Articles Worth Believing
Let’s do a little consumer experiment, okay? I’m going to critique a typical self-help article with tips. This one promises to help you to overcome “Imposter Syndrome.
Put on your Overcome Imposter Syndrome Detective Cap. Let’s explore several mysteries. Together we’ll evaluate tips given to those who worry they’re victims of you-know-what. One way or another, all of us can learn something helpful from this detective work.
- Because tips can be useful. Or not.
- And self-help articles, like the one we’ll examine today in some detail? Either these can be intended to genuinely help people. Or else they can be a very thinly veiled way to sell-sell-sell.
First of All, How Smart Is It to Believe in “Imposter Syndrome”?
In order to have a better life? Not.
Just because chatter about an alleged terrible psychological problem swamps the internet. So what?
Search engine popularity, and SEO, mean only traffic. Neither a high truth value. Nor any other kind of value.
Clickbait articles like the one we’ll explore today? Expect them to bring you value as a consumer only after… After the internet creates some workable form of quality control. Otherwise? Popular begets popular. Inherent truth has nothing to do with traffic.
Second Point of Interest, Fellow Mystery Solvers
Consumer smarts include discernment, a vital life skill. Empowering you. Protecting you from believing everything that comes before your eyes. Hence this Energy Spirituality™ blogpost, which aims to set you thinking.
Furthering the goal of helping you gain the most from today’s Mystery Solving Adventure, here’s some background on Imposter Syndrome itself:
- How Google-popular is “Imposter Syndrome”? From my browser, when first-drafting this article? 16,200,000 hits.
- Hey, here’s a funky secret. This pop psychology “syndrome” is not a real diagnosis. Just plays one on TV.
- Seriously, this “Imposter Syndrome” doesn’t meet the standards of the mental health profession. Meaning, it isn’t in the DSM-5 manual. (Like today’s other authentically documented mental health diagnoses.)
- Pretty darned Google-popular anyway, though! That’s “Overcome Imposter Syndrome.” From my browser, when first-drafting this article? 4,680,000 hits.
Smart Consumers, here’s a quick way to enlarge your perspective on this fad for…
Mayday! Mayday. The Sky Is Falling for those Who Fear Being Imposters.
Desperately seeking articles with fix-up tips!
By all means, check out my first article in this series on Imposter Syndrome. (Over at my personal blog. Not on Medium. However, my blog does happen to be free.) Right away, this article will help you consider if all the impostor hooplah is actually unhelpful.
Next, Meet Freelancer Nicole
Yes, meet Nicole Bayes-Fleming. Her article, which I’ll critique here, offers tips. Whereas my blogpost today will encourage you to see related mysteries about Nicole’s advice, mysteries that you can solve as a consumer.
What is her standing to offer psychological advice? Standing matters a lot to me. How about you?
As you can see, I teach Empath Empowerment®, Aura Reading Through All Your Senses®, Spiritually Sparkling® Skills for Energy Healing, and other systems (like “The New Strong”) to help you use your full potential in life.
Although I don’t know everything, I do know some things. As a result, I’d like to point out certain intriguing mysteries about Nicole’s advice in this article, mysteries that you can solve; in the process, building your skills as a consumer.
Meanwhile, What Is Nicole’s Standing to Advise You?
After spending some frustrating time attempting to learn about Nicole’s standing to help readers solve a worrisome problem? What I found was surprisingly sketchy.
On the positive side, I can tell you that Nicole Bayes-Fleming is a successful freelance reporter and digital editor. Also she has graduated from college. Otherwise, that’s all 10 minutes of searching on her turned up. Whatever her knowledge base, Nicole has published a lot of articles for self-help.
Essentially her main standing is success as a writer of clickbait articles. Knowing how competitive it is, getting published — let alone paid — as a writer, I congratulate her.
Now, let’s start Solving Mysteries about this specific article, which claims to help readers “Overcome Imposter Syndrome.”
First Mystery. Sure Looks Like a Self-Help Article. But Is It?
Given the topic: “How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome”… Maybe you’d expect this to be a service article, designed to help readers. But is it, really?
Aggressive marketing by mindful.com shouldn’t be ignored. Open up Nicole’s article and wow! Right away your eyeballs may cringe at all the circus-bright, super-aggressive, marketing. Including a cartoonish illustration at the top. Followed by a Dummies-style video link. Further, behold:
- An ad right at the very top of your screen.
- Plus a garish box you must close out before reading further. Unless you’re really thrilled to explore somebody’s “Back to School Bonanza.”
- And, on the right-most column, four — count em, !!!!4!!!! — ads in a row.
Smart consumers, pay attention to the ratio of Hard Sell : Actual Information.
At any article or blog, if you pay attention to this ratio… Perhaps this can help you to think before nodding yes-yes-yes.
Now, Speaking of Sneaky Things to Influence You
If you opened up this article, did you happen to notice how it starts? Once you get past the obvious ads, this self-help article begins with a “video from Ted-Ed.”
Dollars to donuts, skim-readers won’t notice. Subconsciously though, they’ll find this impressive. Oooh, a Ted Talk video!
Nah, this is “Ted-Ed.” Cute, sorta.
Blog-Buddies, as a consumer, I always question this kind of cloutey-wannabe statement. To me, it’s a mystery.
Accordingly, let’s pause for a few seconds. Regarding that mystery: Can I trust the integrity at this website? Is somebody trying to impress me with fake claims? It’s like the McDonalds “Shake.” You’re likely to assume that’s the fast food chain’s cute name for a milkshake. But nooooooooooooo. Not really.
Also, Notice this Next Sneaky Thing.
Your Mystery to Solve, if You Like
Near the start of this article, you’ll find this gem of a statement:
There’s a context for you. Flattery, anyone!
Pals with Maya and Al?
Readers are led to believe they have a serious “syndrome” as imposters, and why? Maybe because now they know from wise pop psych expert, Nicole: Dangerous Imposter Syndrome is not the reader’s fault. Hasn’t it happened to their peers, like Maya and Al? (Peers, in their imaginations at least.)
No more honest is the American Psychological Association (APA), which begins their imposter article by citing this: “Up to 82% of people face feelings of impostor phenomenon, struggling with the sense they haven’t earned what they’ve achieved and are a fraud.” (I added the bolding.)
Bonus Mystery: How much should you trust the APA? They’re really publishing this ridiculous statistic about random human thoughts? How low can they go?
I wonder, might the APA have something in common with mindful.org? Grow your market share. Who cares about what’s true? Tell readers whatever will get them involved.
Back at Mindful.org.
Sure, Tell Struggling Readers They’re Just Like Einstein
Another mystery, Smart Consumers. Why do this?
My theory: You can almost see the marketers at mindful.org… licking their wolfish chops. “So many readers who aren’t that smart? They’re our target audience. Hey, let’s start off by telling them what geniuses they are.”
Anyway, on to the Three Tips from Nicole Bayes-Fleming.
Overcome Imposter Syndrome? Tip 1.
Start a Conversation
Sure, it’s so important to share-share-share.
Supposedly, people who feel stuck in life must discuss how they feel: In this case, their experience of feeling like they don’t belong.
Let’s solve that mystery, Smart Consumer. What does advice like this do, really do, to help readers like you?
Clearly, advice like this is ridiculously common in articles on “Overcome the Scary Syndrome.” Why do you think that is?
Overcome Imposter Syndrome? Tip 2.
Collect Your Positive Experiences
As Nicole puts it, “Making a concentrated effort to listen to and reflect on words of encouragement can help sooth [sic.] anxieties the next time self-doubt pops up.”
Mystery to solve: Why would spending more time analyzing and replaying encouragement help you?
What’s different about collecting compliments?
Granted, doing this kind of thing is a staple of pop psychology. At this point, does it make a whole lot of sense to you?
Overcome Imposter Syndrome? Tip 3.
Misery Loves Company. Enjoy!
Okay, Nicole doesn’t put it quite that directly. Although it’s true: Countless people who suffer are terribly stuck. Given their lack of consumer skills for personal development, could it be? Most can’t tell the difference between actual help and the temporary solace of a pity party.
To further boost her credibility, Nicole ends her article by quoting somebody who is evidently a trained mental health professional. (Just check out the sophisticated language.)
“Developing awareness around academic and professional challenges — where mistakes can come from equipment failure as opposed to competence — is essential for thriving and building confidence.” [Italics inserted by Blog Monitor.]
See what Nicole just did there? “Mistakes can come from equipment failure.”
Finally! Something about OBJECTIVE Reality, Not Subjective Reality
Subjective reality is how we feel about things. While objective reality concerns what people say and do, facts, statistics.
If you reread today’s blogpost, you may solve the biggest mystery of all about this “mindful” article. Namely: If this way to “Overcome” Impostor Syndrome might keep people from saying and doing things in objective reality, thus intensifying the problem.
Why doesn’t objective reality make an appearance until the final paragraph? And a passing reference at that?
Thanks so much for reading, Smart Consumer. Because there are soooooo many articles like this one by Nicole. All the ones I’ve looked at, on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, strike me as similar.
All pop psych. Definitely subjective. And all recycling the same-old, same-old approaches that encourage people to keep detaching from life.
Millions of well-meaning people are following advice that makes things worser, not better.
I Stand Believing
You can develop consumer smarts. You can look for mysteries and flag unproductive “advice for improvement.”
Counter-culture or not! With discernment, you’re on your way to a far better life. Also a life where you’ll accomplish way more. Here’s to genuine Achievement Readiness!
Only 73 more followers to go and Medium will even start paying me some pennies for blogging here! (Money is not my main reason for writing this article, but fair is fair.)