Anyone else intimidated by very high achievers?

posted
01-Nov-11, 06:09
edited about 9 seconds later
Avatar for sparkles
posted about 6 years ago
Silly post maybe, but I am really intimidated by people who are very bright and high achieving and can't help but compare myself and feel inadequate. I'm talking about for example the Rhodes Scholar or Fullbright scholar types, or those with university medals and doing a PhD while also making outstanding contributions to the community and founding and directing their own charity organisations and working at a very high level. Does anyone else also feel this? How on earth do I feel adequate when I struggle just to get through the Phd?! I think they are just people who are at a whole other level beyond me... :s
posted
01-Nov-11, 06:46
edited about 8 seconds later
by MHK 1 star member
Avatar for MHK
posted about 6 years ago
There is always going to be someone out there as good or better than you are. Not many people can get a PhD so you should feel happy that you have gotten this far.
posted
01-Nov-11, 08:56
Avatar for cornflower
posted about 6 years ago
Those people are very driven. They have a certain set of life experiences which drives them. You might look at someone and think they have everything; they might only be doing these things because they are deeply unhappy and feel nothing is ever good enough. Or they might be driven to succeed and make a difference because they feel powerless at the problems in the world. Perhaps they have simply been brought up to believe that unless they do EVERYTHING, they aren't good enough. A lot of this is mindset, and in my experience often either a rather self-important, or completely panic-driven, one.

Don't envy those people; they may be deeply unhappy. If you are really upset by this, try listing all the qualities that you have, which those people you feel inadequate to don't possess. Why do you want what they have? How can you make the most of those qualities you do have? Are there areas you could do realistically improve, in your current set of circumstances? Are you upset because you really want to make a difference, or just because you feel sidelined and lonely on your PhD? Is there something you wanted from your PhD that you feel you're not getting? Look at the reasons why you feel the way you do, and see what the real cause is for this jealousy.
posted
01-Nov-11, 11:11
edited about 10 seconds later
by pamw 3 star member
Avatar for pamw
posted about 6 years ago
I think it's quite ironic for someone doing a PhD to talk about high achievers as if you weren't one of them! Remember that Sparkles! Try not to compare yourself to others. These 'high achievers' may have no life beyond work and may be trying to fill their time instead of having to deal with the real world.
posted
01-Nov-11, 19:11
Avatar for Pineapple29
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Cornflower:

Those people are very driven. They have a certain set of life experiences which drives them. You might look at someone and think they have everything; they might only be doing these things because they are deeply unhappy and feel nothing is ever good enough. Or they might be driven to succeed and make a difference because they feel powerless at the problems in the world. Perhaps they have simply been brought up to believe that unless they do EVERYTHING, they aren't good enough. A lot of this is mindset, and in my experience often either a rather self-important, or completely panic-driven, one.

Don't envy those people; they may be deeply unhappy. If you are really upset by this, try listing all the qualities that you have, which those people you feel inadequate to don't possess. Why do you want what they have? How can you make the most of those qualities you do have? Are there areas you could do realistically improve, in your current set of circumstances? Are you upset because you really want to make a difference, or just because you feel sidelined and lonely on your PhD? Is there something you wanted from your PhD that you feel you're not getting? Look at the reasons why you feel the way you do, and see what the real cause is for this jealousy.


I really like this post cornflower- definitely given me something to reflect on and think about.
posted
01-Nov-11, 20:06
edited about 26 seconds later
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 01 Nov 2011 20:10:06 =======
I think we all feel a bit like that from time to time. Before I decided to do the Masters and try out for research-after quite a few years of being a teacher and just bringing up my children, I used to look at people who had careers and lives that I envied- especially the academic ones. I remember thinking how on earth do you have this big house, these kids, all of these degrees and now you are getting your OA for this marvellous cure or this social project or whatever.

However, after some years and now on the pathway to the Phd, I can see that to some people, my own qualifications and job, could seem pretty good (not all-its pretty ordinary really). My house is still a renovation project and while I have a good position in my workplace and it is managerial as well as teaching it is certainly not the highest status in my workplace (and it is only secondary teaching) but compared to where I was many years ago, a struggling single parent with no degree at all and a lot of debt, its pretty good. Lots of people in my workplace have much nicer houses, cars, etc. But it is only when I think badly of myself, that I really truly envy them. I also understand that they prioritised other things sometimes to get those really nice houses and some people were just a little bit luckier as well.

Finally, I think it is really important not to assume that people who have the most marvellous achievements and things, are necessarily unhealthily driven or unhappy or not nice people. Some of them are super achievers, have worked hard, are, in fact, brilliant (not like those of us who are just ordinarily smart and hard working) and they often do deserve to be where they are.

There is something healthy and liberating about accepting oneself as being quite good enough, and still being able to admire those people who just can and do achieve a hell of a lot more. We all have a right to walk this earth-we all have a place and contribution to make-and doing a PhD is no mean achievement, even if it isn't discovering the cure for _______(insert whichever disease you want in this space!).:-)
posted
01-Nov-11, 20:11
edited about 15 seconds later
by DanB 4 star member
Avatar for DanB
posted about 6 years ago
I have met several of the people that Cornflower describes. In each case the root cause was the same - pushy parents. So no, I don't feel intimidated at all.
posted
01-Nov-11, 20:36
edited about 29 seconds later
by Delta 4 star member
Avatar for Delta
posted about 6 years ago
I used to feel intimidated by high achievers but not anymore. Simply because appearances can be deceptive, I'm not competitive and am not overly ambitious. I want to feel content, secure and don't feel either at present and so it is the people that have these that I envy but they don't intimidate me. I honestly don't feel a PhD has anything to do with intelligence but has more to do with application, hard work and endurance
posted
01-Nov-11, 21:27
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Pineapple29
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From delta:

I honestly don't feel a PhD has anything to do with intelligence but has more to do with application, hard work and endurance


100% agree with this delta :)
posted
01-Nov-11, 22:29
Avatar for Walminskipeasucker
posted about 6 years ago
I think that we're all high achievers, so celebrations all round! Seriously though, don't feel intimidated by those you perceive as being super intelligent or amazing multi-taskers of goodness. You've doubtless heard the old saying, 'there's always someone smarter'... Well, there is! The rest of those high achieving, academic dynamos just work insane, anti-social hours to outshine (even if they outwardly deny it) others.
posted
02-Nov-11, 12:36
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for Shanshuprophecy
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Pineapple29:

Quote From delta:

I honestly don't feel a PhD has anything to do with intelligence but has more to do with application, hard work and endurance


100% agree with this delta :)


I couldn't disagree more.

While application & endurance are vital components of PhD success, I think that there is a need of fairly high intelligence as well.
I don't think that 'just anyone' could read, understand, synthesis and apply much of the theory that I (and many others) encounter
on a daily basis just by 'applying themselves'.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I am more 'intelligent' than any other PhD student, but rather that intelligence is a central component - at least in humanities & I am sure in other disciplines as well.
posted
02-Nov-11, 12:53
edited about 24 seconds later
by Slizor 3 star member
Avatar for Slizor
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Shanshuprophecy:

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I am more 'intelligent' than any other PhD student, but rather that intelligence is a central component - at least in humanities & I am sure in other disciplines as well.


At the very small risk of sounding arrogant, I know I'm more intelligent than some of my fellow PhD students. One asked where Kenya is and tried to mix beer with Fanta (like it was a spirit) damnit!
posted
02-Nov-11, 13:31
edited about 21 seconds later
by Delta 4 star member
Avatar for Delta
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Shanshuprophecy:

Quote From Pineapple29:

Quote From delta:

I honestly don't feel a PhD has anything to do with intelligence but has more to do with application, hard work and endurance


100% agree with this delta :)


I couldn't disagree more.

While application & endurance are vital components of PhD success, I think that there is a need of fairly high intelligence as well.
I don't think that 'just anyone' could read, understand, synthesis and apply much of the theory that I (and many others) encounter
on a daily basis just by 'applying themselves'.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I am more 'intelligent' than any other PhD student, but rather that intelligence is a central component - at least in humanities & I am sure in other disciplines as well.


I couldn't do your PhD because I don't have a humanities background but had I studied the appropriate degree(s) in preparation of the PhD and with application and hard work I believe I could do a PhD in almost anything. I see myself as being of average intelligence but I can focus and apply myself to academic tasks. I have an undergraduate degree, masters and have just submitted for a PhD and I by far found the undergraduate degree the most academically challenging. I think people big up a PhD but, in my opinion, it just requires more organisation and application over a longer period of time. I definitely don't view it as a measure of my intelligence.
posted
02-Nov-11, 13:33
by Delta 4 star member
Avatar for Delta
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Slizor:

At the very small risk of sounding arrogant, I know I'm more intelligent than some of my fellow PhD students. One asked where Kenya is and tried to mix beer with Fanta (like it was a spirit) damnit!


If only I could give you a star because you made me laugh
8-) A thanks will have to do!
posted
02-Nov-11, 16:37
by sneaks 5 star member
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 6 years ago
why would you want to ruin perfectly nice Fanta :p

I'm not intimidated by these people - they may be shiny on the outside, but they probably cry into their soup at night because they have no soul.

I know someone who is an all round perfect person - looks, grades, slim, great career, earns loads and on the face of it is very nice too. I like to think she's crap at DIY, or has no common sense, or perhaps is a psychopath - makes me feel better

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