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I am a student who is introverted and I believe in making my own success.

I set goals, plan my time well and work towards the goal. However, of late, I feel that I am moving towards my goals at a snail's pace. I see kids, much younger than me, achieving things I want to achieve. This makes me feel defeated because in my head I have the feeling that

What is the use of doing something that a kiddo can do? After all, by the time you get out of university, he would be a master of that craft. You will be nothing more than a semi-smart code monkey who just passed out of university

Another thing that makes me feel dejected is my introverted nature. I meet people but I do not ask favors from them like others do. I live by the self-made dictum know them but never ask from them. Somehow, this is acting to my disadvantage because people ask other to pull a few strings and get to success. After all, it is the outward manifestation of success that matters now a days.

Again, I do not study in any of the top 20 Universities which, due to the media hype, makes me feel that those kids have an edge over me.

I know of people who are self-taught geniuses but I think I am not one among them.

Any thoughts/tips on how not to feel dejected?

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5 Answers

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As someone who has had problems with mood, motivation and goal-setting almost all of his life... and as someone who is similarly introverted and into the idea of self-made-success...

I've learned that the single most important factor in keeping the momentum to achieve life goals is:

  • A regular routine of a healthy diet and (near-)daily exercise

This may be a hard thing to do as a young person; it certainly was for me and only gets slightly easier as I get older -- I still slip up.

If you can dedicate to taking care of yourself, your goals will follow. If you're already doing this, you're already on the right track -- just think analytically about what else is going on in your life and try to maximize your opportunities for success.

Success isn't necessarily guaranteed through hard work. You have to place yourself where there are opportunities and take advantage of them when they arise.

A habit that would be good to break is to not compare yourself to the highlight reels of other people's lives. Sure, there are some kiddos who can do what you're trying to do, but they have their own trials and tribulations and jealousies. There are also plenty of people older than you trying to do what you are (think of it like a normal curve). As long as you aren't trying to be a pop singer, you probably don't have to worry about ageism (because pop singers typically need to hit in their teens - 19 year olds have been told they're too old!!!). I used to worry about achieving young, but life is long and you always want to have a goal -- if you ever feel like you've "made it", that means that you have nothing left to contribute or accomplish (no more goals).


As an aside, I'm not one to really push supplements on people, but a lot of people aren't getting enough Omega 3 and the difference in mental outlook that I get just from simply taking ~2g of Fish Oil every day is remarkable.

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So, I should meet a lot more people, take part in competitions ? –  Little Child Mar 10 '13 at 15:31
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That depends on what you're doing and what your goals are. Based on your post, I'm assuming you study CS? I think it's really important to find mentors and work with them as much as you can. Find projects that you're passionate about and contribute to them; not only will you meet (even if it's online) people who are passionate about the same things, but you'll be able to build up your resume/CV with experience working on things that people use. Working on Open Source projects will also help you find mentors; you'll read and learn from other peoples' code (continued...) –  slancio Mar 10 '13 at 15:42
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... I'm not much of a fan of hackathons and those kinds of competitions though, but some people are. Definitely meet people outside your field and find out where your interests intersect. You may be able to leverage your skills to help them and vice versa. This is also typically where the best (and most lucrative) projects to work on are. –  slancio Mar 10 '13 at 15:43
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I think you need to apply a little statistical thinking to this. The kind of people you are talking about are the .00001%. The vast majority of us are not going to reach that level nor do we need to as the vast majority of the jobs out there do not require or want the skills of the .00001%. There are plenty of good, interesting jobs where you can contribute something postive. Right now what you are doing is just like basing your retirement fund on winning the lottery. It is unrealistic. It's good to have a plan for success, but you have to have one that is possible to reach (it can be a stretch to reach) or you will just give up in despair.

The vast majority of those who struck it rich with something like Facebook just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right idea. They are not necessarily the smartest poeple or the most knowledgable ones. Mostly they were lucky. You can't prepare to be lucky. What you can do though is prepare to be good at your profession (not great, good) and be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. Toward that end you learn your profession (and really it takes a minimum of 10000 hours of practice to be expert an pretty much anything) and you learn to deal with people.

This last part is more challenging as an introvert, but if you want to succeed, you have to learn to deal with people. Part of that is giving and receiving favors. People won't give you those opportunities if they don't know you exist or have good feelings towards you. You don't have to be a taker (someone who only wants to get from others without providing any return favor), but people don't respond as well to someone who never asks for help either (took me 20 years as an adult to learn this one, you can do it faster than that) because that tends to make you invisible. You balance what you give to others with what you need to get from others. People like to help, they like you better when you let them help as long as you aren't a taker.

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I was thinking like you when I was 16-17 back in school. I even almost chose a different profession. Fortunately, I changed my mind on time )))

There are some facts that everyone has to deal with. The first one is that there is always someone better than you (as well as you're better than many others). You need to accept this and not be surprised that kids do accomplish more than you. This shouldn't disappoint you nor make you feel dejected.

The second fact is that accomplishing anything worthy (university education, career, not speaking of personal relationships) requires hard work. And now if you start to think that there is no point in this or that because After all, by the time you get out of Uni, he would be a master of that craft. You will be nothing more than a semi-smart code monkey who just passed out of Uni, you're wasting your time. Focus on the positive, not the negative.

What comes to being an introvert, give people a chance to give you an opportunity. I think one needs to be a genius to be noticed without making efforts. What's the benefit of meeting the "right" people if they can't do the right thing for you? Asking for favors is not always bad. Don't think of asking for help as of cheating. It's rather a trigger. (I don't mean the cases when, for example, someone helps you with an essay and in fact works more on it than you.)

P.S. There are things that I can't imagine a kid can do. For example, creating the architecture of a complex application, designing a flexible API for multiple projects or managing a team of 20 developers.

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Your explanation on the semi-smart code monkey actually made me rethink my approach. Your answer as a whole made me cheer up :) –  Little Child Mar 11 '13 at 17:21
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I'm so glad it did, because rethinking my approach helped me so much at school ))) –  superM Mar 12 '13 at 6:25
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well i think that every goal should have a reasonable timeline so you should revised your goals in such a way that you don't feel you are doing it so slow. for example you set a goal that you want to be an expert in c++ pointers maybe in 1 or 2 months. in this way you are not putting pressure on your self. revise it to do it in 15 days because there are many other things to do as well after pointers.

moreover secondly yes these kids from the prestigious college have the teachers and the class room. it is destined that you cannot have those now. think about what is next best option you can do to excel. from your post i can assume if you live in the US. you can have the all the resources in the world in the form of libraries. or the internet. it is just about your attitude change that you would start seeing things differently.

Also start saying to your self if you keep feeling dejected in 5 years time what effect it will have on your life and career.

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One general key to not feeling dejected is to avoid comparing yourself to others. You might find it hard to avoid that way of thinking at first, but try to keep in mind that most happy people do not spend much time and energy comparing themselves to others.

You may find that you have a some edges over a few of the graduates from the prestige schools. For example: Your student loan may be a lot smaller, will be paid off sooner, and you'll start saving for great vacations and for retirement sooner. Also, you're learning that you have to earn things by merit and your own hard work and not relying on coasting by with hyped credentials -- something some of the elites may yet have to learn.

Adjust your attitude, tune up those looping trains of thought going around in your mind, and the road to success and happiness will be much easier to travel.

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Going over this question again and what do you mean by Adjust your attitude, tune up those looping trains of thought going around in your mind, and the road to success and happiness will be much easier to travel. –  Little Child Mar 30 '13 at 17:34
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