219: Why your Imposter Syndrome reveals a surprising truth about you

219: Why your Imposter Syndrome reveals a surprising truth about you

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Automatically Generated Transcript

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you’re listening to a slice of therapy
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with me alun parry
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[Music]
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have you ever watched the x factor and
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that part of the x factor where all the
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kind of hopefuls
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are in the foyer and the camera is going
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around and they’re
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they’re starting to talk to certain
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people and you see that guy
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and as soon as the camera gets there he
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starts talking about how
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absolutely brilliant he is he says he’s
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the greatest singer that’s ever lived
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and he’s he’s really full of it he’s got
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absolutely no doubt how fantastic he is
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i always look out for that guy
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and without fail every year that guy is
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really kind of
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telling the world really
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with utter shownus that
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he’s the greatest singer that’s ever
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lived
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has his audition and pretty much
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uniformly it’s terrible
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like a cat being strangled completely
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out of tune
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now this is something
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which is actually a manifestation of
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something
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called the dunning-kruger effect
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so what is the donning krueger effect
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well it’s something that was noticed
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by two psychologists david dunning and
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jason kruger
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at cornell university and it’s something
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that actually
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won them the nobel prize
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and what it basically says is that
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incompetent people overestimate
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how good they are and so when we see
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that guy who’s strutting about
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eager to tell the cameras that he’s the
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greatest singer
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that’s ever lived and yet turns out to
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be not that hot at all
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that’s an example of the dunning-kruger
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effect it’s someone
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who lacks competence but who
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overestimates their own ability
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now by the same token those people who
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are competent those people who
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can do it they underestimate
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according to this stunning krueger
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effect
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and the reason why this is important is
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because it gets to something
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really key about what happens when we’re
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able to do something
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when we’re able to do something
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we assume that it’s easy and because it
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feels easy
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for us we discount it because we think
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well isn’t it that easy for everyone
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leona leonardo da vinci no doubt was
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there painting the sistine chapel
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and was probably doubting
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himself and thinking well can’t
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everybody do this
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and i notice this you know in my therapy
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room
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that when i’m talking to people
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people just routinely miss their own
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talents
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and a big part of my job i suppose is
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just trying to bring those abilities
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back into the room
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because all of us me included will
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overlook what we’re good at
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we tend to discount them and take them
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for granted because we think
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yeah but that’s easy can’t everyone do
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that
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and part of my job is to remind people
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that actually no this is
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this is something they’re particularly
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good at this is a skill this is a super
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power
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but when we have those super powers
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because it feels easy we think everyone
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must find it easy too
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and that’s what the don in kruger effect
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measured
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you see what david dunning and jason
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kruger did they administer the test
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and they then asked people how well they
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did and they noticed that there was a
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real correlation between
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the people who did badly thought they
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did well and the people who did really
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well thought they’d only done average
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so the people who’d done really well
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thought they’d done average because
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it was easy for them and so they thought
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well it must be easy for everybody else
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as well
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and so they place themselves as average
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rather than really skilled
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so these doubts come up for us
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a lot in life don’t they and so it’s
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interesting to know that there’s
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this nobel prize winning team
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has done some work psychologically on
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doubts
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i remember a friend of mine was at a
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business conference and i happened to be
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there
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as well helping out and
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she was having a conversation
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and the conversation was going well and
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when it was completed she came up to me
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and says blimey
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they think i’m proper now this was
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somebody who was very skilled business
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person i had no idea that they would be
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thinking such a thought in their head
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but of course they were
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because the dunning-kruger effect says
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that it’s exactly that kind of
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impressive person who would be having
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the doubt
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a lot of us will suffer from imposter
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syndrome won’t we on
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some level of our life and even somebody
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like john lennon
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you know one of the greatest musicians
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to have ever lived
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a beatle no less was once quoted saying
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sometimes
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i think i’m a total fraud
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john lennon thought he was a fraud now
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this seems such a
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strange concept because if john lennon
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thought he was a fraud with all the
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number ones under his belt
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how is that even possible well it’s
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possible because of the dunning-kruger
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effect
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the very people who are likely to think
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that they’re a fraud the very la
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very people are likely to think
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that they’re only average are the very
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people who are going to be the ones who
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do well
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and this is the thing with imposter
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syndrome because you got all these
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talented people
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who don’t think they’re talented because
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they are talented
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that’s the very reason why they don’t
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think they are
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and so when you have this impostor
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syndrome
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what happens is is that you think wow
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i’m kidding everybody
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i’ve managed to fool the whole world
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here into thinking i’m better than i am
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in actual fact what’s going on here is
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that you’ve got somebody who’s very
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skilled at what they’re doing
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is underestimating how skilled they are
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the very thing that the dunning-kruger
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experiment
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happened to show
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you see self-doubt is a very normal
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thing
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it crops up a lot but not for everyone
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not in every situation only for the
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skilled only for those
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who are talented in that area this is
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what they documented
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doubt we often think of doubt
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as a little alarm bell telling us that
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in actual
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fact we’re not that good it’s a sign
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that we’re not that good if we feel
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doubt
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and of course that’s how doubt feels
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but the science the psychological
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science says it’s the opposite
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that when you feel doubt it’s actually a
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sign
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that you’re brilliant because only the
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top performers have it
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it’s not a sign that you’re a fraud it’s
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not a sign that you’re an imposter
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it is actually a sign of your brilliance
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because that’s exactly what they
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discovered that it’s the people who do
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well
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who think they’re doing average
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now when i’m sat here in my room and i
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noticed the cold
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that’s something in my environment that
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gives me a clue that my heating isn’t on
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i don’t have to be
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sat there looking at my heating to know
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that it’s not on i feel the cold
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now in exactly the same way when you
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experience
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doubt that’s something in your
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environment
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and that’s a sign of something too not
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the cold
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in this case but a sign of just how good
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you are
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so if you’re there at party and you’re
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doubting how
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popular you are that’s actually a sign
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that you’re much more popular than you
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think it’s a sign that people
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actually do like you
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in fact that’s the very reason why
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you’re doubting it
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if you’re doubting that you’re any good
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at the work that you’re doing
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then this nobel prize winning work
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proves that in actual fact you are good
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at this work
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that’s why you’re having the doubt
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in fact if you have a doubt about how
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well you’re doing at anything
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then that doubt actually means that you
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are doing well
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that’s why you’re having the doubt
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so if you feel doubt a common response
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is that it starts to crush us
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but now you know about the
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dunning-kruger effect
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my invite to you is that next time you
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feel doubt
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don’t let it crush you instead
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translate it to the truth of the
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situation
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that that doubt is actually
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a sign of your brilliance that you can
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actually take confidence
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from your own br from your own doubts
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you can take confidence that those
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doubts
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actually mean that you’re doing well
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and a nobel prize says so
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so let’s have a quick recap because we
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looked at the example of that person on
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the x factor who says they’re fantastic
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but turns out not to be and we saw that
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this was
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something called the dunning-kruger
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effect by david dunning and
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justin kruger and it showed that
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people who aren’t very good at something
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overestimate how good they are
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whereas the ones who are good will
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underestimate and think they’re just
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average and we looked at the tests that
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they did
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that those people who did badly on the
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test thought they did well
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and those who did well on the test
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thoughts they’d only done average
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and we looked as well didn’t we at
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imposter syndrome
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john lennon thinking he was a fraud of
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all people
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and that self-doubt isn’t for everyone
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but self-doubt
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actually is for those who are the
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skilled ones who
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for the ones who have ability in that
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area
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that’s exactly where doubt comes up
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because
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the very fact that you’re talented at it
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makes you feel that it’s easy and then
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you think everybody else
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finds it easy as well
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and finally we looked at this sense that
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when you experience doubt it’s not
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actually a sign that you’re an imposter
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at all
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it’s not a sign that you’re a fraud or
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you’re not that good it’s the exact
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opposite and so if you’re at a party and
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you’re doubting how popular you are
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that means that you’re popular and if
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you’re doing work and you doubt how good
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the work is
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that means that the work is good
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because when things are good
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that’s where the doubt actually shows up
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and so finally we saw this
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correct way of interpreting doubt the
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doubt if we want to translate
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it is not something that tells us that
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we’re not doing well but something that
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tells us
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that we are and so doubt if we translate
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it
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should be something that actually feeds
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our confidence
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that actually tells us that it’s a sign
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of brilliance
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and if we doubt that then we just have
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to refer to the fact
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that a nobel prize win
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that the psychological science
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is in our favor
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so if you like this idea please spread
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it around because i think more
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more people need to know this if you’d
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like to work with me one to one i’m alun
13:35
parry
13:35
you can find out more at liverpool
13:37
psychotherapy dot co dot uk
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and don’t worry about the location
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because i work online so it doesn’t
13:42
matter where you’re based
13:44
subscribe to the podcast as well because
13:46
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so thanks very much for listening i’ll
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be back again tomorrow with another one

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