When I first started learning to code, I was both thrilled and scared. I was thrilled because I wanted to learn and do something both meaningful and profitable and I was scared because a part of me didn’t believe it could be done. To be more accurate: a part of me believed that I couldn’t do it, not someone else.
All the talk about the experts, ninjas and such made me sure I had already missed the train to Hackerville, me being a slightly directionless 25-year-old at the time. So, in order to compensate for my “late start”, I decided to learn a lot, attend all lectures and study hard for the exams. Despite the fact it started paying off almost instantly and I was getting some results, I was still deeply convinced of my position being somewhat behind others. (Will write more on that in a later post.)
Then, luckily, I’ve stumbled upon the term “impostor syndrome”. It is best if I quote Wikipedia:
“Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”
I was mindblown, to use the now popular term. Literally. It was probably the second* most important event that helped me through feeling lousy. Not the existence of the imposter syndrome itself, but the understanding of what the problem actually is. And I knew, finally, I wasn’t alone. Someone else wrote it, said it, experienced it and wanted to help others. (*The first event being coming to terms with lack of self-confidence. You can read more on that in the next post.)
Is it just me? No.