3 types of self-doubt that are actually signs of success

Success is not like temperature. There is no measuring tool that you can swing around and get an objective reading of how successful you are. Success is self-defined, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that many of us, including many outwardly successful entrepreneurs, are pretty bad at judging our success.

Humans are wired by nature to focus on the negative. That kept us alive in the days when there could be a lion lurking behind every bush. But today, our tendency to be overweight and take achievements for granted means that many people are in the strange position of being quite successful but still blind to that success.

Evaluating your success requires self-examination and reflection. But even that is complicated. You might think that the successful people are full of confidence and uninterrupted good cheer. But that’s not what science, experts and even simple observation reveal. Some forms of mental discomfort actually indicate success. If you feel them, congratulate yourself on your progress, not beat yourself up for self-doubt.

1. Intellectual humility.

Remember when you were a grumpy 14 year old and you thought you knew everything and adults were all stupid and out of touch? Did you actually know everything then?

We can all look back and laugh at our youthful arrogance, but it’s easy to forget to remember that you’re probably wrong a lot as an adult, too. Intellectual arrogance was foolish when you were a teenager, but according to both a lot of science and some of the smartest people in business, it’s also foolish when you’re grown up.

Being willing to question your beliefs and hear alternative views and new evidence is a sign of intelligence. This kind of intellectual humility helps you learn faster, spot fake news, interact openly and honestly with others, and become more tolerant of differences. Not being sure of what you believe can be uncomfortable, but it’s also a sign of a mature mind.

2. Impostor Syndrome

You may have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect. This much-cited psychological principle says that the most incompetent are often the most confident because they don’t know enough to understand how incompetent they are. It’s helpful to have a scientific explanation for your office’s most annoying blowout, but many of us fail to see the downside of Dunning-Kruger: If ignorance can breed undeserved trust, advancing knowledge can breed doubt.

If you’re concerned about your skill level, that’s actually a good indication that you understand your field well enough to see its full complexity, but you’re not used to intellectual complacency yet. And your self-doubt will probably spur you on to greater excellence. Perhaps that’s why research shows that those who report suffering from imposter syndrome actually perform better at work.

3. Questioning the value of ‘success’ itself.

The grass always looks lush when you peek over the fence. But really manage to put yourself in the sacred circle of “success” and oftentimes you’ll find that you’re actually standing on astroturf drenched in tears.

This isn’t just because many outwardly successful people are quite miserable (despite their cheerful online personas). It’s also because many people pursue the world’s “success” — big bank accounts, great job titles, the prestige of their peers — without thinking deeply about whether that’s really what life is about. As a result, many of us fight in our early years to achieve something that, once we have it, only makes us realize that we’ve been chasing the wrong goals all along.

If you’ve reached that stage, it’s a good sign. It shows that you now have the stability and self-awareness to reflect on your true values ​​and set your own course.

As Brianna Wiest has noted on Thought Catalog, “when you start to become really successful, you also start to realize how little it matters. You’ll start to realize that it’s not the answer to your problems, and you’re also helping people.” values ​​in your life, your free time and your ability to enjoy your days. True success is realizing that success isn’t everything people think it is, and it’s a privilege to know that.”

So, are you successful? Only you can answer that question. But don’t be led astray into thinking that being successful is synonymous with a lack of self-doubt. It’s not. A troubled mind can often be a sign of the kind of questioning and seeking that means you’re already doing quite well in life.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.

This post 3 types of self-doubt that are actually signs of success was original published at “https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/success-doubt-imposter-syndrome.html”

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