"I feel so stupid"

I hear this from so many students. A lot more students will FEEL this, but not say anything, because it’s a horrible thing to admit. 

This breaks my heart for a few reasons: 

  • I see students quitting, or contemplating quitting, a study or qualification path they’ve put their heart and soul into, because they’re worried that they’re not smart enough to succeed
  • I can see how much anxiety and stress is added to every day (and night) when you walk around with a feeling and a fear that you’re not smart enough to get this right
  • For most accounting students, their results in earlier levels and school, were good, so they’re used to being ‘smart’, and being told they’re smart. Feeling stupid feels like it threatens who you thought you were, and definitely what other people think you are.

I have felt stupid, a LOT! I wrote a little about my journey with feeling stupid, so I can definitely relate to how my students feel. 

10 Reasons you may be feeling stupid:

This may sound strange… so hear me out! We believe that we feel stupid, because we clearly ARE stupid. We’re not getting stuff right, we’re failing, etc. That’s pretty undeniable proof that we’re stupid, right?!

But then… how is it that there are people out there who fail things, who get things wrong and DON’T feel stupid!?

I want you to take a look at these 10 reasons why we feel stupid:
(Click on the red arrows to move the slides)

This comes from my Growth Mindset Course for Students, which helps develop and improve a growth mindset, manage perfectionism, your habits and fears and emotions, and how these affect your studying as an accounting student 

What do I want you to take from this?

A few things:

Feeling stupid, and feeling worried about it, is an indication we need to do some work on building a growth mindset

We ALLOW stuff to make us feel stupid

New and challenging projects / studies etc WILL be uncertain and you will NOT KNOW what to do. This doesn’t make you stupid. ANYONE who has EVER done something new and challenging faces a stage of “WTF is going on here?!”.

Instead of us realising that this uncertainty is a FACT, and is a natural part of the learning process, we allow it to make us feel stupid. 

We believe it’s because we haven’t passed ‘this’ that we feel stupid

“When I pass this level, then I’ll stop feeling stupid”. Spoiler alert: You’ll already have moved onto the next level, and you’ll be feeling stupid about not knowing that stuff. 

We need to make frenemies with the feeling of ‘not knowing’.

We allow the ‘feeling stupid’ to make us feel shameful, weak and useless. Instead of acknowledging the ‘not knowing’ as a reason for getting advice, help, and an opportunity to build a skill we don’t have, we feel shameful about it. We panic that because we can’t do it now, or we’ve struggled with it, we’ll NEVER get it right, and so we shut down.

Do NOT quit because you feel stupid!

This is far too short a post to really explain all the stuff that I need to go into to explain this, but I want you to hear this:

You see ‘stupid’, I see ‘don’t know yet’. 

You feel as though ‘not knowing’ MEANS that you’re stupid, that you’ll never get it right etc. When I look at you, all I see is someone who doesn’t know it yet. They may need a different explanation, another example, some advice, a different perspective, some more practice, a calmer frame of mind perhaps. 🙂 But I do NOT see stupid. 

If you can relate, or have a query...

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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