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Dealing with Imposter Syndrome – Short 134


Bryan discusses impostor syndrome, what it is, and how it may actually be useful for us.

When we feel that we’re frauds and that others wouldn’t like to be led by us if they knew how much we don’t know, we’re experiencing impostor syndrome. Contrary to what others might believe, impostor syndrome isn’t all that bad and may even be necessary for a healthy self-image.

On the other side, we have the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is when people are confident in the things they have very little actual knowledge of. They think they’re experts and close themselves off to other sources of knowledge. On the other side of the Dunning-Kruger effect spectrum, true experts are acutely aware of what they still don’t know. We would be wise to know what the edges of our knowledge are and give others a chance to share their expertise when we reach those limits.

When people learn more about a subject, they become much more aware of what they don’t know. Wisdom comes from knowing what you don’t know. However, if you feel that feeling of inferiority, you can still share the knowledge you have while seeking feedback and deferring to others who know more than you. (That’s especially true of Bryan, who has a summary knowledge of industrial refrigeration and defers to others who know more about it.)

In the end, we’re seeking authenticity and self-awareness. Rather than avoiding impostor syndrome, we can embrace it and understand how it can lead to self-awareness, wisdom, and especially self-improvement. “Fake it till you make it” can only help you up to a certain point.

 

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