You’ve had that moment. Sized up a person. Figured that you’re probably better/smarter/sexier than them. Then you find out they’re a Harvard grad, dates a model, or makes waaay more money than you do.
Wait, that asshole makes more than me?
Cognitive dissonance ensues. This can happen everywhere:
- The lazy student in class got the job you wanted, but didn’t apply to.
- That basic bitch hooked up with the guy you’ve been fantasizing about.
- The annoying next door neighbor got rich by investing in cryptocurrency…while you ridiculed it.
If you don’t go for the opportunities you want in life, you will be enraged when others you deem less worthy get those opportunities by simply trying.
It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect at work: we overestimate our own abilities and understimate others. We tend to think highly of ourselves because we know ourselves, and we don’t know our neighbor that intimately. At least I don’t think so ;)
Even at Harvard there are idiots. But those idiots applied.
I’ve asked Ivy-league friends (who are legitimately genius level) if going to prestigious schools meant being surrounded by savants.
“Honestly? There are some people here who are just average or straight up dumb.”
But you can’t be mad at people who probably thought they wouldn’t get in, applied and got in.
Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.
(Plus—asking is free.)
The Highly Paid Asshole and His Indignant Report
One more story. You’ll love it if you like office drama.
I once worked at a big ass company that shall not be named.
There was a manager who was like Michael Scott, but not funny and thus way worse.
One of the employees working under him was once offered the manager role…but he turned it down, citing disdain at the thought of playing “politics.” He reached what he thought was the maximum level possible in the technical track.
Turns out, another employee with shorter tenure but bigger ambitions asked for a promotion… which happened to be higher than the current position the “star employee” held.
This employee wouldn’t have it, threw it fit, and quit after 12 years at the company.
Jealousy is the other side of impostor’s syndrome
If you don’t go for the opportunities you want in life, you will be enraged
when others you deem less worthy get those opportunities by sheer will of trying at yourself.
This type of anger is unjustified, petty and unproductive. It’s also a bitter pill to swallow when the initial wave of anger dies down, and you realize that it’s your responsibility.
But I find it inspiring to flip the script:
People with less talent and resources than you figured it out.
And that’s something to work with.