How to Beat Your Imposter Syndrome?

Angelina Yang
5 min readNov 6, 2023

Questions about imposter syndrome are extremely common. Whether you are a recent graduate searching for a job, a new member of a team trying to fit in, or an experienced professional dealing with workplace conflicts, the truth is,

Imposter syndrome affects us all.

As a therapist once said,

“I don’t think I’ve had a patient come to me that believed they were enough, whether they are an Olympic star or a business person. At the heart of them, there was some kind of deeper self-esteem issue.”

Today I want to share what I learned about how human brain functions when dealing with emotions like “feeling like an imposter” from Professor Steve Peters. Professor Peters is a renowned psychiatrist who has worked with some of the world’s most accomplished individuals.

Three YOU in you

There are three systems in your brain: the chimp, the human, and the computer.

Source

In a nutshell, they are different in the following ways:

  • The chimp — primitive, defensive, impulsive, the YOU shared with our primitive ancestors
  • The human — analytical, the YOU in you
  • The computer — underpinning system you can program, this is where YOU can work on to manage your “chimp”.

Nothing explains this better than Professor Peters:

Why do we feel like an imposter ever?

According to Professor Steve Peters,

Our chimp system is “naturally and healthily low self-esteem.”

This is not only observed in humans but also in chimpanzees. The fear of not being “enough” is built into this system.

When you have a fear that you are not as good as others and you start searching for evidence and you’ll surely find it. Because you will compare yourself to others who excel in certain areas.

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