Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'm an example how this myth can destroy you. I was programming for 6 years in normal projects and I thought I was not talented. I left job, came to research degree. Now I realized I'm terrible at maths and advanced algorithm techniques. I think about going back but since it has been 3 months I haven't worked in a company, I feel I am a very bad programmer and no one will hire me. I'm depressed and paralyzed. All I do all day is look into HN and read articles, think how all these people are talented and I'm so dumb.

I think fridek's suggestion is a great one. I'm not about to suggest that you are lazy or not hardworking. However, you seem to be going down the same path both myself and my sister have. You see the way your peers are doing and you feel unaccomplished by comparison. You feel that you need to catch up but can't, and so you don't take the effort to do so.

I went through the same problem with LinkedIn some years back. I'd start making connections with high school/university/'social circle' chums who were 'already' working at Microsoft and Deloitte and IBM and the New York Times and thinking I was worthless for 'still' being in school.

I've had the pleasure of touching base with some of these folks as they've come back into town over the years and it was so striking to hear some of their frustrations about their careers, and how they were feeling unaccomplished compared to some of their peers and forebears. Moral of the story: perceptions are not reality, and the perception that you are worthless will only hurt your productivity because you will feel that investing time into bettering yourself is not worth it. It's not a race.

There is more worth in a dumb but hard-working person, than in a smart and lazy one. Too many people strive to be the smartest around but few try to work hard and consistently.

I can't be a judge of how smart you are, but being hard-working is a choice you can make. Blocking HN is a good start.

> I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.

- Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

The same quote is often attributed to Napoleon and probably suits the army well. There is also a world of a difference between enthusiastic and hard-working. I'd say being energetic falls into the same bucket as being smart (lets call it 10x things), whereas working steadily or being careful and methodological into the other, of things useful for building larger structures.

How about just apply for a job? Most of us have those doubts but we get by just fine. If you're suffering from depression you should seek professional help.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact