Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome? Maybe you shouldn’t.

A few years ago, I got myself into a bit of a pickle at work. I am a secret self-improvement book/webinar/lecture junkie. I live by books like “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, “168 Hours: You have more time than you think” by Laura Vanderkam, and Austin Kleon’s series of books for artists. It is not surprising then, that when I heard that there will be a seminar about Impostor Syndrome at our institution, it immediately sparked my interest.

We all have Impostor Syndrome

At the time, the seminars were still being held in person, in large auditoriums (remember those days?!). It started an hour earlier than my typical workday and I made the necessary family arrangements to make it in time.

Indeed, it was worth it. The seminar was given by Dr. Alden Matthew Landry from Harvard University. The punchline was that no matter what stage of life we are at or how much we have achieved, we all suffer from Impostor Syndrome. And that we often don’t take enough credit for our achievements – instead attributing them to luck. But this is not the most interesting part.

Unexpected encounter

Afterwards, as I was coming out of the auditorium (surprise, surprise), I ran into my boss, who was leaving the same seminar. I was ready to melt into the floor. He was the last person I would have wanted to see me there. We went up in the same elevator in silence, me mentally kicking myself for not getting the right timing.

Immediate practical application

Later that day, we had our biweekly meeting with the rest of the lab members. One of them was presenting a particularly challenging project. He tried ~25 different conditions and said that he was lucky that one of them worked. Otherwise, he would have to repeat the entire experiment. At this point, our boss went into a long speech about how such things do not happen due to luck. They happen due to the qualifications and efforts of the person involved, underlining the achievement of my lab-mate. And…. he looked directly at me and winked…

Remind yourself that you are smarter than you think

So what’s the point of me bringing up this story here? It is that we all suffer from Impostor Syndrome, whether we want to admit it or not. And in a moment when it rears its ugly head, we need to be able to boost our confidence. We need to feel smart about something. And that is the point at which you can look at your piece of SciArt and remind yourself “I know more than I think I do”.

And give yourself some more credit, because you deserve it!

Deep Within, 2020


The hippocampus is a small, but very important part of the brain that is essential for cognitive functions including declarative memory, spatial navigation and contextual learning. What is even more amazing is that the hippocampus is one of very few areas of the brain where new neurons continue to be born during adult life… (continue reading here)

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