How I Changed the Way I Study
And how it is helping me overcome the dreaded Imposter Syndrome
“When you have a lot of confidence and you feel like nobody can beat you, it’s game over for everyone else.” — Jason Day
In general, I have never been an active participant on LinkedIn until recent. In June 2021, I got certified as an AWS DevOps Engineer and posted my certificate on LinkedIn; it got a decent number of likes and comments. The surge of requests in my inbox for suggestions for preparing for the certifications raised a feeling of inadequacy. Although I previously helped several colleagues with their cloud journey kickoff, I felt incompetent. The idea that I will not be able to not reply to questions regarding what I claim to be knowledgeable in was crippling. Fear drove my productivity away. I did not feel comfortable talking about my achievements, fearing that someone would point out that I was not as competent as I claim to be.
A week after the post, I came across the Twitter page for 100 days of code. I figured that this was the best path for me to tackle this issue. I was all set to start my coding journey. I was ready with a plethora of resources and a structured study plan. However, eight days into the challenge, I skipped a day; one became two, two became ten. I faltered and gave up. As you can guess, this made everything way worse.
After a session of introspection, I figured that the way I went about learning was wrong. These are my key takeaways from my failed challenge:
- I put too much pressure on myself — Feeling inadequate is not a good personal standpoint; I wanted a shortcut to get rid of it.
- I pushed myself to do too much daily — I tried to work more than the required 1-hour per day and disliked spending ten minutes to study by the end of the eighth day.
- I did not recognize that learning is a journey and not a final destination — I bought a Udemy course; it became a measure of my capabilities. I scheduled it so that I needed to complete it by the end of day twenty-five. Not being able to do more than a specific number of videos discouraged me; it became a vicious cycle of self-loathing.
What I am doing currently to have better mental health, productivity while studying and trying to not fall into the same patterns:
- I got a peer to talk about any issues I am facing — Having a friend/mentor to talk to when things aren’t going my way helped tremendously. They make it easy for me to talk about my insecurities and help me find solutions to overcome them.
- I set Specific and Measurable Results (SMR) — I cut down 100 days to 30 days and set up a monthly structured study plan. Rather than focusing on the course completion, I am concentrating on conceptual understanding.
- I started blogging and creating content — It played a substantial role in helping me overcome my insecurities. Three weeks prior, I started posting content about various topics related to AWS, both on Medium and LinkedIn, wherein I found a passion for content creation. I am not going to lie; the likes and comments boosted my confidence.
- Not reprimanding myself for missing a day — If I forego a day of study, I don’t belittle myself for not getting anything done. I make up for it the next day.
- Showing up for it — Once I started showing up to study daily, it became easier to pick it back up the next day. Subsequently, I was motivated to complete any other tasks scheduled on my to-do list post the study session.
- Do not compare — Comparing yourself to people who are in the same field is detrimental. Know your worth and focus on that.
Being confident about your knowledge trumps knowing 100% of any topic;
Figure out what learning plan works for you, set measurable goals and tell yourself that you are no less than anyone. The feeling of inadequacy is something that I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. Stick to whatever you are pursuing — hard work pays off. Keep reminding yourself that you are worthy of being where you are. Moreover, you are capable of achieving better.