Do I deserve this…….wait, but I am entitled to this!

photo taken in/near Sahyadri hills, India by Prateek Kumar Rohatgi

“Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving” — Maxwell Maltz

This week has been action packed and life continues to be in full-ON mode. My family and I moved from Pune to Hyderabad. I wrote the notes for this article while travelling in a metro train, on the way to pick my kids up from my mom’s place. We are barely done with 50% of our unpacking. Half opened boxes are littered all over the house. Peak of summer here with days and nights so hot and we did not even have electricity one night. My conviction behind the move is being tested. This article is not about these travails though.

One of the last things I did in Pune was to meet a friend to discuss a couple of macro issues that he is facing.

A little background: this friend has come a long way in his life given the hardships he endured in his childhood. Now, he has a good job, good family and he lives well. But every once in a while, he suffers from this overwhelming feeling that he does not deserve the good things in his life. Good things include running water, hot bath etc. At the same, when he gets onto Linkedin and sees posts/updates talking about this person achieving this in his career and she achieving that in her career, he gets overwhelmed by the feeling of wanting to accomplish more. I do not think he is alone in this oscillation from feeling like an “impostor” to the other end of deserving and wanting more (while taking the present accomplishments and possessions as granted).

It is my guess that many of us do not think twice about deserving a car, a nice house/apartment, a good job, occasional (fancy?) vacation. But a few (or is it many?) of us do occasionally confront this feeling that we may not deserve the good things in our life. This is called “impostor” syndrome and internet is awash with information on this syndrome. I’m no stranger to this syndrome myself. I contend with this often. At the same time, on the flip side of “impostor” syndrome, is a feeling of overconfidence, even entitlement about things that one has in life — apparently called Dunning-Kruger effect.

I do not know if impostor syndrome and Dunning-Kruger effect are psychological conditions but they are real and I face them and I am getting better at dealing with them. Here are few things I do to deal with them:

With respect to comparisons with others’ accomplishments, I think it is impossible to eliminate the “competitive” mindset given that it is part of our evolutionary make-up. Not that eliminating competitive mindset is even desirable. It is the dark side of competition that warrants addressing. Feelings of inadequateness, unfairness that emanate from others’ accomplishments are what are to be eliminated, if possible. Here are few thoughts:


Thanks for your time. In this newsletter, I share my learnings that can help you improve your decisions and make meaningful progress on your goals and desires. I share stuff that I have personally experimented with. To this extent, this is not traditional “self-help” advice.

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