Because you are a stupid idiot…so you shall die alone.
Impostor syndrome is a condition whereby someone is unable to internalise their accomplishments (borrowed from wikipedia), and do not feel like they belong to a group (often a profession, or award recipient etc.) It is a condition that affects scientific researchers quite heavily (given the nature of the profession which involves the brightest minds around the world)
Without a doubt, I (probably like a lot of people in science) feel I don’t belong. I look at my research as though it is trivial compared to others. I see my results and conclusions as obvious compared to the field. My analysis as simple. My publications as boring. My plans as overly complicated and my accomplishments as pure luck.
I look at my life as trivial. My accomplishments as luck, my existence as circumstance, my choices as obvious and safe.
Without a doubt, I feel as though I am an impostor as a human being.
I keep this blog purely for the purposes of expressing my thoughts. I have no qualms of its lack of readership. In fact I make no attempt at advertising this blog, even to my closest friends. That is because this blog carries my deepest thoughts (though I must admit, I have often filtered even those…).
The original plan for this blog was to write my most inner thoughts on any topic without reservation. An attempt to break down the walls I surround myself with. In the end, it merely showed that even shouting into the abyss, I hesitate.
Though, ironically, where I once started this blog because I hesitate to talk even to my friends. Now I find myself without anyone to talk to on most days. In fact, other than talking to myself, I find that, purely by circumstance, I do not need to speak to anyone at all. My job involves no colleagues, my employer (not exactly the correct them but meh…) is mostly away.
So in an attempt to shout into the wind abit more (for reasons I’ll elaborate in the next blog post), even if no one’s listening, I’ll try a new method of blog posting. Instead of forming full blog articles with thought out ideas. I’ll just blurt out what’s on my mind on a daily or weekly basis…kind of like vomiting onto the screen and not caring what it says.
We’ll see if this works…since I’ve tried this before and it failed after 1 or 2 posts…
There are some questions I’ve always feared asking, mainly because I’ve always feared knowing the answer.
Finally, I’ve thrown away my ego, swallowed my pride and stared down my fear and asked away.
The answer, like all answers in life it seems, was ambiguos. But this time I was prepared to up the risk. I realised once I started this bet, I would raise the bet till I won…or I lose everything.
For her, in this moment of madness…I’m no longer sure whether I’m crazy amidst a life of sanity or finally sane after years of insanity…
Perspectives are everything in life. It defines where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.
For example, I’m preparing to move to a totally new country, to join a totally new group of people, to study totally new topics in science. What should my perspective be on this?
I may say: Its an exciting time in my life. A brand new chapter in my career and a chance to further my dreams.
I may also say: It’s a desperate attempt to reignite a dying passion. A futile attempt to prolong the inevitable end to a career and a false hope that moving away from everything would give a new lease on life.
Another example: Hearing that one old boss is moving to a new job, another has acquired a large amount of funding,. Friends have all started families and some are developing business opportunities with support from those around them.
I may say: I’m extremely happy for them to have achieved greatness in life, and found happiness and direction and the support they need. This has inspired me to do the same with mine.
I may also say: Once again I get the opportunity to watch how others are prospering with a good amount of skill, effort and luck from a position of safety, while every decision I make seems to be a bet on everything that I have and more. I get to know how people have the support of those around them while I sit alone in an empty house.
So life is all about perspectives. The grass is always greener on the other side and other people always seem luckier. In the end, the solution is simple. Be who I am, do what I do, and go where I want to go and at the end of the day, look back and be happy about the road I travelled.
Yea yea, I know, it’s easier said than done…
August through Facebook posts
Aug 2008 – Joined Facebook. First post:”I’m losing the plot”
Aug 2009 – 90% of people are stupid on occasion. The other 10% are stupid all the time.
Aug 2010 – Ahh!!! screw you SAXS……
Aug 2011 – funny how I’ve needed more days off in the last year than the last 24 yrs combined…..actually it ain’t so funny….
Aug 2012 – new group. More alcohol ^_^
Aug 2013 – Q: How’s your research going? A: It’s going…
I’ve been in admiration of a certain Internet company called Roosterteeth for many years. In 10 years, they’ve grown from a hobby for 4 guys in a spare bedroom on nights after work to a company of 70 people, all during one of the biggest financial crisis in US history.
This year, in the 4th iteration of their annual convention, Burnie, the ( now retired) company CEO gave a talk on success, specifically on the Internet. He made many key points, but one resonated with me especially deeply.
“To be successful is to be consistently release good content. To be able to monetise your work as a responsibility to sustain the production to your fans. More importantly to gain the respect of those whom you respect.”
I tried applying this philosophy to my life, my work and my dreams. Who do I respect? Who am I working for? What is my dream.
I’ve always loved science. I loved discovering the unknown. Above all, I love to share these discovery with other people. My current work as a researcher fulfils the former (to a degree) bit I’ve always felt it fails spectacularly at the latter (I mean I publish my findings in a magazine charges about $25 per article).
I’ve always wanted to start a company making content for the Internet because I felt it was the best way to share my knowledge, a love for science and generally to make people happier.
Looking at how I’m doing so far, it’s hard to say I’m on a road to success. My research career is a series of short term contracts and I’m so burnt out I don’t give a damn about my research anymore. I tried hard to start my company, but I’ve realised that I’m doing everything on my own. I’m writing the stories, building the website, drawing the art and programming the games…. fuck, I may as well try to film the next star wars movie add producer director and cast as well. Everyone I’ve tried to attract to the project has jumped off the moment work needed to be done to the point I’ve begun to question whether I have any friends at all. I’ve become so accustomed to doing everything on my own that even the research papers I publish seem to have just my name followed by my boss (who does nothing at all as is customary in research projects).
What about respect? who do I respect? Who have I gained the respect of? Do I respect and wish the respect of the greats in science? My PhD supervisor? My boss? The general public? Burnie Burns who heads roosterteeth? My friends and family? I’m not so sure I give a fuck about any of them anymore…