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.