August 14, 2022•698 words
Having started several popular projects since I was in the 9th grade or so, I, to some that I know, have always been one of the "successful" people in the circle, at least in terms of visibility and the number of projects that have received public / media attention. For all the privileges and opportunities I have gained through all of these experiences, I have never felt being truly "worthy" for what I have "achieved". I understand that saying this tends to leave a sour taste in some people, and others would tell me that the culprit here is simply imposter syndrome. But I have never felt that it is really the case, or even if it is, it does not sound like something that I should think myself of.
Recognizing oneself as being affected by imposter syndrome, to me, sounds a bit self-contradictory. For one thing, literally everyone could do the same, whether they are actually having it or not. How would I know if I am the one who truly has imposter syndrome, or I am the true "imposter"? It sounds like one of the things that are impossible to observe as oneself. On the other hand, by blaming all thoughts of self-deprecation on imposter syndrome, it might in turn make me exactly the imposter that I feared I would be. I may or may not really be good at what I do at this moment in time, but in any case, statistically, there are almost always a lot of people who are way better than me in all aspects, many of whom may not have had the same great chances as I did. Whether I am worthy of what I have or not, it seems very pretentious to assume that those are what I "deserve" -- and without a feeling of insecurity, I doubt if I would have any motivation to try to become better.
I personally attribute most of the "achievements" I have had up to this point to one thing -- luck. It was pure luck that I am even alive at this age in the first place -- I was born in a family with generational medical background, where my tumor, which developed when I was only about 3, was recognized and diagnosed early and caused only some disability as a minor inconvenience (compared to, you know, unaliving). It was pure luck that my parents were supportive of me pursuing knowledge and education in computer science, as opposed to not considering it a proper career path. It was pure luck that I was able to ride the wave quite a few times in the past for "personal fame" -- SwipeBack, BlackLight, Shelter, or really, most of my projects, only became popular through, really, chance. BlackLight became popular due to the demise of a few other clients that happened to be the same time as when I released BlackLight. Shelter became a thing only because Island happened to have raised some privacy concerns at that specific time only. In terms of my Android contributions, I also piggy-backed on quite a few others' work to make myself into the news, such as the time when I did a OnePlus 3T build. Heck, had I not somehow believed the stupid claim that Xiaomi is "better than Apple" when I was still a kid in junior high, I would not have even got myself into the whole world of Android system (or app) development. Everything I have done are really not a result of me being better than others -- it's just that I somehow had better chances than a lot of people who might be similar or better than me.
I am not even sure what I am trying to say at this point. In any case, I am not saying that one should delve into the endless abyss of self-deprecation as a result of imposter syndrome that may or may not be real. But I do think it is somewhat helpful in reminding me of where my "achievements" actually came from, and that I need to keep learning, to make myself actually not an imposter, instead of being satisfied with what I have done.