The Imposter Syndrome
The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
Albert Einstein might have suffered from the syndrome near the end of his life: a month before his death, he reportedly confided in a friend, saying “the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”
It is interesting to note that the syndrome is often experienced by those who are the most self-aware and the most competent.