• Jeff Johnston

Are You An Imposter?

“I don’t have imposter syndrome, I just want to be better than everyone else!” - Jeff Johnston


Is imposter syndrome a mental illness? Is attention deficit a mental illness? Is being human a mental illness?


Imposter syndrome can be defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

According to the “experts”, it is a phenomenon or an experience, that occurs in an individual, not a mental disorder, and can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-confidence, even in high achievers.

Like many “labels” I detest, imposter syndrome is presented as something to avoid, like AD (attention deficit). Why? Full disclosure, I will no longer use the last D in ADD as it represents a DISORDER and attention deficit is no disorder, or at least to me.

Could imposter syndrome actually benefit you in the long term? I think so.

As a more pragmatic person and one of reason, It seems clear to me our ability to avoid and ignore “warning signs” isn’t working. We tend to identify with our thoughts in a way that is counterproductive and can actually be damaging to ourselves and others.

Improving our mental health is obviously a very big concern but just what is mental health and when is it an illness? I often wonder who is granted the authority and permission over someone else to determine this diagnosis and why are we apt to so readily accept this as true?


I am not going to overwhelm you with statistics and facts on the disturbing trends and wide net this issue casts on millions, if not billions of people globally. Trust me when I say this;


“The overall well-being and personal happiness of people is less today than it has been in recent memory”


Across the board, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, overdose and alcoholism are at epidemic levels yet ironically, at the same time, we seemingly have faster access to better and more effective ways to combat these issues. We know more on all these topics however knowledge, by itself, is actually making things worse? Do we need more pills, more subsets of diagnosis (fancier labels), more “stuff'' to add to our daily routines? Could addition by subtraction, for some, be a better approach?


This must change. How can we begin to change the narrative?


Attention. It starts by paying attention. There is little doubt, to me, that the majority of people today fear one thing more than anything else, boredom. The simple fact is we are incapable to literally do nothing, to become aware, and to observe our thoughts, without judgment. Why is this so threatening to some and tortuous for others?


Can you (be honest!) sit in a chair and stare at a wall for 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 5 minutes, heck 30 seconds, without feeling a rush of anxiety and nervousness building from within? Can you go the first 10 minutes of each day without looking at your phone or opening your computer? What do you FEAR so much that you need to be distracted from? What lurks all around you and within you that you feel the need to run from, to hide from? Could it be that you simply fear yourself? You fear the person you talk to all day, the person who guides you, the person who challenges you. Maybe it’s time to really hear to this person. Hold on...Let me take this call….


Live Undeterred!



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