How To Deal With Your Fishy Inferiority Complex

There’s always a bigger fish right? Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve rarely seen anything bigger than a whale.

Surely that is the biggest fish right? (And right now if you’re thinking that a whale is a mammal then you’d be right…but it’s still a sea dwelling creature…so ner!)

Does the whale get a inferiority complex about it’s size? I don’t know and if I could speak whale I’d ask one. (Humpback, Sperm, Blue, Orca…the lingo sounds the same to me!) The thing is that if you ever suffer from or have suffered from an inferiority complex, then it’s very likely you’ve also indulged in a superiority complex too.

I was recently training some young people in radio. When I was teaching them I was the one in the room with the superiority complex. I was the one who had the knowledge and therefore I was the one who felt powerful. I was the one being looked to for the answers. It feels good to be in that situation, and while there, my natural confidence exuded unconsciously. I didn’t have to try and be confident; I just was.

I was also recently in a room full of radio professionals and I was being trained by them. Guess what? Do you think was feeling as confident as in the previous example? I went from being the teacher to being the student and being given all sorts of constructive criticism. It didn’t feel as good being in that situation, but then again, it was just what I needed to move to the next level.

Your subordination of yourself needs to be placed into context. If you’ve been doing your job for 5 years, you may often deal with people who’ve been there 10 years or more, and so you’re constantly being made to feel as if you are the student.

But then a lovely apprentice walks in, who’s just starting out, and suddenly you go from student to teacher mode relatively rapidly. So you can see straight away that your feelings of superiority or inferiority are totally contextual. In one scenario you may feel inferior and yet in the next you may feel totally superior.

I’ll share a different kind of life example with you where one area of superiority leaves an individual feeling extremely inferior in other areas of his life. I have this friend and he is an amazing Badminton player; the best I’ve ever seen and in his hay-day would have probably wiped the floor with the best of the British players. (Even though he’s in his late 30’s and overweight he still shows them a thing or two!)

In that setting he is the one that everyone looks up to. Yet you take him out of that environment and he is a different person altogether. He is insecure and not as confident at all in any other area of his life. So in a room full of badminton students he is the king and yet if I were to ask him to give a talk on whales to a bunch of oceanographers he would be a teenie bit shy.

I look around and I see so many amazing writers and bloggers out there and occasionally I’ve stopped and asked myself how, in such great company, can I expect to make an impact? I see it all around and it almost puts the brake on me being the creative genius that I am.

If I let that stop me from exploring my creativity how could I ever expect to reach the same levels as the individuals I admire? Someone great once said to me that if I see something I admire in someone it’s because I have that within me. The insecurity begins when I want it but think it’s out of my reach. Observation is the first step to acquiring.

In whatever area you feel as if you have a complex you have to really understand your level for what it is. To a beginner you are the master. To a master you are the student. By that very scale alone you can see that you have come far and yet can aspire to be so much more. Remember this scale the next time you feel your inferiority complex kicking in.

In case you were wondering: The master meeting another master; both see each other as equals yet they will openly learn from each other. They will know that the other has unlimited wisdom to offer. They will see the giant whale within the other.

38 Responses

  1. rob white says:

    Hi Amit,
    I have a near and dear friend who is a legitimate Rock Star (in the 70’s). On stage he is the embodiment of freedom and Rock n’ Roll just expressing himself fully. Off the stage is another story altogether. He has the same neurosis and low self-esteem as any normal guy just trying to make it through his day. It is an amazing transformation and lesson in human nature.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      It’s funny you should say that Rob because in certain situations I’m the same. When I’m on stage performing I’m full of life and energy…but as soon as I come off stage I occasionally struggle to maintain that. It’s almost like being on stage is a precursor to being set free.

  2. Amit,
    Great post. I think every human being in the world, no matter their profession, no matter what they’re trying to accomplish can relate to it. Even if you became the top person in your field, there’s always going to be somebody behind you moving up that will eventually out-do you. I think, for me, I’ve realized I can only be the best I can be at the moment based on what I know whether it’s blogging, or mediumship. If I learn something new, and keep practicing and get better – great. But, I try not to measure myself against others. As far as I’m concerned everyone is my teacher, and this keeps my emotions and reactions balanced – some days I might know something my teacher doesn’t know, but other days the teacher will definitely have something to teach me.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Very true Angela and thank you for backing up my point. It’s true that in various scenarios we behave differently based upon the status we think we have but that status is bendy.

  3. Hi Amit,

    I know someone who is hugely successful in their field and one time I asked them about competition and all that stuff. This person then told me the following: “never look to your left or to your right because it slows you down and makes you weak. Just focus on your goal, be your best and just do great work.”

    I never forgot that and btw, that dude has gone on to become even more successful. So I think it works.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      I personally think the competition factor is different to what I was saying Nadia. I was talking about the way people can feel based on the company at that moment in time. It’s not so much competitive as it is just raising or lowering your status. It’s an understanding that it’s actually a good thing and when looked at in the right way it can actually work as your ally.

  4. Milan Bakrania says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. Sometimes it’s just about taking a risk to prove to yourself that you are worth it. As a species we are all very creative. Some people hide that talent due to inferiority or lack of self-respect, others gain the confidence to express it and take it further towards success. ‘Believe in yourself and make your mark’.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this Amit. I’m one of those people that sometimes feels inferior when I’m out of my comfort zone. The feeling of not knowing and needing help is not one that I enjoy…to put it mildly. However, I love what you suggest here. Nobody is a master of everything–and that is okay. We all have more to learn so it’s okay to be the student in some parts of life. Thanks for writing and sharing this.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      My pleasure Nea and you’re not alone in the way you’ve felt…the very reason I wrote this is because I used to feel the same way too but this way of thinking for me was very liberating! 🙂

  6. Amit,

    Actually the beauty of this post is we have ability to become a master or student as situation changes. Yes, sometimes we can feel superior or inferior because it but as long as we are humble and learning from the life itself.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Preeti, indeed and this way of thinking has made me more humble…when I meet a master, it’s taught me to aspire…but when I meet a student I’m not afraid to let my light and knowledge shine. 😉 x

  7. Donna Willingham says:

    “Someone great once said to me that if I see something I admire in someone it’s because I have that within me.” I love this – I’ll remember this in future when I’m feeling insecure. I feel I should share with you an amazing course I did that I found life changing. I’d been lacking in confidence and dealing with negativity around areas of my life, but the strategies that Sarah Merron of Fire Dragon Coaching teaches really helped me focus on getting the best out of myself and others around me. She runs courses in Cairo and the Maldives, so it’s a fantastic way to see the world at the same time. Here’s the link if you should ever head that way, I found it had a very powerful effect on my life: http://www.nlp.firedragoncoaching.com/destination-egypt.html

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for sharing that link and that connection but I’m so glad you enjoyed the message of this article. Thank you so much for leaving your comment! All the best! 😉

  8. Lisa @ Christian Marriage Counseling says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights. I’m one of the
    people that sometimes feels inferior when I’m
    out of my comfort zone..It is indeed an encouragement
    for me. I have this inferiority complex that still exist
    in my human being..Great post!!

  9. Vish says:

    Great post. I love this – “Someone great once said to me that if I see something I admire in someone it’s because I have that within me.”

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