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骗子综合症 发表评论(0) 编辑词条

目录

骗子综合症编辑本段回目录

当你坐在计算机前面开始制作一款游戏,这种症状可能会缠绕着你几个月,几年,甚至是更长时间。

它有时候会出现在一次聚会或会议中,或者在你上网的时候。但当你学到更多时,你便更有可能感到不稳定。通常情况下,它会在你经历第一次的“重大突破”时出现—-不管这是否是你在这一产业中的第一份工作还是你的第一次游戏发行。

你意识到自己不应该待在这里。

你并不属于这里。你会看到一些带有经验和才能的人才,你知道自己不配待在他们所属的产业中。你非常清楚这点,就像你清楚自己的眼睛的颜色一样,甚至不需要多加思考。你所缺少的自信突然成为你自己的组成部分,不可否认且持续存在着。

更糟糕的是,你会看到虽然自己付出的努力于别人一样,但却未能获得成功。

imposter(from gamasutra)

imposter(from gamasutra)

好消息是游戏开发者通常都是一些很酷的人!根据我的经验,他们都很友好(或专心于自己的事务),所以甚至不会注意到这些事。但在他们意识到之前,很显然对于你来说这只是时间的问题。

我知道你的感受。因为我们中的大多数人也会有这样的感受。

不同的滋味

骗子氏综合症是是关于你的成就是不值得的,或者在某种程度上未得到回报的感受。

“在你成功之前继续撒谎”,是这样没错吧?这是硬币的另一边—-当你成功了,你便会记得自己曾经撒过谎。这将创造一种深深的脱离感,就像你所获得的一切都不是应得的。

最近,我问了自己的Twitter粉丝他们是否曾经认为自己是个骗子。结果我收到许多与经验,年龄或成功无关的恐惧和担忧。

一个有经验的程序员通过匿名袒露了他们从未通过编程测试,并且一直都很担心被发现。另外一个人也表示他们仍然不知道是否能够真正完成编程,因为没人告诉他们该怎么做,他们也因为太过害怕而不敢提问。第三个人告诉我他们还不够熟练甚至不敢承认拥有骗子综合症。一位开发者好奇,如果他们暗地里偷懒的话,自己甚至可能都不会察觉到。

bishoptweet(from gamasutra)

bishoptweet(from gamasutra)

新开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们不能谈论自己花费了好几年时间于某一款经典的游戏中或分享关于雅达利(游戏邦注:或NES,PS4等等)的记忆等。我们并未为PlayStation编写过程序,我也未曾发行过10款游戏。我们刚刚来到这里。我们还未付出,所以也不值得获得成功。

资深开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们知道已经浪费了宝贵的几年时间去做一些无效率的事,而新开发者总是比我们年轻。如果产业的流失率是5年的话,我们该怎么办?如果现在的我们已经获得了成功,这是否只是归功于盲目的运气而不是真正的能力?

女人,有色人种和同志会有这样的感受是因为我们不能伪造游戏开发文书,或者当我们能够这么做的时候也会感到内疚。我们的证书会遭到质疑,我们的政策很严谨,我们的能力需要经过测试。我们有时候会因为好运而作为特殊客人受邀参加一些会议,有时候我们也会为了充数而受聘,所以很明显我们的成功并非应得的。

有经验的开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们并非马上与百亿美元的产业挂上关系;我们并不是“产业”的一部分。大多数“玩家”会说我们所制作的“并不是游戏”,如此我们的成功便不是应得的。

商业开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们只是在资本主义制度下负责赚钱的机器,我们所创造的产品只是为了满足市场营销推动下客户所生成的期望。我们可能会随时被另一种制度所取代,所以我们的任何成功都是非应得的。

努力的开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们最小的胜利真的只有安慰奖,即通过最小的进步宽慰我们自己。这些成功与那些出现在头条新闻中的成功不同,可能只是幸运的机缘。很快地我们便会发现这是一场骗局。

成功的开发者会有这样的感受是因为我们的游戏评价过高,如果我们可以更努力或更有才能的话,它便会变得更加赚钱/完美。更糟糕的是,我们已经知道自己的下一款游戏不会再这么棒了。我们已经到达了顶峰,任何人都知道我们将开始往下走。

其他人会有这样的感受是因为别人并未向我们提出足够多的问题—-我们总是从疑虑中受益。每个人都会看着我们并假设我们知道自己在说什么,因为我们符合开发者标准的精神意象,符合适当的年龄/种族/性别/能力。一旦我们开口,他们便会看到我们是如何利用自己的情况,所以理所当然的我们的成功便不是应得的。

不管你是谁或者你做了些什么,你的“成功”都有可能被归功于其他人身上。

每个人都有可能拥有这样的感受。在某种程度上每个人的行动都很准确,因为机会在于你所获得的每一次成功,其他人可能真的很努力,但结果却不尽人意。这是一个很混乱,充满阶级歧视者的世界。这里不存在真正的英才教育制度,并且在近期都不会发生任何变化。

sciencedog(from gamasutra)

sciencedog(from gamasutra)

 为什么我们会在意这个?

有些人可能会说:“不要再抱怨了。这听起来就跟无病呻吟似得。可怜的我啊,我这么成功,看着我,我是一个骗子。我必须拥有足够的成功才能犯上骗子氏综合症。”

在某种情况下他们是对的。这并不是身体状况。有些人批评了“综合症”这一词的使用,说它听起来就像精神病的诊断和统计手册,当然它并非如此。通常情况下,如果欺骗感与你真正的生活质量(睡觉,吃饭等等)维系在一起,它便有可能变成一个不同的问题,而慢性抑郁将成为有效的后补。

除此之外,也许感觉像个骗子是一种健康的行为。我总是想知道没有任何自我怀疑或者批判思维的成功人士是否有可能与这种感觉友好相处。

然而,即使你的生活质量是稳定的,你的工作质量也有可能是另外一种情况。如果你对其置之不理的话,骗子氏综合症可能会导致你失去创造性并引起一些问题行为的出现。

害怕被当成骗子与害怕承认自己愚昧且反社交性行为是一样的。如果我们未能察觉到这一点,它便有可能导致:

独自工作,避免一切与别人接触的可能性,除了一些表面上的协作。

避开接收反馈的机会。

独自解决一个本来可以通过交流轻松解决的问题。

具有防御性,不能接受批评或表扬,这将导致

标准/期待值的提高,这将导致

自我毁灭的完美主义,这将导致

努力工作,且不断地加班(这也将导致救世主情节的产生)

大多数这些问题都将带来危险信号。如果一位游戏开发者并不能接受合作和批评,他们的工作也将受到影响。如果我们越发向骗子氏综合症让步,我们的工作状况便会越发糟糕,从而我们便越有可能变成所谓的骗子。

需要补充的是,骗子氏综合症看起来与基本归因误差(游戏帮注:关于这点,大多数人倾向于将成功归功于自己,而将失败归因于外界元素)是完全相反的。虽然没有证据,但我相信“直到你成功前一直进行伪装”是与基本归因误差具有直接联系的,因为我们将专注于尝试着保持一种积极的态度,我们会故意忽视关于自己心里健康和生产力的合理性,并将所有成功都归功于自己。如果我们意识到自己已经做到了这些,我们便会开始将错误怪在其它方面。

不管怎样,考虑到所有的这些挫折,如果你或你所共事的人遭遇了这种急性不足感,你们就需要想办法去减少它的影响力,就像任何不安全感那样,如此才能确保你的团队和游戏足够健康。

治疗骗子氏综合症

我们有可能永远制止骗子氏综合症。它们是伴随着我们的想法不断滋生的野草。只要我们获得了成功,只要我们将失败归因于其它元素上,我们便有可能患上这一症状。不过好消息是,存在一些“园林”能够帮助我们保持诚实。

需要注意的是我并非心理学家,社会学家或任何其他学家。这些技巧也并非基于科学。它们只是我所经历过的能够对我和我的团队带来帮助的一些内容。

最棒的是,即使你并不是一个骗子,并且你所做的一切都是有价值的,这些技巧也能够帮助你变成一位更棒的开发者以及更棒的开发社区成员。我敢保证任何一个技巧都不具有危险性。所以请好好学习吧。

治愈技巧1:重新阅读维基百科上的文章

真正的科学家表示,防止骗子氏综合症的最佳方法便是始终牢记它的存在。所以将其做个标记吧。

同样地,如果你与同事进行接触,你可能会意识到所有人也一直都有这样的感受。直到你成功前一直进行伪装并不是一项新技术。

治愈技巧2:保持学习

也许你并未拥有足够的运气,但是你却可以使用更多精力去弥补它。你需要更加努力工作,从而确保你能够战胜它。

你可以去上课。尝试一些新内容。提问题。攻克你的无知。你的“舒适区”将变得不再舒适,所以你需要进行创造性冒险。基于商业/重要措施(将帮助你重新设定你的骗子氏综合症计时器),该项目可能会遭遇失败,但却能够因此教会你一些有关自己的新内容,让你变成一位更棒的开发者。然而下一次当你获得成功时,你便会觉得这是应得的了。

有人也会说,在这个领域里,如果你没有专业知识,你便能够拥有不确定性并最大程度地利用我们的业余性。这也是寻找新灵感的最佳方法。

是的,你有可能会犯错。这意味着你有机会能够获得学习—-错误并不是问问题就可以,它是看不见的。错误是关于在一开始认为自己是绝对不会犯错的。而学习的一部分便是做好改变的准备。

当你发现自己自不量力时,就像在彼得原则(游戏邦注:该理论认为在一个等级制度中,每个人趋向于上升到他所不能胜任的等级)或其市场等价物中,你不能保持沉默或紧闭双眼,假装所有的一切都是好的。你必须在事实公诸于众前不断完善自己。

治愈技巧3:不要拿你或你自己的游戏进行比较

我们总是会想:“看看其他人或他们的游戏。他们比我和我的游戏更值得拥有成功。”

但说实话,你并不能与任何人进行比较。

不管是谁或是什么,这都不能反映在你身上。作为一个人,你并不能战胜任何人,也没有任何人能够战胜你。你是与众不同的,具有与众不同的有点,缺点和经历。甚至一对双胞胎也具有他们自己的命运和挑战。

在游戏中也是如此。每一款游戏都是与众不同的,它们生来就面对着不同的情境。有时候我们很幸运,而有时候我们又很不幸。

即使比较是正面的,它也有可能带给你一些痛苦。如果你是一个求胜心切的人,你便会不断地想衡量自己的进展,并拿自己与自己作比较。你会不断地记录自己的表现并以此去缩小或扩大某些内容。将剩下的世界抛在脑后。

治愈技巧4:欢迎多样性

当具有相同特性的人聚集在一起时,竞争和比较便特别具有诱惑力。当所有人在某种程度上都具有相似点并且你们都在创造同样类型的游戏,你便会感受到更大的可比性。

所以为了你的心理健康,你应该在你的游戏开发泡沫中邀请更多这样的人,并鼓励更多这类型的游戏创造。如果你是这个圈子中的一部分,你就需要去拓广这一圈子。真正欣赏你从未实现的别人的成功。

不要嘲笑这“并不是一款真正的游戏”—-不管这是否是一款高预算,暴力,具有艺术气息,商业,文本等等类型的游戏。我的意思说,虽然这很明显是个混蛋的举动,但作为一种纯粹的自我激励行为,这并非专属于你自己的最佳利益,因为:

当越多不同类型的游戏获得成功,你便会越开心地创造你的自己的游戏,并伴随着较不可怕的同样的竞争力。

治愈技巧5:假设所有人都是开发者

之前的技巧中所提到的多样性需要花费一些时间。当我们到达那里时,不要强调开发者何时“与其他人不同”,即使是个玩笑也不行。成见威胁是对于认知任务的一个真实且可衡量的障碍,更别说情绪稳定性了。

同样地,如果有人不愿说出自己的种族,性别,不利条件或性倾向等等,那就不要逼迫他们。他们知道自己在人群中是与众不同的,或者与其他人的精神意象并不相同。

相反地你可以选择与他们谈论游戏开发。将他们作为游戏开发者。因为他们也的确是游戏开发者。

换句话说,不要逼迫别人表现出骗子氏综合症。

有些人在看到这一技巧时可能会好奇这对于自己来说意味着什么。我本可以继续谈论与对手间友好的竞争精神和合作的乐趣以及好运如何帮助维持长期的交流。但是你知道,如果你真的需要一个自私的理由而不让别人察觉到自己的弱点,那么你就该停止制作游戏而去破坏其它产业。

治愈技巧6:敞开大门

如果你很长一段时间不能接受自己的成功,你可能会变成最糟糕的骗子:看门人。

看门人将把所有人隔离于知识花园之外,并表示腹黑友/兄弟姐妹/陌生人都未准备好创造游戏,因为他们不够坚强也没有足够的热情,或者足够的**。

但通常情况下事情更加微妙。你可能会开始思考如果自己不能**,你便不值得去创造游戏。不管是关于制作你自己的引擎,接受让人不快的tweet,编写“真正的”代码,享受《超级玛丽兄弟》等等。这都是一样的—-这是正视你比其他人更值得获得成功的一种方法。这是一种应对机制。

不幸的是,看门只能在短期内带给你帮助。一开始,你会对自己越来越有信心—-你找到一个自己值得获得成功而别人并不值得的理由。从长期看来,我已经看到许多开发者基于这种苦涩的态度搬起石头砸自己的脚,并因此赶走了那些潜在的合作者和反馈等等。你在自己周边创建了一堵不牢靠的城墙,并因此将自己的工作压得快要窒息了。

对立面便是我所谓的分享蜡笔。

置于技巧6.5:分享你的蜡笔

分享你所学到的。投入额外的努力去帮助其他人变得更好。呈现给他们你的工具。帮助他们获得成功。如今有无数想要成为开发者的人正尝试着创造他们的第一款游戏,他们中的大多数人都在寻求建议并希望获得鼓励,有些是在当地学校,也有的是在论坛上。

你并不需要变成一位专家。你可能也不是一名专家。你只是另外一个游戏开发者。这便够了。没人会想看到傲慢的行为。你应该继续明确地高数新人所有的一切只是基于你自身随机的经历。这便足以。

对此我最喜欢的一个例子便是当Richard Hofmeier(凭借游戏《Cart Life》成为2013年Independet Games Festival冠军)选择将大家对他的注意从“胜利者”转向《Porpentine’s Howling Dogs》。这是与一些不是很有名的创造者分享聚光灯的大胆做法。

自任何地方如果有任何人提出一个问题或需要一个帮助,请果断地帮助他们,因为这也将能够帮助到你自己。这并不是因为你比他们出色!而是因为通过帮助其他人,并且当他们慢慢开始获得成功,你便会觉得自己所做的一切更有价值。

关于管理者的置于奖励环节:培养批评

这看起来可能像是反直觉的,但遭受骗子氏综合症真的需要建设性的批评—-我们知道我们的工作并不完美。没有人的工作会是完美的。实际上,与大多数问题一样,我们在这方面缺少信任也是一个核心问题。

反馈,具有帮助的批评以及深入合作都必须是过程中确定好的一部分。理想上,这些强制的评论将可能包含同样是专家的同事,而未考虑到“朋友”。即考虑使用Clarion方法的部分内容去减少防御的机会。

这里的关键在于评论不应该与质量维系在一起—-当评论作为过程的一部分时,批评也不是失败或成功的说明。

总结

意识到自己没有什么特别是件很可怕的事;但这却是骗子氏综合症的真正核心。比起大多数其他人,你并不值得获得成功。

我敢保证你是一个非常聪明,灵活且努力的人。但与其他人一样,你同样也需要一些运气。

好吧。的确如此。你只需要使用一些全新的能量去获取更棒的成绩便可。你还需要继续保持学习。

真正努力去获得你想在这个世界上获得的成功吧。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Tanya X Short)

Overcoming Impostor’s Syndrome

by Tanya X Short

Onset can take a few months, years, or it can be instant, as soon as you sit down at your computer to start making a game.

Sometimes it happens at a party, or a conference, or just browsing the internet. But the more you learn, the more likely you start feeling unsteady. Generally, it hits exactly after your first ‘big break’ — whether it’s your first job in the industry or your first game’s release.

You realise that you don’t deserve to be here.

You do not belong. You see amazing, talented people with more experience and talent, and you know you aren’t qualified to work in their industry. You know it as deeply as you know the color of your eyes, without even thinking about it. Your lack of credibility is suddenly a part of you, undeniable and ever-present.

Worse, you see people who work as hard as you do, who haven’t made it as far.

The good news is that game developers are generally cool people! In my experience, they’re so friendly and nice (or self-absorbed), they don’t even seem to notice. You can pass. But it feels so obvious to you that it’s only a matter of time before they realise you’ve slid under the radar.

I know what you’re feeling. Because most of us feel that way, too.

Different Flavors

Impostor’s syndrome is the feeling that your accomplishments (whatever they are, regardless of source) are undeserved and invalid, or in some way not earned.

After all, “fake it till you make it”, right? This is the other side of the coin — once you’ve made it, you remember you’ve been faking it. This can create a deep sense of unbelonging, as everything you have earned feels undeserved.

Recently, I asked my Twitter followers whether they ever felt like frauds. I received an outpouring of fears and anxieties that had roughly no correlation to experience, age, or apparent success.

One talented programmer, on condition of anonymity, confessed they secretly never passed a programming test, and are terrified someone will find out. Another said they still had no idea if they can actually program or not, since nobody has told them, presumably because they are too scared to ask. A third said they felt they hadn’t accomplished enough yet to admit to having impostor’s syndrome (ha). One developer wondered if they were secretly lazy, unknown even to themselves.

Newer devs feel it because we can’t talk about our years of crunching on Classic Title X or share a bro-fist over memories of the Atari (or NES or, soon enough, PS4). We didn’t program for the PlayStation, we haven’t shipped 10 games. We just got here. We haven’t paid our dues, so we don’t deserve to succeed.

Veteran devs feel it because we know we’ve wasted precious years being inefficient and the new brilliant developers are always younger than the last crop. If the churn rate for the industry is 5 years what does that say about us? If we’re succeeding, is it just due to blind luck and networking rather than real talent?

Women, people of color, and queer folk feel it because we can’t “pass” for the default image of a game dev, or we feel guilty when we can. Our credentials are questioned, our politics scrutinised, our abilities tested. In press and conferences, we’re sometimes lucky enough to be invited as special interest guests to represent our minority and sometimes we’re hired as tokens to meet a quota, so surely our success is undeserved.

Experimental developers feel it because we’re not immediately relevant to a 10-billion-dollar industry; we’re not really part of the “industry” at all. Most “gamers” would say that what we make is “not a game”, so surely any of our success is undeserved.

Commercial developers feel it because we’re just soulless machines earning a paycheck in a capitalist system, creating products to meet or exceed customer expectations generated by marketing hype. We could be replaced by an algorithm at any time, so surely any of our success is undeserved.

Struggling developers feel it because our minor triumphs are really just consolation prizes, comforting ourselves with the smallest progress. These successes aren’t the kinds that get headlines and were probably just a stroke of luck anyway. Soon we’ll be found out for the frauds we are.

Successful developers feel it because our games were overrated, and certainly nowhere near as (profitable/acclaimed/polished/cool) as it could have been, if we had worked harder or been more talented. Even worse, we already know our next one won’t be as good. We’ve peaked and everyone can see we’re on the decline.

Others feel it because we aren’t questioned enough — we always get the benefit of a doubt. Everyone looks at us and assumes we know what we’re talking about because we fit the standard mental image of a developer, fitting the right age/race/gender/orientation/ability. As soon as we open our mouths, surely they’ll see how we took advantage of our situation, so clearly we don’t deserve our success.

No matter who you are or what you’ve done, your ‘success’ can be explained away as belonging to someone else.

Everyone can feel it. In a way, everyone who does is spot-on, because chances are that for every success you’ve earned, someone else really has worked just as hard and received less. It’s a chaotic, mostly classist, English-advantaged world out there, folks. It’s not a real meritocracy, and it won’t be anytime soon.

If anyone knows the actual owner of this meme, please let me know so I can credit accordingly.

Why Do We Care?

“Stop whining,” some might say. “This sounds like a rich person disease. Oh poor me, I’m so successful, look at me, I’m an impostor. I’d kill to have enough success to suffer impostor’s syndrome.”

And to some extent, they’re right. It is not a medical condition. Some have criticised the use of the word ‘syndrome’ as it makes it sound like it should be in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – which it definitely should not. As a rule, if feelings of fraudulence are interfering with your actual quality of life (sleeping, eating, intimacy, etc), it is probably a different, very real problem interfering, chronic depression being a more likely candidate, and you should see a professional.

Besides, maybe feeling like an impostor is healthy, or at least worth it. I’ve often wondered if successful people without any actual self-doubt or critical thought could possibly be worked with at all. I’ll let you know if I meet any.

However, even if your quality of life is steady, the quality of your work can be another matter. Impostor’s syndrome can be creatively paralysing and cause problematic behaviour, if left unaddressed.

Deep fear of being outed as a fraud can surface as fear of admitting ignorance and anti-social behaviour. If left unchecked, it can lead to:

Working alone, avoiding all but superficial collaboration

Avoiding opportunities to receive feedback

‘Working through’ a problem that could be solved quickly if communicated

Defensiveness, inability to accept critique OR praise, which leads to

Heightened, perhaps impossible standards/expectations, which leads to

Self-destructive levels of perfectionism, which leads to

Working hard, unnecessary overtime (which could also lead to a martyr complex)

Most of these should raise a red flag. If a game developer isn’t open to collaboration and won’t take criticism, their work will suffer. The more we give in to impostor’s syndrome, the worse we become at our jobs — thus, cruelly, the more we deserve to be called impostors.

As a bit of a side note, impostor’s syndrome looks to be the exclusive opposite of the Fundamental Attribution Error (in which most humans tend to attribute successes to themselves, and failures to outside factors). I believe, but have no proof, that “Fake it till you make it” is intuitively linked to the fundamental attribution error, in that we get so caught up with trying to have a positive attitude, we willfully ignore rationality for our own mental well-being and productivity, claiming any and all success as our own. If and when we realised we’ve done this, we begin to err on the other side, to be safe. Just a thought.

Anyhow, given all of these possible setbacks, if you or people you work with are suffering from feelings of acute inadequacy, it’s important to minimise its impact, like any other insecurity, for the health of your team and game.

Healing Impostor’s Syndrome

Impostor’s syndrome can’t be stopped forever. They’re weeds growing all along our thoughts. As long as we succeed, and as long as deserving others fail, we’re pretty much doomed. The good news is that there’s gardening you can do to help stay on the up and up.

Note that I’m not a psychologist, sociologist, or any other -ist. These tips aren’t based in science. These are just the things I’ve experienced that have helped me and my team.

The best part is, even if you aren’t an impostor and you do deserve to be where you are (which I suspect is most of you), most of the tips can help you be a better developer and a better member of the dev community anyway. I’m pretty sure none of them are dangerous, damaging, or risky. So get to work!

Healing Tip 1: Re-Read the Wikipedia Article

Yep. Actual scientists say the best guard against impostor’s syndrome is to remember that it exists. So, bookmark it.

Also, if you open up to your colleagues, you’ll probably realise everyone’s feeling it all the time. Fake it till you make it isn’t exactly new technology.

Healing Tip 2: Keep Learning

Maybe you didn’t deserve that stroke of luck, but you can channel your energy to make up for it! Work hard so you can earn it retroactively!

Take classes. Try new things. Ask questions. Willfully solve your ignorance. Your ‘comfort zone’ is clearly becoming uncomfortable, so get the heck out of it and take a creative risk. The project will probably fail according to most commercial/critical measures (which will help re-set your impostor’s syndrome clock), and teach you something new about yourself, making you a better developer. Then the next time you succeed, you’ll feel a bit more deserving.

Some would even go so far as to say that playing in fields you have no expertise in, or official business with, is a great way to own uncertainty and put our amateurness to good use. Being in over your head can be the perfect way to find new inspiration.

Yes, you’ll make mistakes. That means you have a chance to learn — the mistake wasn’t asking questions and being visible. The mistake, if any, was thinking you were infallible in the first place. Part of learning is being ready to change.

If/when you find yourself out of your league, as in the Peter Principle or its market equivalent, you can’t afford to clam up and close your eyes and pretend everything’s fine. Keep improving before they catch on.

Healing Tip 3: Don’t Compare Yourself or Your Games

It’s normal to think, “Oh man, look at this other person and their game. They definitely deserve success (more/less) than me and my game.”

But you’re not comparable to anyone else. Seriously.

Whoever or whatever it is? Has no reflection on you. As a person, you didn’t win over anyone, and nobody won over you. You’re different, with different virtues, flaws, and experiences. Even a twin sibling has their own fortunes and challenges.

It’s the same with games. Each is different, born to a different situation. Sometimes we’re lucky, yes, and sometimes we’re unlucky.

Even if the comparison is positive, it starts you on a path to misery. If you’re a competitive person (like me), and have the constant urge to measure your progress, compare yourself to yourself. Keep track of your own performance and min/max that way. Leave the rest of the world out of your craziness.

Healing Tip 4: Welcome Diversity

Competition and comparison can be especially tempting among birds of a feather that have flocked together. When everyone’s similar in some way and you’re all making the same kinds of games, you just feel more … comparable.

So, for your own mental health, invite more kinds of people to be in your bubble of game development, and encourage more kinds of game-making. If you’re part of a clique, widen the circle. Appreciate others’ successes that you never could have done. The more the merrier.

Don’t scoff that this or that “isn’t a real game” — whether it’s big-budget, violent, arty, commercial, text, whatever. I mean it’s obviously a jerk move anyway, but even as a purely self-motivated act, it’s not in your own best interests, because:

The more different kinds of games blossom and succeed, the happier you’ll be developing your own game, with less eerily similar competition.

Healing Tip 5: Let Them Pass; Assume Everyone at an Event is a Dev

The diversity mentioned in the previous tip can take some time. While we’re getting there, don’t emphasise when a dev is “not like the others”, even as a joke. Stereotype threat is a real, measurable hindrance to cognitive tasks, not to mention emotional stability.

Similarly, if someone doesn’t bring up their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, whatever, don’t bring it up for them. They know, probably painfully, that they stick out from the crowd, or don’t match someone’s mental image of what a game developer “usually is”.

Talk to them about game development instead. Let them pass as a game developer. It’s what they are.

In other words, don’t encourage impostor’s syndrome in others.

Someone reading this tip is probably wondering what’s in it for them. I could go on about the spirit of friendly competition with equals and the joys of collaboration and how good karma helps long-term networking. But you know, if you really need a self-serving reason to not make someone else feel vulnerable and exposed? Fuck you. You have my permission to stop making games and go ruin a different industry. Cheers.

Healing Tip 6: Leave the Gates Open

If you’ve had trouble accepting your successes for long enough, you might become the worst kind of impostor: the gatekeeper.

Gatekeepers exclude people from their garden of knowledge, believing that, or even telling, a frenemy/sibling/stranger isn’t ready to make games because they’re not tough enough, not passionate enough, not _______ enough.

But usually it’s subtler than that. You might start thinking that if you can’t _______, you don’t deserve to make games. Whether it’s making your own engine, accepting nasty tweets, writing “real” code, enjoying Super Mario Brothers, whatever. It’s all the same — it’s a way to justify your own success as deserved more than others. It’s a coping mechanism.

Unfortunately, gatekeeping does actually help you in the short-term. At first, you’ll feel better about yourself — you’ve found a reason, however spurious, that you deserve to succeed and others don’t. In the long-term, however, I’ve seen more than a few developers shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of bitter, sour attitude, driving away potential collaborators, feedback, and networks. You’re building a cliquish, insecure wall around yourself, and your work will suffocate.

The opposite is what I call sharing your crayons.

Healing Tip 6.5: Share Your Crayons

Share what you’ve learned. Go out of your way to help someone else become better. Show them your tools. Help them succeed. There are thousands of would-be developers trying to make their first game right now, and most of them are asking for advice and seeking encouragement, either at a local school or on a forum somewhere.

You don’t have to be an expert. You’re probably not. You’re just another game dev. That’s okay! Nobody wants condescention anyway! Go ahead and explicitly warn the newbie that everything is just based in your own random experiences. That’s fine.

My favorite example of this is actually when Richard Hofmeier, the winner of the 2013 Independent Games Festival with his game Cart Life, chose to take the attention from his “big win” and divert it to Porpentine’s Howling Dogs (available for free online). It was a courageous, generous sharing of the spotlight with a lesser-known creator of merit:

Somewhere, someone is asking a question, or needs a leg up, and helping them will help you. Not because you’re better than them! But because by giving back and helping someone else have just a little bit of good luck, you can start to feel just a little bit more deserving of the breaks when they come your way.

Healing Bonus Round for Managers: Cultivate Criticism

It might seem counter-intuitive, but sufferers from impostor’s syndrome really do want and need constructive criticism — we know our work isn’t perfect. Nobody’s work ever is. In fact, like most problems, our lack of trust in those around us (secretly believing they wouldn’t respect/employ us anymore if they inspected our work) is the core problem.

Feedback, helpful criticism, and deep collaboration must be regularly scheduled part of the process, and tyranically forced on the unwilling. Ideally these enforced reviews (even if they start out more soft-ball and supportive) would mostly consist of similarly-expert colleagues not considered ‘friends’. Consider using parts of the Clarion method to reduce opportunities for defensiveness.

The key is that reviews shouldn’t be linked to quality — when reviews are part of the process, criticism isn’t indicative of failure or success.

Summary

It can be terrifying to realise that you’re not particularly special; but this is the true, meaty center of impostor’s syndrome. You don’t deserve success more than most other people.

I’m sure you (like many others) are very intelligent, flexible, and worked hard to get where you are. But you (like many others) also had some good fortune in there.

And that’s okay. Really, it is. Just use your newfound powers for good. Keep learning.

Be the success you want to see in the world.(source:gamasutra)

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