Damn you, imposter syndrome!

NickSchles

Junior Member
Do you get imposter syndrome? I do. It happens from time to time, but when it does come, it's a crappy state of mind to be in, and it can last from a few hours to a whole day, or sometimes a week.

I wrote a little blog post about it because I wanted to share my experience with it, and similarly the kinds of things that help me deal with it. And again, I wanted to post it on here because I find responses to the stuff I post really insightful, and I get to learn from your experiences too.

So, do you get it? How do you deal with it? Have a read and let me know, coz sure as hell it sucks when I start thinking that way!

https://nickschlesinger.com/dealing-with-imposter-syndrome

Nick :)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
"Do you get imposter syndrome?"

Not really. I've always been pretty rational in assessing my knowledge base and abilities, as well as in determining how to my cultivate my aptitude and accommodate my limitations. Most important, I don't pretend to be an expert in fields in which I'm not. I believe that the goal of existence is to recognize one's talents, foster them through discipline and industry, and apply them toward the betterment of oneself and the world at large. Do that with honesty, and self-doubt doesn't stand a chance.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I have my whole life- while in grad school, drumming (I’m not a musician), at church, etc. But sometimes the way people respond to me make me feel like they either think I’m Forrest Gump or some Einstein- I’m neither but I’d rather be thought a hillbilly. So I question and doubt myself a lot because I do have Gump moments and whether dumb luck or intellect I’ve some good moments. I just hope it balances in middle . I do anal- yze things by nature, but because of rural upbringing I have a folk sense and intuition ,then I love art so there is an art sense, then my education and everything is biology. Big histology, anatomy and cell bio background . At every level from macro to micro “form and fiction” - molecular motors or enzymes too. That math and physics and then Art too. It’s all the same really. I can get lost in any, but I often wonder why any of us are the way we are. I think everyone has a vulnerability just many won’t publicly announce it. I’ve always been open - too open often but I can’t change that part of me. I think I’m pretty crazy so the fact you are doing the same gives me solace- I’m not the only crazy person ROFL. Just kidding!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Not here either. I learned long ago that others ultimately determine the level I'm at, and if I am allowed to move up the food chain. When posed with new or challenging parts, styles and technologies, I've been able to rise to the occasion. Apparently the others who assess my talent approve, since they keep hiring me. I take great pride in that, and owe my career to it.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
I'm afraid of that syndrome. Never heard of it. When people find out your impostering (and they will)..its to embarrassing. I don't mind being the dumb guy..its more comfortable.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Behavioral scientist say humans are more intuitive than intelligent which I thought was interesting. And true. I know many appreciate serendipity and luck but others like to assume the responsibility. So many of my ah ha moments with peers was just some random fact I had picked up or wow look at that! But they assumed I must be really bright because it was a great outcome. But really I’m more intuitive and make associations - a lot of math - like calculus I’m not as proficient in using as I make associations from the data. I get a feel for it after awhile thst I can make predictions. Really I just take what other people did and use it in novel ways- sounds a lot like a drummer.

I do believe there are super intelligent people and they are where the dumb luck falls out as myself and most researchers have because there is true genius in their ideas snd work that changes things. But I’m happy at mediocre and did just fine as most do. What’s funny like drumming the elegance will be in simplicity of it- and none of us intuitive picked up on it. Obviously so lacking in intelligence.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I think I am the opposite. Meaning that once I figure something out and it makes sense, I wonder why everyone else doesnt get it too, or if they do and I'm just late. Why has no one else showed/taught me this before?
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
"Do you get imposter syndrome?"

Not really. I've always been pretty rational in assessing my knowledge base and abilities, as well as in determining how to my cultivate my aptitude and accommodate my limitations. Most important, I don't pretend to be an expert in fields in which I'm not. I believe that the goal of existence is to recognize one's talents, foster them through discipline and industry, and apply them toward the betterment of oneself and the world at large. Do that with honesty, and self-doubt doesn't stand a chance.
That's great, man! I'm very happy for you, and I agree with you to a large extent. That said, saying self-doubt doesn't stand a chance is pretty black and white when this type of thing is influenced by factors wider than just work ethic (i.e. upbringing, etc).
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
I'm afraid of that syndrome. Never heard of it. When people find out your impostering (and they will)..its to embarrassing. I don't mind being the dumb guy..its more comfortable.
It doesn't mean you're a fraud, it's just insecurity. I mean, I've taught lots of students who have become great drummers, and also done work with lots of bands and producers who have commended my work, and been called back. In spite of these things, I still feel self-doubt. But hey... It's how we deal with these things, that's all. It's not the end of the world! :)
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I joined a Brazilian band this year. They play lots of Brazilian parties and events (here in Australia). I feel like an imposter every time, but their previous drummer was really terrible, so they think I’m pretty good and compliment me all the time. Maybe I bring a fresh perspective? But deep down I’m well aware that I don’t understand the true essence of Bossa Nova or Samba or Forro...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's a matter of changing the dialog in the head is it not? At least that's what the solution appears to be for me. I mean it's not an actual disease. It's a thought pattern. Thought patterns can be changed into whatever you want, with some effort.

This seems like one of those things where a willful mind can: identify imposter thoughts, stop their progress, force a different, constructive thought in it's place, (be kind to yourself) and keep observing thoughts (as if you were someone else) being on the lookout for harmful self destructive thoughts. It's like substituting a good habit for a bad habit. It takes a little mental forcefulness.

Please cut me a break if this is an actual disease with an actual cause. To me it smacks of a person mentally blocking his or her own way forward with destructive thoughts. Stop that! Reverse it! The choice is yours to continue living while hamstringing yourself.

Good thoughts work just as well on the positive side as the bad thoughts do on the negative side. The choice is ours as to which side we want to operate from, which thoughts deserve life and which thoughts should die.
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. I play to my strengths every time, and I try to avoid getting into situations where I know I can't "do the thing," whether that be at my full-time job or out playing music.

Sit in with your country band? Yup.
Sit in with your Dream Theater cover band? Not a chance.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
I’m struggling with some of the comments that believe that feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness can be combatted by simply thinking more positively or consciously changing one’s thoughts. It’s not as simple as that I’m afraid; some people need help in understanding what is causing those feelings and how to manage the triggers.

Like any other physical or psychological challenges, it’s best to consult a professional. Imposter syndrome might be tied to something deeper like depression which may require more intensive support.
 
I’m struggling with some of the comments that believe that feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness can be combatted by simply thinking more positively or consciously changing one’s thoughts. It’s not as simple as that I’m afraid; some people need help in understanding what is causing those feelings and how to manage the triggers.

Like any other physical or psychological challenges, it’s best to consult a professional. Imposter syndrome might be tied to something deeper like depression which may require more intensive support.
I agree with you - if you really have that problem consistenly, you probably won't find your way out of it yourself. To be honest, I always get a bit antsy when people (online or offline) use words that any serious psychologist would only use with caution. OCD, narcissism or manipulative behavior are the current diagnoses of the month, but we should not forget that most of us are NOT psychologists and therefore we shouldn't pigeon-hole ourselves or others by using those terms willy-nilly. What we're talking about in this thread might as well be the Dunning Kruger effect. It all depends on the individual case, though.
I guess that self-doubt isn't always inherently terrible. If you never realize what you can't do (yet), then how can you improve? Tons of great musicians continue to practice even though they are already very good. There's always something new to learn in music. As long as you don't beat yourself up or give up drumming because you constantly compare yourself with a 17 year old Tony Williams, I don't see a problem. Of course, finding that balance of enjoyment and self-criticism and finding inspiration instead of frustration isn't always easy.
 

petrez

Senior Member
I'm more likely to get it before a show, like when conversing with other bands or people in general. Never been all that with small talk, and I might sometimes feel like somehow some of the others might call me out, like I'm mostly "wingin'" it. But I guess I forget that even though I take most of the "regular/small" gigs easy in terms of practicing hard right before (I might feel like a lot of other drummers do, or write down parts/practice to a metronome/do some hard work to perform to their best), all my years of experience seem to help me out more than I imagine it does. I simply know what to do now, but I seem to forget that until I sit behind the kit 😄. During the performance I am at a place which I don't feel out of my comfort zone (at least not with my own band, might be if I was sitting in for someone) and definately feel like I've earned my right to be on stage. I guess it's all about sticking with it, don't give up on something that gives you enjoyment, and keep those bad thoughts away.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I don't do compliments very well. So sometimes when people tell me I'm a good drummer, I immediately suspect they've overdosed on adult beverages.
But then I hear a recording of the show & I can secretly think I did good.

We've all worked hard on our craft & being told that hard work is evident is always a good thing.
 
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