I thought this was just me. I spend a lot of time churning on this.
I'm a little shell-shocked at the revelation that others feel this way too. I wish I had something more compelling to contribute than catharsis, but... wow, thanks for (re-)submitting this.
The only thing that keeps me sane, really, is a combination of doing iphone development after hours and playing with arduino. It also helps that I have an amazing wife who is unrelenting in pointing out my accomplishments, however worthless I may think they are.
A list of Abraham Lincoln’s Failures:
- Lost job, 1832
- Defeated for legislature, 1832
- Failed in business, 1833
- Elected to legislature, 1834
- Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835
- Had nervous breakdown, 1836
- Defeated for Speaker, 1838
- Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843
- Elected to Congress, 1846
- Lost renomination, 1848
- Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
- Defeated for Senate, 1854
- Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856
- Again defeated for Senate, 1858
- Elected President, 1860
I wonder how well history would have judged him had he not been killed in office. Certainly some positive aspects, but we may have focused a bit more on his negatives (and he would have had more negatives in his life).
BTW, find and read "Lincoln the Unknown" if you can get your hands on it. VERY good read (imo).
It all worked out.
That's really it, isn't it? The whole thing just boils down to an odd, amorphous they capable of seeing straight through you if you happen to give them half a chance.
I wish I could understand the source of this better.
It's not rare at all among people I know, too, most of whom are way smarter than me.
I feel this way from time to time, I assume it comes from being self-taught and not always knowing what my peers know. Meditating helps, as does having a supportive SO.
“That woman was sexy… Out of your league? Son. Let women
figure out why they won’t screw you, don’t do it for them.”
Let customers find out if your product is shitty. They won't buy it if it is.
If you look at wall street traders, Fortune 500 CEO's and other populations that have been through intense selection processes you'll find very homogeneous populations.
If you look at entrepreneurs, you'll find confident people, anxious people, short people, tall people, thin people, fat people -- all kinds of people. That's because entrepreneurs select themselves rather than being selected by a bunch of people who want to select other people like themselves.
He shared that he's a born-again Christian and he's thought about faith is important in what he does, since you've never got any guarantee that a research project is going to be successful.
I'm a pagan, so I like the Japanese word "Haruhi" which means "full of spirit." (It's been popularized in the U.S. by a post-modern recent anime which I can't decide if I like or not.) But it's an important thing. For the idea I'm working on, I find that being "Haruhi" makes me invincible... I used to be a terribly anxious person but I believe in what I'm doing so much that nothing bothers me.
Quite funny, my business plan from the very beginning assumed that the system I was building would soon become more than the sum of it's parts, but I was quite amazed to see it happen... For me it's a miracle.
Actually it's the stuff I'm supposed to know how to do where I feel like a fraud, because I compare the imaginary progress of an idealized version of myself to what I've actually accomplished. When I'm handling one of these tasks from left field, everyone knows I'm winging it, and that makes success sweeter.
Nobody really knows what they are doing; they're just winging it, more or less.
That's not to mean extremely talented people aren't doing some amazing things, it means that there is no documented pattern to follow that once completed equals success. It also means that you can in fact be as good or better at every "expert" in your chosen field, and that many of the people reading this probably already are.
Everyone is using a blank piece of paper, and everyone is painting their own portrait their own way. Knowing how to both create demand and deliver a perceived value is much more valuable than whatever it is you are actually doing to deliver the product. There is nothing fraudulent about it. Every mechanic is a genius to a person that has never seen a car.
I worked out the other day that I've been doing this job for about 12 years. There's that whole 10,000 hours thing when it comes to being an expert, and I think I've put in several times that but I certainly don't feel like an expert in anything. If anything I keep expecting someone to turn up and point out blatant flaws in everything I say, but somehow it doesn't happen.
However, my skills continue to amaze my peers (who are all non-technical) and they think I'm a genius because I can build a web site with a login form, or register a domain name.
It's really hard to reconcile the two things, especially since, eventually I will be a 'real' programmer, but I still won't think I'm any good.
That being said, it drives me crazy when people call themselves an 'expert' in everything. Just because you read a book, and wrote a few blog posts doesn't make you an expert!
Or it does make you an expert, but "expert" doesn't mean what we think it means. ;-)
I tend to take self-professed "experts" with a grain of salt.
"Then, you get your Master's, and you realize you don't know anything."
"Then you get your Doctorate, and you find out that nobody knows anything."
Took me about 3 months to figure out why the java class I was taking was so screwed up. The professor had never seen Object Oriented Programming (or Java) before. He was staying one chapter ahead of the class and picking assignments that required his domain expertise to complete.
As annoying as it was to find out, I still learned a useful bit of Java. Took me years (and learning ruby) to actually grok objects correctly.
Not grasping OOP makes using Java a tad difficult.
They once sent out a sectionwide e-mail announcing a new mobile app development course. One of my coworkers responded with a "thanks, I need that badly!" to which, amusingly, he was told that he was to be the teacher!.
Edit: I have found that "The best way to learn is to teach" (attributed to Frank Oppenheimer) is quite true.
Every misstatement or generalization feels like a punch in the face as soon as it leaves the lips. Even worse, sometimes there's a person in the crowd who takes pleasure in calling out the "expert". Even after days of research and practice for a single hour long talk this person is what I fear the most.
Self-doubt can also make you a more likable person, especially if you are successful.
It's quite comforting, yet scary at the same time, to realise that the stuff you know you don't know is probably going to grow throughout your life, but that this is a good thing! Because it beats the hell out of not knowing what you don't know. Although I wonder if that would lead to a simpler life sometimes.
But, at whatever level, we all have to fight it for the rest of our lives. :)
Such a weird balance that a startup founder must create.
One day they'll expose me!
But ever since I became an entrpr I feel totally natural & confident in doing what I m doing. I guess its also about are you really you are totally passionate about. If yes - you are to absorbed in it that you dont have time for these things
Now, anyone has resources on overcoming this beyond just a few bullet points?
I wonder if it's the obsession with metrics that makes engineers act in such a self-deprecating manner? I know I certainly do this, too...
Am I missing something here? He says he feels like a fraud but if he's telling people something that he doesn't know to be true.. that's not 'imposter syndrome', it really is more like fraud.