Do You Have Imposter Syndrome?

Thanks to a Buzzfeed quiz, I learned about imposter syndrome this week. Wikipedia describes the syndrome as a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a  fear of being exposed as a fraud. Even though there is evidence of their accomplishments and competence, those with the syndrome chalk up their success to luck or something similar.

And when I read that I was like “holy shiz I definitely have that.” For pretty much my whole entire life, I’ve never really thought that I’ve deserved anything. I’ve done a lot of great things in my life and accomplished a lot, and all of those things have surprised me.

When I got into all of the colleges I applied to (granted, I didn’t really reach) I was genuinely shocked because up until that point I didn’t know I could do anything right. And in my first year of college I got a job as a tour guide and I was like what kind of magic did I bewitch on them for them to think I would actually be a good fit for this?

And then I got into my sorority and I was so confused that people actually liked me. And then I got a good internship and I graduated from college. I got a good job and then an even better job.

I thought it was either luck or (if I’m being honest) I’ve chalked A LOT of it up to being a decently attractive female. Yupp, I don’t really think I’ve deserved any of this but I’ve gotten by because I’m not that terrible to look at

And it’s such a toxic way to think. I’ve always been intelligent, even if I suck at school. I’m not great at coming out of my shell, but I am great at talking about the things I’m passionate about. I got really good grades in college and I learned a lot about myself and taught myself a lot about the field I work in. How could I think I don’t deserve any of this, that I’m a fraud?

I don’t think it’s rare, I don’t think anyone of us get the credit we deserve and we especially don’t give it to ourselves. But if we don’t, really, who will?

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Base Your Success On Your Happiness

Some people base their success on money. How much they’re raking in, how often they’re being promoted. Some people base their success on other people. How others react to them, how they impress people.

But really, you should base your success on your happiness.

Make goals. They can include getting promoted, making more money, impressing people – if that’s what’s going to make you truly happy. The little things should add up to one big thing. And that big thing is happiness.

You could tell me you’re an unhappy millionaire who is successful – but I wouldn’t believe you. People who aren’t continuously working towards happiness are ultimately working toward nothing, an empty shell of unsuccess.

The way you succeed at work, at home, socially, etc are very important. But those things shouldn’t be measured by anyone other than yourself. If something isn’t making you happy – change it for you. Not for someone else.

Your paycheck may make you unhappy. Your job title may make you unhappy. The way people react to you may make you unhappy. Your unhappiness is what is making you unsuccessful, not the materials or opinions of others.

Never stop being selfish when it comes to your happiness. And never forget that being happy should be a main goal. It’s easy to get caught up in your bank account or your fancy first impression – but neither of those things define who you really are. And none of those things will impress anyone on a deeper level. It shouldn’t even impress you.

Be impressed by your happiness in a world full of gloom and uncertainty. Base your success on the smile on your face and the warmth in your heart. Keep working towards and building that happiness – never give up.

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Succeeding In Today’s Schools

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I’ve resisted school ever since I was young. Waking up early only to sit at a desk for hours a day just didn’t make sense to me. I never put in my full effort. Not in middle school, not in high school, and not in college.  I paid attention as little as I needed to to pass the class.  I didn’t fail classes, I didn’t really even get C’s. But I never learned, either.

Everything in the school system is so dependent on grades and test scores rather than actually measuring how much a student is learning.

I don’t understand math, I never have and probably never will at this point.  Yet, I passed all of my classes because I bullshitted enough to get by for the quiz that week or haggled the answer out of my teacher by showing how much I was struggling.  Then we would start a new topic and it just seemed to me that I never had to learn what we were learning before anyway.  It was done and over with – I would never use it again.

The people who succeed, despite the school system failing them, are those who are completely motivated by learning.  They do it on their own time and they love it.  They don’t measure all of their knowledge based off what grades they’re getting in school or what their SAT score was.

I took plenty of classes in college that were appealing to me. I took plenty of classes in college that were poorly taught.  I can only name a few classes where I learned things that benefited my future and myself. The rest, I did the bare minimum and still got an A.  Professors don’t want to fail you, especially for a general education course.  How are we supposed to be interested in every prerequisite class thrown our way? How does anyone learn that way?  In the end, it didn’t really matter how much I actually knew to get my degree.  I got it because I passed my classes and kept my GPA up.

And you won’t get a job without a degree.  You won’t get a job without two years of sociology, psychology, literature, and ethics classes.  You won’t get a job if you don’t fake it till you make it enough in those classes to have a high GPA.

I can’t blame the people who aren’t consistently curious like I am, but the school system is completely failing these people because they are only motivated off of numbers that don’t even measure learning.  It’s not their fault, it’s the fault of those who are telling them that’s all you need to be successful in life – a 95 on a test, a 2300 on the SATs or whatever the SAT’s are scoring as high these days, a 4.0 GPA.

(If I end up being successful) I attribute it all to googling every question that popped into my head and reading articles until I was satisfied.  I attribute it to the countless books I’ve read since I was a kid, for fun and not because I was being forced to.  I attribute it to my 5th grade teacher who got me into creative writing, my 7th grade English teacher who became family, my high school history teachers who loved the world’s past, my New Media professors in college, and the few other random professors who just had a passion for what they were teaching.  The teachers who wanted to teach for our benefit and not their own.