forces me to read code until I understand it and can make improvements to it. And it forces me to justify the changes I'm making through thoughtful, well-documented pull requests.
Finally, remember that Hacker News will always make you feel like you have a ways to go on your journey. There will always be people out there who know more than you do, just as there will always be people out there who are richer / better-looking / etc. HN attracts lots of technically-minded people, including those who are in the top 0.1% of their field, and the posts those folks make naturally attract a disproportionate share of attention, comments, and upvotes. That creates a survivorship bias, since especially when you consider that most people like you and me (i.e. people who are still earning their stripes) tend to do more lurking than posting.
Litmus test: if you ever think you might be the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.
this is exactly why I spend more time on HN than reddit, I feel like the dumbest person in this room :)
I changed my role models and my goals. 5 years ago I used to aspire to be a well respected member of a software community - speaking at conferences, writing think pieces on Medium, being widely retweeted. Now the people I admire are entrepreneurs, creators and builders. Doers not talkers and tech pundits.
If you make that change you might find yourself spending so much time thinking about your goals that imposter syndrome won't even cross your mind.
When Walter Chrysler brought his son into the company, rather than starting him off in an executive position, Chrysler gave him a menial job in the basement of the Chrysler building (some say cleaning). Then he had to work his way up. As a result his son was a much better leader than some of the other auto industry heirs.
I've done this personally: you have to sacrifice a few months in a lower position than you deserve in order to master the nuts and bolts.
Minimize ego and whining, do more.
Everyone puts pants on one leg at a time.
Set a good example and don't be a d1ck.
But even better: share your feelings with a group of your peers. You'll find that they can all relate, and that you're not alone. The antidote to shame is (healthy) vulnerability.
Can you provide a reference? I believe that I have met the best-of-the-best, and find I stack up as a very sad number two behind him. But, number two ain't bad, right? I'd like to understand the structure of this experience better - especially when it comes to providing guidance to my kids...
In my experience, sharing the (limited) knowledge I have gained has helped me realise I actually know more than I give myself credit for. Even if you're only six month ahead of another founder, you've got six months of knowledge to share. Share it, and you'll realise how much you've actually learned.
Prereq- Have significant money saved, so that you'll have breathing room and confidence if it doesn't work out. For me, not being beholden to a given job/client has given me the confidence to just do my best and not fret too much about how I'm perceived.
1. As an hourly consultant, imposter syndrome has been tough. When clients pay large bill rates for an expert in a certain area, they are looking for an expert. Whereas an employer might mentor you and help you learn, that's not what clients do. I'm not sure if I'm an expert or not, but being ~100% honest during the proposal and delivery phase gives myself mental acceptance. I just need to have the skills and experiences that I told them I have (which of course I do have)! If I recognize that those skills and experiences turn out not to be enough, I'll be 100% honest with myself and the client at that point as well.
2. Today, you are as good as you'll be today. Just do your best. If that's not good enough for your coworkers/clients/boss, then the opportunity is probably not right for you either.
3. Always be close to 100% honest with what you know and what you don't know. Most people overstate their skills, but it's usually pretty apparent. Being truthful makes you special.
4. For social, project management, communication decisions, etc I often think "What would a true professional do?" (maybe even substitute with someone amazing you've worked with). If you just do what the best person would do, others perceive you as that type of person.
There will always be smarter people. You probably overestimate how much most people actually know. I still very much feel imposter syndrome, but it hopefully doesn't affect too much in actuality.*
*I actually feel imposter syndrome writing this. WTF do I know about this topic?
I wrote about it here recently :
Any feeling of inadequacy can disappear if you sit back and think about stuff you've finished. Because it's finished. All the HN comments and soap boxing in the world can't match a finished work.
HN is a great place to daydream about the future. But most ideas here are months away from production in any meaningful sense, if they ever really see the light of day. Enjoy HN for what it is.
Take what you know, build the smallest possible functional thing you can and then improve on it quickly. Teach someone else. Then have them teach someone. Get away from being "the guy" as fast as you can. Being "the guy" is a good way to get stuck in a rut. Continuing to deliver on stuff in general is where you want to be.
Each project will be better than the one before. You will always remember everything that is wrong with all of them, and that's OK. Keep looking at new things and fold them into your projects when they make sense. Don't be afraid to goof around and not finish things in your free time. That's the equivalent of working out for your brain.
There are plenty of smart people who can critique all day or play around with clever ideas or tell you how to do what you're doing in some cooler or more pure way. Everything we love could have been done better, but we remember the folks who did them.
After 20 years, I've shipped over a dozen different products, probably over a hundred different versions - products that probably have affected 100s of millions of people (some of these products were libraries used in other big products). And, I've worked for four successful startups through three acquisitions. And, I still feel like an imposter. It sucks.
Everyone is different. I wasn't granted the confidence gene, unfortunately. So, I've just had to fake it. I still fake it.
I may be clueless, but at least I have tried many things. Some even worked!
This is so true, and can be extrapolated on a micro-level, by tracking what you learn and accomplish on a daily (or whatever) basis.
I've found training your attention this way a great hack for building confidence and momentum. It's kind of like watching a plant grow. You normally don't notice all the little things, until it adds up to magic.
Shameless plug, but one thing I'm proud of building was a micro-notes app for tracking these micro-accomplishments. https://www.bicycl.com
I guess I should lower my standards a little and just allow myself to look a little foolish just to keep progressing. I'm not Mark Zuckerberg, there is nothing wrong with that.
Ship, learn, iterate.
I should put a LOT less pressure on myself and just focus on the process. Reading through this thread tells me I need to adjust some of my underlying beliefs about intrinsic/extrinsic motivation.
Don't put the weight of the world on your shoulders. Usually, when working on a team, your personal successes or failures don't make or break the project. Also keep in mind that your teammates also have their personal successes and failures. You'll carry each other.
I also freely admit that I don't know everything or even most things, so I don't worry about that. If I need to learn about something I know that that's something I can do.
I do have a solution if one is experiencing "imposter syndrome" in a particular domain: have a mentor. The mentor will help you measure the extent of your knowledge. If the mentor says, "That looks/sounds good to me," then you cast the research into the big scary world and sit with those "imposter" feelings knowing they are false positives.
Eventually you learn to measure your knowledge without reliance on the mentor, and the "imposter" feelings lessen.
If not you, then who? If there were someone better positioned for the role in which you feel an imposter, then you wouldn't be there. There probably are people who are smarter than you are who _could_ take the role. But they're doing something else. Why? Probably because they are actually better suited for some other challenge. And why bother with a role which isn't a challenge? It's better to vacate and allow someone who will actually learn something rather than tread the same tired ground. If we don't move, we die.
How do you know that you aren't well suited? If you feel you aren't suited for the role then your sense of value is probably out of whack. That's probably because you aren't seeing the game for how it really is. And that's fine because we all start out there.
Org charts don't tell you who the actual influencers are within the org. An org chart might tell you that Bob is the person to go to for making decisions. But people who work there know that Bill is the person you go to for really getting things done (maybe Bob is a lame duck, incompetent or just doesn't care).
Written rules create structures which have solid walls but also holes, leaks, cracks and open spaces. We tend to focus on the physical structure. But just as important is the unintended uses of that structure. The rules are important for what they say, but also important is what they _don't_ say.
Just the same, we're probably not understanding our value. We are looking at the wrong targets. By the time we do figure out the game, we'll likely move on and let some other imposter take our place.
That's good. Better to keep us on our toes. I would rather be on a plane flown by a tense inexperienced crew than a lethargic overconfident crew. While we're on the subject, there has been a history of plane crashes which could have been avoided if the inexperienced crew members were more vocal in pointing out problems to their superiors. They kept quiet because they suffered from imposter syndrome.
Just be helpful. You wouldn't be there if someone didn't think you could help. If there are smarter people working with you, then it's probably the people who hired you. Trust their decision to hire you.
- Concentrate on problems and how to solve them. Ask questions. Do research.
- Think of yourself as a professional providing a professional service to the best of your knowledge and abilities. Sometimes you don't have all the answers.
Remember: your job as a professional is to not worry about yourself or what others think of you.
Wait oh shi
However in a healthy team you get pats on your back from boss / colleagues and soon outgrow the syndrome. Persistent syndrome means there's something very wrong in team dynamic / boss. Change jobs until you find accepted and the syndrome will disappear.
Trust me when I say most "innovation" -- aka the stuff you might not understand right away -- is really just a re-hashing or re-packaging of something that's been done before.
Getting "up to speed and being current" doesn't require first-mover advantage. Use your work ethic to learn something when you need.
Confidence will follow :)
Don't look at it like that. Everyone will have a something to learn every single day, even based on the HN front-page. It's not that you're an impostor if you have something to learn from HN. If you don't think you've got something to learn, that's just delusion.
1. You're not an imposter and you're just over estimating the competition.
2. The competition is better than you and you are in imposter.
3. This is all a proxy for something else.
It's hardly a partition of all possibilities but it may help you to work by exclusion, and at least under stand what it's not.
Maybe I am a fraud, maybe I'm not. I've been at this for almost 25 years now and nobody has outed me; Either I'm not a fraud or I'm very good at being one. In either case, yay me!
This doesn't always mean that you're an expert if you feel under-confident (I wish that were the case haha). But it might mean you're moving out of the true beginner quadrant and into journeyman status.
1. Work together with awesome people who can reflect you. Now that I'm working together with world class founders that I fully trust and we're doing regular feedback sessions with each other, I can take confirmation of my abilities much more serious from them than from anyone else.
2. Practice self-love and compassion. No, really. I'm serious, there's a ton of studies about this. Get a therapist. Best thing I've ever done for myself.
3. If you compare yourself all the time with others, that's okay - but do so fairly. People like us love choosing the best ones worldwide for comparison and that does nothing but inflict useless pain. Instead, take the next 10 of [insert your job title here] that you can think of and compare yourself with them. If you compare favorably with at least half, you're average already (which means you're not an impostor).
4. Keep this diagram in mind: https://twitter.com/rundavidrun/status/587671657193455616
Big part of impostor syndrome is devaluing the stuff you already know (but others don't) since it's "common knowledge". If someone else appears to know more than you, they're probably just as smart as you are. If they know as much as you do, they're certainly less able.
5. Fake it 'till you make it. Citing http://www.defmacro.org/2014/10/03/engman.html here: "Believe in yourself. You can’t lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse."
6. Ask yourself better questions. Tony Robbins once quipped: "Your brain is a computer and it will try to answer any question you give it. You may not like the answer though." So instead of asking yourself
7. Success definitely helps, but it doesn't cure. It's also the hardest to come by as there's some luck, good timing and great people involved along the way, so work mostly on the other things instead.
8. If you still think you're an impostor, rest assured you're in good company. We impostors are pretty smart people. Frank Abignale passed his bar exam without cheating and Ferdinand Waldo Demara successfully operated on people as an untrained surgeon. :)
I think by now I'm 50% done with that topic, and as `hajak` wonderfully put it - don't worry too much about it, it's not just a curse, there's good sides about it too.
EDIT: Slightly amended the list and copyediting
Also college drop-out, former CTO of what was a successful start-up.
- Lao Tzu | Tao Te Ching
Nothing says 'well, I am shit hot' when you can fix everybody else's shit.
A lot of people on HN grew up in wealthier families, and perhaps never had to work a manual labor job. If the average worker lifts 100 boxes per day, you just have to lift 100 boxes and you know you are doing the work correctly. You deserve to be there.
In manual labor, you never have imposter syndrome if you are doing the work right. Why? It's extremely easy to mentally calculate your benefit to the company and compare it to your fellow workers.
After a day of doing manual work, you always feel refreshed and come home satisfied.
Software on the other hand is much more conceptual, and it is much harder to determine if your input is up to par.
To fix this, you need to figure out goals and milestones with your manager that you can work to reach and exceed - ask your manager what you can do to be in the top 25% of employees, and get a concrete list of features/bugs/etc. on a timeline from your manager for you to complete.
The long version of this is "acquire any non-mainstream skill to a degree most will never match." Once you know something well that most people think is impossible, incomprehensible, or just too much work, your viewpoint changes.
"I picked up this skill people say is hard, but it's really not. It's just another thing to learn," is an amazing antidote to imposter syndrome. It shows you that you can learn anything, and that includes whatever you still need to learn for the job at hand.
If people can't comprehend what you're doing, it's often because that's not their job. It doesn't have to be hard to be incomprehensible. A large code-base built in the most simple language is incomprehensible to the person who hasn't put in the time to crack open some files.
The value in code is in getting customers to pay for the product and for you to be a good person on the team. That means you are engaging (meaningful connections) with your team and with the customer. You don't do that by working in a silo in a world in which nobody can communicate with you. Better to concentrate on delivering value.
Learning to write incomprehensible code is not the answer to impostor syndrome. You are immersing yourself in one rabbit hole when you should be putting time into better understanding your impostor syndrome (your emotions). That rabbit hole is a fear response and an attempt to gain a sense of control over your environment. Instead, you should be doing the opposite, embracing uncertainty and the impostor syndrome.
And love your team. Code so that everyone can join in. Even if you feel the tools which allow this are inferior.
Though if you could tickle my fancy and go back and read it again, the context is "doing as much work as others" (lifting 100 crates). Which is a positive thing. So you "deserve" to keep your job.
I wonder what is it you'd do if they told you in person, that you can't do online?
Nobody said that he was justified in such a belief. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition: “Impostor 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’.”