Imposter Syndrome - Perception versus Reality — R Voice

Imposter Syndrome - Perception versus Reality

Dahlia T
Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭
edited March 24 in Self-care & Wellbeing

Although there were parts of this article that did not sit well with me, in general I found it to be an intriguing read. This extract in particular made me pause for a bit to reflect on my own situation. I started asking myself questions such as (1) How much of what we 'think' is actually our 'reality'?, (2) How much do we allow our thoughts to become our realities?, (3) How can go against and possibly turn the tide, using those feelings to improve rather than allowing them to incorrectly author all our present moments?

...Tewfik posits that one of the main definers of imposter syndrome is a gap in how individuals perceive their own competence compared to how competent they actually are. Tewfik wanted to find out how that perceived competence gap might impact on imposters’ careers – both in terms of the quality of their work and their social standing among colleagues.


You can access the full article here https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210315-the-hidden-upside-of-imposter-syndrome

I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

Comments

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 23

    @Dahlia T wow...guess our interests in articles are similar. I posted about the same article here a few days ago. 😅

    Your thoughts/questions instigated by the article are interesting. Might I recommend - thinking Fast and slow -by Daniel Kahneman...and Dan Airely's works? (Predictably irrational....for instance). They may offer interesting answers to your interesting questions.

    From what I understand, our thoughts are not ours (most of the time). Well...advertising, propaganda, news cycles, politics, watching people buy, sell, negotiate and bargain with each other amidst all this in social settings...almost as if by Pavlovian conditioning.....tells us as much. But this reality is unpalatable to our fierce fervent worship of freewill and worse, individual power and choice - the shaky base on which individualism and capitalism - the pervasive social structure of our current world - is built.

    (Many of our "choices" are not our choices really, and freewill is probably a myth existing in our collective imagination...just like nation states or our collective belief that pieces of paper have value.

    If we stop believing in freewill collectively....shit will hit the fan...because we have built a society where individuals supposedly have choice, power and therefore responsibility. If we stop believing pieces of paper have value or nation states exist...wow!🤣 imagine what will happen if all three happen together😅.)

    Anyway....it seems that the actual reality based on actual facts have very little to do with our thoughts on reality. Sadly (or not?), we all seem to make a lot of decisions based on our thoughts on reality, rather than actual reality. Consequence: current state of affairs in the world of humans. Including that of yours truly. Also, part of reality. 🤣

    I don't want to get you depressed any more with my convoluted and depressing opinions on reality about the reality. 🤣

    I'm curious, which parts of the article didn't sit well with you.

    (My own views on the article...are in my post. 😊 )

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    Hi there @Raj sundaram , I can't believe I missed your post!! I was searching around for a bit to see if someone else had started a thread but I guess I missed yours. I followed your link and I see you had posted in self-care & wellbeing. Lol, I thought about posting there but then I was like ' hmm, I don't know if that is the best category' ha ha ha, so I ended up in everything and anything. Anyway, you know what, maybe the double posting is supposed to be a continuous yet gentle reminder about important things we keep forgetting. You know simple truths like, you belong at the table or you got to the table because you have what it takes/something to contribute or stop comparing your sense of worth based on that other person at the table etc etc.

    As to which parts did not sit well with me. How about we start with,

    Imposters have perfectionist tendencies, harbouring a secret need to be the very best at what they do. When they are unable to fulfil their perfectionist goals, “imposters often feel overwhelmed, disappointed, and overgeneralise themselves as failures”. A cycle thus emerges in the workplace that causes imposters to forbid themselves from accepting positive feedback on their work.

    To say I get upset at utterances like these is to say the least. This whole 'perfectionism' statement is a common explanation that is often passed around and I wish more people would stop to think and truly explore the breadth and depth of the foundations of imposter syndrome. Personally, I am tired of people telling me I should stop trying to be a perfectionist. One of my core values is, if you are going to do something do it well and do it to the best of your ability. This often gets misconstrued for 'perfectionism' and I sometimes want to tell people to stop trying to apply those psychology terms to everything ...because while many things may be similar, they are not necessarily the same nor do they have the same underlying cause. The reasons underlying imposter syndrome require deeper digging. Can we start talking about the environment in which we find ourselves and how that is contributing to this imposter syndrome? Can we start exploring/explore more the gender related issues ...even more so the racial/ethnic ones? How about that glass ceiling ...?

    ...I think I will pause my tirade for a moment 🙄

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    Dear Dahlia,

    This touched me when I was reading your last comment and I totally agree with you,

    "One of my core values is, if you are going to do something do it well and do it to the best of your ability. This often gets misconstrued for 'perfectionism' and I sometimes want to tell people to stop trying to apply those psychology terms to everything ...because while many things may be similar, they are not necessarily the same nor do they have the same underlying cause"

    Giving our best shot and dedicating our precious time on assigned tasks to make it successful or wonderful does not mean perfectionism. We are doing so because we enjoy the process than the results it might yield which brings back the happiness and contentment that is worthy of having.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 27

    @Dahlia T Yaay!!! Finally - I found someone who thinks like me. And I am going to continue your rant.

    Yes - I did not like this part of the article as well. But I set it aside a bit (forgivingly) because at least this article pointed out the upside of "imposter syndrome" unlike most other resources out there hell bent on driving away all reasonable self-doubt and less-than-happy-emotions. I completely agree with your take on perfectionism. Indeed - part of the problem is that the term "perfectionism" pathologizes effort that goes into doing a job properly, relatedly also indirectly extoling biting a chunk here and another there in the name of multitasking. The rest of the problem with "imposter syndrome" and "perfectionism" is purely systemic, I think.

    I believe much of imposter syndrome and "perfectionism" (especially amongst students) stems to poor mentoring. Because most students dont know what is required of them. Mentors dont have the time to clarify this. And half the time - mentors themselves are clueless - not out of lack of intelligence - but because the system's requirements ARE vague and gives them very little time to do things like mentoring, or even thinking! This is why many students/postdocs/academics for instance try to write the BEST/a GOOD paper - where BEST/GOOD does not mean anything! And then - the whole thing devolves into - lets us just get this thing good enough to be published - somewhere. Because our jobs and futures are on the line! Of course, dissatisfaction is the end result.

    This is also why "do your best without eyeing the results" is great advice but doesnt work in the real world. Because the system gages and rewards only "results". Worse - it punishes if academics miss the arbitrary - unknown - unknowable - moving goals assigned. For instance, what is a good thesis? What is a good paper? What is a good CV for a job? How many papers in what journals make one qualified to compete in the job market or land a job? How many awards? How much of networking? What qualifies as a good network? What is the requirement for tenure? Most academics are lost and shooting blindly around. Except those who got lucky with a billion favorable factors lining up - in addition to intelligence and hard work (traits shared with the unlucky ones).

    To distill the issue even more - it all boils down to cut throat competition, too many Ph.Ds - too few jobs, and too much pressure and multitasking expected out of academics. A mere 30 years ago - this was NOT the case. And now - academics are blamed for being perfectionists just for trying to do what they would like to do/started out to do, are probably (hopefully) trained to do and are probably (hopefully) good at doing. Which is thinking deeply about something, trying out new things, coming up with conjectures, seeking proofs for and against, admitting and learning from mistakes, proving or disproving conjectures, and carefully conveying their learnings (with caveats) to the rest of the world. Many academics cant do this anymore. Because - teach, GET money, mentor students, GET more money, publish papers, publish MORE papers in higher impact journals, watch out for your H and I-indices, run your own company, consult, collaborate, go to conferences, answer emails, review papers, become journal editors, do mountains of paperwork....).

    Amidst all this - where is the time to do this thing called RESEARCH involving time to actually think, critically assess and create! Let alone ENJOY the process!

    In this whirlwind of "activity" for "productivity" to survive, it is natural that most end up doing a shoddy job of what they really wanted to/started out to do as passion. The system doesnt allow for the growth of expertise - but churns out managers and jacks of all trades, horrible work environments rife with over competition fostering a lack of empathy, fast-paced work (fueled by the rapid publication industrial complex) strewn with errors (and then people start complaining about poor reproducibility), overconfident risk taking with unwarranted certainties (which gets rewarded). Broadly, these are the issues with academia that lead to all consequences we are trying to discuss in this platform.

    Wait a minute....the description kind of sounds like a wall street firm. xD

    Probably, I am being too negative. I dont know. May be because it is Friday - it is 22:30 and I am tired. :D

    However, I think many academics WANT to do a good job, get upset when they struggle to or cant do a good job because of lack of guidance/support/time/energy. Of course, the natural reaction is self-doubt when one cant or struggles to get stuff done.

    Guess, this getting upset for legitimate reasons gets mislabeled as "imposter syndrome". The struggling/not getting the job done gets ascribed to "perfectionism". Spending time to actually get the job done properly also gets labelled as "perfectionism".

    Most guidance for imposter syndrome/perfectionism = "It is not the system (i.e., denial of the problem). Or the system cant be changed (i.e., refusal to address the actual problem).

    It is you...your feelings. Change/manage yourself and your feelings (i.e., pushing responsibility to individuals)"

    End result - Status quo maintained!

    Not so different from the following

    Problem: "I am depressed because I am poor because of terrible wealth distribution/have no meaningful social interactions in a social media fueled world of replaceable humans collected like stamps/fill in with any real life complex problem"

    Solution: "Take Prozac. Meditate. Start a gratitude journal."

    Rant to be continued - enough for a Friday. xD I am in my Eeyore mode.

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    @Isurika Sevwandi , when we finally find that place where a few voices start to speak a truth that seems so different from the other 'truths' we have been led to believe, how invigorating 🏌️

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram , I foresee many cups of chai in our future as we continue these talks ... perhaps some day some of them will happen in person, on a long hike in some far flung place off a beaten track 🌳🌳

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭

    Certainly @Dahlia T ! I think we vibe. And we'd be able to at the least tolerate if not enjoy each other's company and conversation on a long hike in the middle of nowhere. 🤣

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram PS: that mention of chai was related more to me being a convert and a lover rather than me assuming you like it he he he. Do you? The first time I had homemade chai was in 2005 and I was a very long way from home. I had chai before but never the homemade, awesome type ...and in a few words ' I fell in love' he he he. I have had it since but only once since then has been homemade again. I tried making it myself using a recipe I found online but I don't know ....something was missing :-)

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭

    @Dahlia T I'm not picky on beverages. 🤣 I can do chai and make some for you - we can test if my recipe matches your taste. Assuming that you are talking about homemade Indian chai...and not chai latte. Hehehe. I come from the south of India, where we are big on coffee. And South Indian coffee vs. coffees in the rest of the world is exactly like Indian chai Vs. Teas in the rest of the world.🤣 Flavour dial cranked up to 11 on 10.

    Ps. In my experience, Indian stuff is hard to replicate with only recipes....because a lot of knowhow is lost. Most of us learn cooking by watching and imitating, and under some really tough instructions from experts (moms, aunts and grandpas and grandmas). Recipes can't convey all information absorbed in that process. Most of us don't even know and can't verbalize the "x-factor"....it is embedded in the subconscious. 🙃

    Guess, all this is true for cooking any cusine. 🙂

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram, the first homemade chai I had was prepared by a friend I knew many years ago, named Jaya. She introduced me to the brew. It was made over the stove and her fingers moved so quickly I could not tell you what she put in it...he he he blind trust .. but I saw the spices and final product was delish :-) The second time I had it, it was slightly different. This time it was prepared by Nitya's mother, who was visiting from India. I cannot remember her exact region. Unfortunately, I have lost 'physical' touch with both Jaya and Nitya, life happened, including many moves but I never forgot how it felt to sip home brewed chai (tea really ...my lesson from Nitya who always commented on why people insist on ordering 'chai tea' when chai is tea he he he ) in the company of beautiful souls. That may be a part of the "x-factor" you mentioned. And you are so right about it being "true for cooking any cusine", as the best dishes we ever have are those prepared by people who just know the right amount of spices, the right kneading, just enough....with a lot of soul poured into it :-) Lol chai latte is what I would refer to as the 'poor cousin' to what I enjoyed ...but I do enjoy a bit of it every now and then.

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2

    @Dahlia T Haha..."unverbalized knowhow embedded in the subconscious" is I guess...kinda.....part of "the soul". 🙂

    Really, if you start a blog, I'm going to be a regular!! Awesome story about chai.

    And hope we can at one point of time have a beverage, hopefully nice hot chai, with some yummy Indian snacks to nibble..... and converse about the soul, academia, life, universe, and everything. 🤗

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram ... about that blog 🗯️

    It is strange how different people come into your life, especially when you least expect it ... and they help you to fix your compass.

    I have been energised by you my friend and I sincerely hope your day is already full of sun rays!!

    I look forward to that 'chai & chat' with you, some day. "Chai & Chat" sounds like a snazzy title for that blog....what say you!!??

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭✭

    😂 "Chai and Chat" is an awesome blog title!

    Yep ! People have the power to alter our lives.

    [For good or worse. And yet - I feel in our DIY world, we are almost conditioned to nearly deny this with not so pretty consequences.....

    On the same topic...this talk awesomely brings out the power of what people can do to our lives.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2rG4Dg6xyI&ab_channel=TEDxTalks 😊]

    Lots of hugs🤗 and looking forward to reading your creations on "Chai and Chat"!

Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!