Reading Oliver Burkeman’s last advice column in decade-long series in The Guardian, I was struck by his advice on the imposter syndrome:
The solution to imposter syndrome is to see that you are one…Humanity is divided into two: on the one hand, those who are improvising their way through life, patching solutions together and putting out fires as they go, but deluding themselves otherwise; and on the other, those doing exactly the same, except that they know it. It’s infinitely better to be the latter (although too much “assertiveness training” consists of techniques for turning yourself into the former).
Remember: the reason you can’t hear other people’s inner monologues of self-doubt isn’t that they don’t have them. It’s that you only have access to your own mind.
There’s a tension between wanting to express yourself in something you enjoy and wanting to be publically good at it, even expert. The tension is worse now because of the declining role of real experts. How do we reconcile a genuine amateur’s desire to produce acceptable work with the expert’s hard-won skill and knowledge? Maybe it’s impossible to resolve except in the doing of the thing we enjoy, keeping Burkeman’s advice in the back of our minds. We’re all just winging it.