A friend of mine is big into Gary Vaynerchuk, so I decided to check him out. I was immediately attracted to his "I'm a winner and I don't care what you think" attitude. My favorite phrase from Vaynerchuk so far is "loser DNA".

He is really referring to people with fixed mindsets rather than growth mindsets. I've blogged about this before in "The Soul of a Slave" but I want to unpack the term "loser DNA" further. I want to try and connect it to the impostor syndrome that many world-class engineers I know (i.e. my friends) suffer from.

Given the rate of change in our industry, everyone single one of us sees things we don't understand every single day. We feel like impostors when we are asked to participate in a panel discussion in front of 100 people alongside some of the sharpest minds in our industry on topics that are still relatively new to us. Scary, right?

Don't let it be. Even before I started learning from Vaynerchuk, I stopped comparing myself to other people. No, this isn't some Kumbaya "everyone has strengths" post. Surely that is true, but if you subscribe to that thinking with the sole purpose of excusing yourself from growing, then you implicitly admit you're a loser. Straight up loser DNA. You'll live in your comfort zone as a Twitter activist and wonder why everyone else is beating you in whatever you measure yourself against.

Admittedly, I suspect everyone struggles with this. A few days ago, a friend who is an expert software developer vented his frustration with me. I had been participating in public coding forums and, by his account, was not adding much value. Honestly, he was right, but it triggered my loser DNA. I think we all have it, it is simply a matter of whether you allow it to be dominant or recessive. I asked myself, should I really be in this field? After some reflection, I answered yes. I simply need to shut up do better. In reality, this friend did me a favor in a very indirect way.

You and I cannot know everything. Don't try. Grow your depth and breadth of knowledge but don't compare yourself to others. This is purely a self-esteem issue.

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