There was a recent Quora question about “What is the single most unfair advantage someone can have?” The answers ranged from wealth, intelligence, race, birthplace, to basic things like health. I think that every one of these answers misses one of the biggest advantages someone can have. I wouldn’t call this advantage unfair – but my experience is that it is highly correlated to success.
An inferiority complex.
No. Seriously. Successful people have inferiority complexes.
Everyone has talked about it at one point or another, usually to make themselves feel better: how that bully or that pretentious dick just acts that way because they don’t feel good about themselves.
Know what? You’re right. And that is why they are currently kicking your ass.
Why inferiority works
People with an inferiority complex always have a chip on their shoulder. They have a reason that they should work harder or push farther than everyone else. Because they remember the feeling of failure. Of being picked last. Of not being as good as everyone else.
And they hated it.
And it will never happen again.
The inferiority complex is that raven sitting above their door, shouting out, “Nevermore!” Nevermore will they be pushed to the bottom. Nevermore will someone else laud successes over them. The inferiority complex won’t let them.
Sure, some will be overrun by the inferiority complex. They will believe that they are not as good as others, and behave in a commensurate manner. Those are the weak. And sure, some will never fail in their life and always be confident in their superiority. Those are just the breaks. But I still find that people with an inferiority complex are willing to push themselves further to try and prove their worth.
So if you have that self doubt, if you remember that time you failed miserably, embrace it. Let it be what fuels you at 1 am. Let it be what makes you go the extra mile. If you are confident in your abilities and think you are the cream of the crop…get out more. There are people smarter, faster, stronger, more patient, better looking, better at ____ (take your pick) than you.
You just haven’t met them yet.
But they are out there.
And you should have an inferiority complex.
Let it keep you up at night.
Let it make you take those extra steps.
Let it drive you to be better.
Because you are inferior.
…but you don’t always have to be.