Impostor Syndrome and the Knowledge Bubble Philosophy

Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish I was as smart as that person"?

I know I certainly have! Impostor syndrome is something that I continue to battle even 10 years into my development journey. With so much amazing content all around us, it's easy to get swept up in the feeling that you're not doing enough, not smart enough, or just not cut out for tech. Let me share a little secret with you. 🤫

Folks don't know quite as much as you think they do 😱

I can't recall when I first heard the idea of knowledge bubbles, but it forever changed how I think about my knowledge compared to another person's. The idea is that we all have a bubble of knowledge, some are slightly bigger than others due to sheer number of years of experience, but all in all, they really aren't that much different in size. It's just that our bubbles are filled with different things!

Sometimes bubbles overlap and this is where impostor syndrome gets a chance to set in. What I mean is, you may share knowledge about front-end development with another person, as in you both understand the basics of front-end development. This is your bubble overlap. You might discover that this person knows everything about CSS animations and you might find yourself wondering "Why don't I know that too? Am I not as smart? Am I not working hard enough?" when in reality you probably have deep knowledge in an area that this person knows almost nothing about!

You don't know less, you just know different

That same person may see you discuss a different topic and feel the same way as you! Because you both have different paths, experiences, jobs, etc. You have valuable knowledge and you have experience that others don't. It doesn't mean that either person is smarter, working harder, or anything other than you both know different things. 💖