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Self Improvement

Imposter Syndrome is about having achieved potential

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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana,
Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani

This is perhaps the most important learning that one can take away from the Bhagwad Gita. It is also by far the least understood.

What it says is: 

You have the right to work only; but never to its fruits.

Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction.

This is contrary to human behavior. Why would you do something, if you were not going to get something in return? The entire point of engaging in any activity is to reach a certain goal. We go to school because, that is the path to college. We go to college to earn a degree to get a good job.

How many of you went to college for the experience? Would you have been able to convince your parents to make the financial commitments that it takes to attend college? Had you told them you were going there purely for the experience?

Perhaps!

In most cases, education is seen as a means of getting a good job.

But some of us, very few of us, are actually wired to do things because it interests us, or excites us, or makes us happy.

The fact that the activity is not being pursued with an implicit goal but purely for the fun of it makes you better at it. You are not burdened with achieving something. You are free to fail, to learn and to push the limits. That is all is needed to do awesome things!

When you do awesome things, good things come to you. This may be a promotion, recognition or some perks. While you are left thinking, I did not do anything great.

In the world of startups, this can seem extremely accelerated since things have a tendency to change quickly, while at the same time good work is recognized very fast.

Some folks end up feeling that they are being recognized while they did not deserve any of it and that when somebody finds out, their fraud will be caught. They suffer from what is called Imposter Syndrome.

The trouble with those suffering from Imposter Syndrome is that, since they are doing it without expecting anything in return they are achieving their true potential.

It is hard to understand this, when you compare yourself with those who seem to be really putting in a lot of effort to be the best. You are the best because you are not trying to be; you are just doing what comes naturally to you. You have nothing to prove. For you there is just fun there to be had and you are having it.

Truth be told; those who seem to be suffering from Imposter Syndrome are just extremely talented people who tend not to see themselves that way.

If you feel like an imposter, the most important question to ask yourself is: Are you doing what you are supposed to do? If you are, odds are you are not an imposter but just really humble.

Edition: December 2016

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