Bury your impostor syndrome under an avalanche of notes

So it will leave you free to prosper


The impostor syndrome is the main enemy when we introduce a meaningful change in our lives.

  • Do you want to start a new career? The impostor syndrome is ready for you.

  • Do you want to launch an online project? The impostor syndrome will immediately jump on you.

  • Do you want to publish your writings? Yes, the impostor syndrome is always there. 

There’s only one solution.

You beat the impostor syndrome so bad till it leaves you alone with your creativity. 

Metaphors aside, there’s no violence involved in the process. But you have to take a lot of productive notes.

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1. Notes are the silver bullet against impostor syndrome

Note-taking is not the collection of links and quotes. Feel free to stop that activity. 

You end up only with a lot of useless stuff in your Evernote, Bear, or OneNote archive. 

Instead, start to think in a writing format. It’s a game-changing approach, you'll thank me later.

Write down every idea. The un-written ones are useless, because:

  • you forget them,

  • they are not easy to exchange,

  • they need extra mnemonic energy,

  • they are not easy to plug in different contexts,

  • they lead more often to over or under evaluation of risks.

After that, you have to organize your notes. We’ll see how in the next chapter.

The point here is the quantity. 

When you collect a lot of ideas (notes) around a topic, you get 2 results:

  1. among them, some will be good, and from time to time, you will even have a brilliant one,

  2. you have concrete evidence of your knowledge.

Every note is a punch in the face of impostor syndrome. Around 30-50 notes, it starts to get dizzy. When you have a 100, you’ll destroy it. 

This happened to me in the past two weeks. I wanted to write about note-taking. But I didn’t feel competent enough. 

I started to collect a lot of notes on the topic. And now I write about it with ease. 

At this point, let’s move to the note-taking process.

2. How to write productive notes

  1. Write down every idea, yours, or those that you extract from some content. These are quick takes. 1-3 sentences top, only the necessary to get the idea inside your archive.

  2. With more calm, edit these notes to define a more precise concept.

  3. If a quick note is from a book, an article, or some content, archive it as a reference. Otherwise, discard the early version, and keep the edited one.

  4. Link the notes among them. This is very important to stimulate mental connection and new ideas. 

  5. Finally, organize the notes for a production goal. Don’t tag them around a more or less generic topic. Write them for a specific creative purpose. For example, I have notes for every digital product I’m working on at the moment. And also some for those that are pure “plans for a possible future”.

This last point is crucial in the fight with impostor syndrome. 

When you start something new, you have a tabula rasa in your mind. You resist the impostor syndrome by sheer force of will, or you surrender. 

Instead, with a productive note-taking approach, you’ll start with a measurable advantage. You have proof of your knowledge and you’ll be ready against any attack from the impostor syndrome.

3. Make your notes public

Now you can stop at the previous point. Kill your impostor syndrome and prosper.

But I took one more step forward.

I publish my notes (except for the personal ones).


The idea is to work with the garage door up

With the productive note-taking process I write my notes with a production purpose. 

By making them public, I share my progress and mental process. And everybody has a chance to relate better with me and my work.  

How do you do it in practice?

The number of tools is endless. I use Bear for the note-taking process. And since I’m not a decent coder (yet!), I publish everything online via Notion. Here you can see my notes.

An interesting and (less known) alternative is Scrapbox. And I stop here otherwise the list of tools becomes too long. 

Now it’s your turn.

Are you hesitating in front of a change, while the impostor syndrome terrorizes you?

Bury it under your productive notes.

And if you publish them online, share the link with me and Alberto. I’m curious to see how you organize them.

Best book of the week

The Courage To Be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

  • Pros — I love it because it seems a perfect follow up to The Virtue of Selfishness, by Ayn Rand. It gives psychological reasons to the importance of living as a rational egoist. Bonus point: it presents all the concept in a dialogue format. This makes the whole reading experience more enjoyable.

  • Cons — The idea that “all problems are interpersonal relationship problems” doesn’t convince me 100%. I will investigate more this topic.

And you? Which book did you enjoy recently? Let us know. We are always on the lookout for exciting new titles.

One month ago I bought this course, and I love it!

For years I wanted to learn web development. Now I’m studying it.

I bought a Udemy course and I love it. I finished the lessons on HTML and CSS. Now I’m on Javascript.

Learning a new skill is so empowering. And I’m already thinking about how to apply it.

Check it out here: The Web Developer Bootcamp 2020

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