Apparently it is common British trait to downplay your achievements, one which I am prone to suffering from. I am sure there are many others across the world who are the same and it is not just a local phenomenon. I have learnt of my suffering from getting together with Claire, Justin and Mike over some work we are planning for Digital Union around personal well being.
I used to think that my protestations of my successes were a form of modesty. I don’t like to think of myself as a braggart or arrogant, as these are characteristics I consider to be unpleasant in a person. Of late though I am starting to consider that this is a form of imposter syndrome. I thought I had got over this but like Japanese Knotweed its roots run very deep. The downplaying of my achievements allows me to shrink back into the person that does not deserve recognition, the person that is there by mistake and will soon be found out as a fraud.
I came across this quote from Fabienne Marier, who said, ‘By downplaying our achievements, we contribute to the issue that refrains us from celebrating in the first place: the culture of not enough.’
She is right. By downplaying what I have done, by claiming it was luck rather than effort, by dismissing by outputs as garbage reminds me that I am never good enough. I could always do better and I can never be the person that I would really like to be. I have set myself an impossible objective. I am bound to fail.
The issue arose when I was describing the book I had written, Paradigms Lost, which I always go on to apologise for as not very good. Claire, Justin and Mike took me to task on this. I have written a book, two in fact, and should be proud of this as an achievement rather than trying to somehow downplay it as a waste of mine and other’s time.
I am trying to get Paradigms Lost published as I actually think it is a good piece of work. I am proud of it and I would like to get the messages contained within it out to a wider audience. I need to be careful then to get the balance right between modesty and downplay.