Everyone has feelings of inadequacy from time to time, but people with impostor syndrome experience a persistent feeling of not being good enough and waiting to be exposed as a fraud. Sometimes, the feeling develops around work or scholarly accomplishments, but it can apply to any facet of life. Impostor syndrome was first identified in the 1970s and is connected to ideas of perfectionism and expectation. The mental effects of impostor syndrome can be stressful and overwhelming, but it is possible to overcome.
Impostor syndrome refers to a pattern of thinking; a successful person experiences self-doubt and insecurity about his or her accomplishments. He may feel he has not earned his success, and it is only a matter of time until his incompatibility is exposed. This feeling can persist despite external validation such as awards, promotions, and public acclaim. Impostor syndrome can affect anyone, but it is more common in women and minorities.
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