This same article digs deeper by contrasting “the real you” with “the ideal you”.
The contender syndrome is subtly different from envy. It’s more a sense of not living up to the best you, rather than not living up to the best Albert Einstein. A multi-billionaire reality TV producer once told me that he felt like he hadn’t arrived because he’d never made a movie. He had gobs of money, but he hadn’t “proven” himself because he was not a feature film producer.
We all know someone who we think is super-successful. The truth, however, is that the same person we judge as super-successful feels like they have short-changed themselves due to that same syndrome. And to take that thought even farther, someone also is looking at us (as we are comparing ourselves to that same super-successful person) and wishing that they were as successful as we seem to be. Our circle of envy and/or competition keeps us in one frame of living: unfulfilled and unmotivated.
Some psychologists say the feeling of not reaching your potential comes from a discrepancy between the “actual self” (who you are), the “ideal self” (who you’d like to be), and the “ought self” (who you think others want you to be).
The actual self is the person we see in the mirror each morning. The ideal self is who we have become by the time we walk out the door for the day. The ought self is who you manipulate gently throughout your day depending on whose company you are in.
The art of encouragement is modeled by our parents, teachers, mentors, and high profile personalities. We are told from childhood to “try harder” and that “we can do it.” But that’s not enough to be successful.
. . . as a culture, Markus says, we don’t pair that praise of innate talent with practical strategies for developing it. . . some of us never learned how to build a bridge from where we are now to where we’d like to be.
It’s not enough to be encouraged if there is no plan of action to implement. A talent knows that they can perform the task and may hear admiration from friends, but add in a solid game plan on how to get from point A to point B and we are looking at the next superstar!
Real, focused work, as mundane as that sounds, is often what separates the contenders from the victors. “Dreams are good, but unscaffolded, I think they’re dangerous,” says Markus.
You know your dream, but what is your plan for achieving it?